the plot against america

Title :: The Plot Against America
Author :: Philip Roth
Completed :: Apr 11 2008
Challenges :: 888 : 1001 Books
Rating :: 3/5

In The Plot Against America Roth creates an alternative history to 1940s America. In the 1940 election American favorite Franklin Roosevelt is beat out by aviation hero Charles A. Lindbergh. Roth portrays the disappointment and fear of American Jews at Lindbergh's inauguration and the effects his fictional presidency have on American attitudes towards the Jewish population. Although none of the actions in the book can be compared with how the Jewish were treated in Europe, Roth does create a slow penetrating hate. He also hints at America's path towards Jewish concentration camps, used not to murder them but to break them up from the concentrated neighborhoods they lived in, as if perhaps something more sinister was in store for them in the future.

Historically Lindbergh appears to have been an isolationist and believed that the United States had no business involving itself in World War II. Many thought him to be a Nazi sympathizer because of his scientific expeditions to Germany. In a speech titled Who are the War Agitators? given on September 11 1941 at an America First rally, Lindbergh states:
I am not attacking either the Jewish or the British people. Both races, I admire. But I am saying that the leaders of both the British and the Jewish races, for reasons which are as understandable from their viewpoint as they are inadvisable from ours, for reasons which are not American, wish to involve us in the war. We cannot blame them for looking out for what they believe to be their own interests, but we also must look out for ours. We cannot allow the natural passions and prejudices of other peoples to lead our country to destruction.
Although Lindbergh would say that "no person with a sense of dignity of mankind can condone such treatment" when referring to how the Jewish population were being treated in Europe he also in that same speech provided a hint at his true feelings when he said, "Their greatest danger to this country lies in their large ownership and influence in our motion pictures, our press, our radio and our government." A statement such as that may lead to the conclusion that Lindbergh feared the power Jewish Americans had and that he was perhaps uncomfortable with it.

Roth uses these speeches in his fictional tale, he also curiously uses himself and his family as the central characters of his book. This gives the reader the feeling that they're actually reading Roth's autobiography and how his Jewish family dealt with America's plunge into isolation. I was unimpressed however, with the way the book ended. I was left with the feeling that the author grew bored and decided to quickly finish so he could move on to something else. A lot of the book as well moves at a fairly slow pace. The plot had real potential if only the pace had been sped up a bit and the conclusion was a bit more well-rounded.

Other Thoughts ::
: puss reboots
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posted by Ashleigh @ 13:58,


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    ashleigh (ash'lė) n.
    1: egyptologist; currently living in the uk attempting to obtain a phd in egyptology, hoping in the end there will be a job.
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    3: crafter; crocheting and needlework, creating heirlooms, keeping the world warm.
    4: dreamer; head in the clouds, full of fantasies, wishing to be someone else, somewhere else.
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