Title: The Plot Against America
Author: Philip Roth
First published October 5, 2004
391 pages, Paperback
ISBN: 9781400079490 (ISBN10: 1400079497)
Philip Roth’s compelling novel, The Plot Against America, offers an alternate perspective of American history. In this gripping tale, Charles A.
Lindbergh – famous aviator and staunch isolationist – is elected President in 1940. As his new government begins to implement anti-Semitic policies, one family in Newark finds themselves caught in the crosshairs.
This novel follows the young boy’s coming of age amidst the chaos of a nation on the brink of self-destruction. Roth’s narrative will leave you breathless, as you witness the fragile bonds of family and community tested in the face of an uncertain future.
About the Author
Philip Milton Roth was a renowned American novelist who achieved literary success with his 1959 collection Goodbye, Columbus. This work won the National Book Award in 1960, and Roth cemented his reputation with the 1969 bestselling novel Portnoy’s Complaint.
Throughout his career, he has continued to write critically acclaimed works, many of which feature his fictional alter ego, Nathan Zuckerman. This character first appeared in The Ghost Writer in 1979, and went on to feature in American Pastoral (1997), which won the Pulitzer Prize.
In recognition of his lifetime of literary achievement, Roth was honored with a prestigious award in May 2011.
Philip Roth’s novel The Plot Against America is a stunning work of alternate history that delves into what might have happened had Charles Lindbergh, one of America’s most famous aviators, been elected president. Roth is no stranger to the literary world, having won numerous awards and accolades for his previous works.
The Plot Against America is no exception, showcasing his masterful ability to blend historical fact with vivid fiction. The book is set in Newark, New Jersey, during the early 1940s, and tells the story of a Jewish family, the Roths, as they navigate through the fear and uncertainty brought about by Lindbergh’s presidency.
The novel is notable for its exploration of Jewish identity and its struggle to coexist within the larger American context. The conflicts between assimilation and resistance feel particularly relevant in today’s politically charged climate, making The Plot Against America an especially powerful and timely read.
The main character and narrator is young Philip Roth, who is only a child when the events of the novel take place. Roth’s childhood experiences are used to great effect, highlighting both the specific details of life in a Jewish household during this turbulent time period and the universal struggles of growing up in a world that seems increasingly out of control.
The characters are all deeply developed, with Roth in particular having a keen eye for nuance and restraint. Roth’s writing style is dense and evocative, with his prose wistful and nostalgic without venturing into the sentimental.
He moves back and forth between the grand sweeping narrative of Lindbergh’s presidency and the small, intimate details of everyday life in Newark, and finds a way to seamlessly blend it all together. The pacing is slow and deliberate, but never drags, and Roth is an expert in building tension and taking his time with the emotional beats.
One of the most compelling elements of The Plot Against America is how Roth is able to maintain a sense of tension and unease throughout the entire novel. The reader is always aware of looming danger, but never quite sure when, where, or how it will strike.
This tension serves as a crucial backdrop for the various character arcs, providing a sense of urgency and weightiness that propels the narrative forward. Roth’s connection to modern political and social issues also feels particularly poignant in today’s world.
The struggles of the Roths and the larger Jewish community are reflective of many of the issues that marginalized communities continue to face today. The novel acts as both an engaging work of fiction and a sharp commentary on contemporary society, making it a must-read for anyone interested in exploring the intricacies of identity, power, and history.
In conclusion, The Plot Against America is a masterful work of alternate history that expertly blends history and fiction. Roth’s characters are richly developed, his prose is evocative, and his commentary on contemporary issues is relevant and powerful.
For anyone interested in exploring the issues of identity, power, and history, The Plot Against America is an easy recommendation. It is a brilliant piece of literature that earns a score of 9 out of 10 from The Washington Post.