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Check It Out: The Plot Against America by Philip Roth

This is Michael Maxwell with the Sioux City Public Library and you’re listening to Check It Out.

Today, I am recommending The Plot Against America by Philip Roth- a thrilling political novel by the acclaimed author of Portnoy's Complaint that was adapted as an HBO miniseries in 2020.

The Roth family is an average Jewish American family living in Newark, New Jersey during World War II. They pay their taxes, they go to school and to work, and they are proud to be American. So why do they suddenly feel like frogs in a pot of boiling water?

Well, much of their predicament stems from the recent election of Charles Lindbergh to the Presidency in his crushing defeat of FDR. Those of you who are familiar with the real Charles Lindbergh probably know that he was an anti-Semitic Nazi sympathizer. His fictional counterpart holds the same beliefs, but now he also has the full power of the U.S. federal government at his disposal, along with hordes of isolationist supporters who will push his anti-Jewish agenda while he flies around the country to pose in his aviator outfit while extolling the value of not getting involved in the war raging in Europe.

This is the type of novel that constantly forces readers to face the question “What would I do?”. The various members of the Roth family take different approaches to survival with mixed results that keep them spinning from one crisis to the next. All the while, the patriarch of the family staunchly refuses to flee to Canada on principal. He’s been an American his whole life, so why should anyone make him feel otherwise?

The Plot Against America is a deeply patriotic parable of the precarity of democracy. It’s also a brutal satire of public relations and spin doctors that is an unforgettable demonstration of the perils of misinformation.

Check out The Plot Against America by Philip Roth at the Sioux City Public Library today!

 Support for Check It Out on Siouxland Public Media comes from Verde Outdoor Media.

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