Second Saturday Book Club – The Plot Against America by Philip Roth

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Date(s) - 04/13/2019
10:00 am - 12:00 pm



The Plot Against America by Philip Roth   2005.  …..Written in 2004, Roth moves us back into an alternative history of the 1940s in which Franklin D. Roosevelt is defeated by the pro-Nazi celebrity Charles Lindbergh. We follow the fortunes of the Roth family, who live in Newark, NJ, (yes, based on Roth’s own family) during the Lindbergh presidency, as Jewish-American families like the Roths are persecuted on various levels. The narrator and central character is the young Philip himself, and we see his whole identity become totally confused.     Why?   American journalist Bob Woodward recently published his non-fiction book Fear: Trump in the White House. It’s hard not to think about that as we read the opening sentence of Roth’s novel: “Fear presides over these memories, a perpetual fear.”  When first published in 2004, this was widely received as an allegory for W.’s administration.  Today it reads as a parable for Trump’s America.  I chose this to honor Roth, a pre-eminent figure in 20th-century literature, who died last May, the last of the great white males: the triumvirate of writers — Saul Bellow and John Updike were the others — who towered over American literature in the second half of the 20th century