15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
Amazing & Terrifying,
This review is from: The Plot Against America (Hardcover)
This is a fantastic book. It takes an interesting premise (Charles Lindbergh defeating FDR in the 1940 US presidential election running on an anti-war & only slightly masked anti-Semitic agenda) and extrapolates the consequences.
The book is absolutely captivating from the start; it is beautifully written, the characterisation is amazing and the basic premise is handled consistently all the way through. It is a triumph.
Roth concentrates on a single family mainly through the eyes of youngest son Philip and examines the impact of this alternate history. He focuses on the small things (in a nod to Primo Levi?) rather than the wider political context; this is very effective as the tension and the horror build slowly but inexorably.
Things start small: a cousin goes to Canada and enlists (and returns having lost a leg), a family holiday is disrupted, the aunt and older brother effectively join the pro-Lindbergh movement and there is a Jewish resettlement program before the violence starts to escalate... Throughout, the sense of paranoia and fear is almost tangible, as is the misery and pain of a family being torn apart by conflicting allegiances.
A wonderful book, altogether plausible and all the more chilling for it.