Customer Reviews for

The Plot Against America

Average Rating 3.5
( 88 )
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Most Helpful Favorable Review

3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

It Could have happened!

This novel was disturbing, frightening, and all to realistic. When I read what unfolded in American life under Lindburgh's presidency, it was like being slammed in the head by a two by four. How could this happen here? The book is a blueprint for disassembling our de...
This novel was disturbing, frightening, and all to realistic. When I read what unfolded in American life under Lindburgh's presidency, it was like being slammed in the head by a two by four. How could this happen here? The book is a blueprint for disassembling our democracy. A great read!

posted by Anonymous on March 7, 2006

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Most Helpful Critical Review

1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

Outstanding concept, adequately done

This is the first Philip Roth novel I've read and I must say I wasn't that impressed. His other novels like 'Portnoy's Complaint' are on my list but with this first one, I'm not running to it very quickly. The entire concept is a great one an alternate America for only...
This is the first Philip Roth novel I've read and I must say I wasn't that impressed. His other novels like 'Portnoy's Complaint' are on my list but with this first one, I'm not running to it very quickly. The entire concept is a great one an alternate America for only a short period of time, dominated by one of the most hateful groups of all-time. But Roth didn't make the story, I don't know how to put it into words, jump out enough. As one person said before, the book lagged and although the plot was there, it sluggishly proceeded. When there was action, I was deeply intrigued but then it stopped and nothing happened for awhile. Maybe I have to give it another read, maybe I missed something but for now, I am somewhat disappointed.

posted by Anonymous on December 13, 2006

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 7, 2006

    It Could have happened!

    This novel was disturbing, frightening, and all to realistic. When I read what unfolded in American life under Lindburgh's presidency, it was like being slammed in the head by a two by four. How could this happen here? The book is a blueprint for disassembling our democracy. A great read!

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted July 11, 2010

    Brilliant re-imagining of World War II-era America

    Roth's conception of Lindbergh's rise to power in a frightened pre-World War II America is inventive, compelling and provocative, and brilliant in its exploration of the power of political positioning to stir up native passions. It is also potently evocative of an America we know all too well -- one scared by political machinations into action against its better long-term interests, where fear rules the day. Bushism, anyone? Most powerfully of all, in the details through which Roth tells his story, is how convincing his tale is, and how insightfully he traces the nuances of political relationships and mass messaging to show us how the powers that be manipulate crowds. From the Jewish Newark, NJ community that is the locus of his vivid and disturbing American isolationism to the echelons of power out of which the plans to defend this country against engagement in foreign affairs -- nevermind the Fascists, nevermind the Communists -- Roth has woven a tale whose experiences resonate far after the book is closed. Thanks to Roth's skill, it's also somehow fun in its own perverse way to see so completely, in the safety of knowing it didn't happen, how an alternative America might have emerged.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 4, 2008

    Thought provoking

    A must read for all fans of 'alternative history!' Mr. Roth places himself within the 'what if?' story line to great effect. Excellent notes provide a great historical backdrop for any reader. Thrilling, frightening, and captivating!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 18, 2009

    Great "What If" Story

    Philip Roth's "The Plot Against America" is a fantastic book. The parallel world that he creates in the difficult World War II era is exhilerating and eerily realistic. Warping major historical events to fit his terrifying yet possible timeline.

    Apart from the horrific war that is twisting the country out of shape, the characters in Philip's house are dynamic and colorful. His paranoid, stereotypically Jewish mother reigns in her lower middle class house, warning and worrying. Philip's father is equally stereotypical, the simple American man working hard to get ahead, optimistic in the face of new diversity, jaded after being the victim of ancient prejudice.

    Roth's personal account of our could be-history is equally heartbreaking and terrifying. The idea of the bursting of prejudices in America causing all-out war within the country is frightening, and disturbs the image we have of America as an imperturbable fortress.

    Roth's book is a quiet collection of events that may have happened- in an America that was in the eleventh hour of order.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 13, 2006

    Outstanding concept, adequately done

    This is the first Philip Roth novel I've read and I must say I wasn't that impressed. His other novels like 'Portnoy's Complaint' are on my list but with this first one, I'm not running to it very quickly. The entire concept is a great one an alternate America for only a short period of time, dominated by one of the most hateful groups of all-time. But Roth didn't make the story, I don't know how to put it into words, jump out enough. As one person said before, the book lagged and although the plot was there, it sluggishly proceeded. When there was action, I was deeply intrigued but then it stopped and nothing happened for awhile. Maybe I have to give it another read, maybe I missed something but for now, I am somewhat disappointed.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 11, 2007

    Creepy but Wonderful

    Not like any Roth I have read before -- I dreaded reading more but at the same time could not stop myself. Takes the 'it could never happen here' attitudes head on and in all too vivid and realistic ways makes it clear that it simply could and often almost does. Should be required reading.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 8, 2006

    Narrow perspective of American history

    'Plot Against America' is a richly engrossing story with some minor, sequentially-annoying jumps and retracing in the storytelling. However, this story only really works as historical horror fiction if we ignore the countless racially-based government actions against specific groups of Americans: 1) forced migration and concentration of Native Americans 2) forced labor, segregation and discriminatory policies against African-Americans 3) forced deportation of 1.2 million Americans of Mexican descent during the Hoover years of the Great Depression 4) forced concentration of both Americans and Canadians of Japanese descent during WWII and 5) suspension of civil liberties for some non-white Americans during the War on Terror. In other words, the novel only works if one buys the premise that the significance of Roth's story is that the fascist horror in the White House is directed at a white minority of European-descent.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 17, 2006

    Excellent Storyline and Prose

    I was recommended this novel by my English teacher, and having finally got around to reading it, find it extremely perceptive and insightful writing. The entire premise, the mythical election of Charles Lindbergh as president may seem like a farfetched and unbelievable fantasy, but I found myself reading along as if the events were historically accurate and truly happened. The book subtley portrays both social and familial strains that Lindbergh's new anti-Semitic administration cause. The story very well conveys the sentiments of a culture still wrestling with the fallout and depravation of a previous world war, its reticence to welcome further international aggression, and its willingness to harbor isolationist feelings if it means bloodshed, slaughter, and betrayal will be avoided. Also, Philip Roth depicts the American Jewish family with incredible poignancy, and we see a father struggling with the elusive principles that once structured his life, but now are powerless against bureaucratic conniving and pointed anti-Jewish retribution...a mother whose logical, systematic, and omnipresent approach to childrearing is now challenged by the breakdown of her own family and the undoing of former achievements which gave an otherwise subservient household wife purpose...and two boys whose erudition, on one hand, enforces principles promoting the homogenization of Americans and the diluting of Jewish bonds, and on the other, paternal dictates directly opposite society's lessons which render their father both impassioned and powerless. All of these factors internal and external contribute to the debilitation of their family and many others alike. However, the end hints at an American populous which, despite seemingly irreversible fascist influences, will not yield to anything other than freedom.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 22, 2006

    a tragedy to America

    I would best describe this as the book that never happened about events that never happened. Do we not have enough going on in the world? We now have to play 'what if' scenarios that destroy the image of an American hero. More than a Plot against this is a tradegy to American.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 10, 2005

    Unfortunately I am Disappointed!

    Professional reviews praise this book as an incredible read. Unfortunately I do not agree, it was simply to boring for me, nothing really ever happened, throughout the whole book we expect to get a feeling of how America would be under a Nazi regime, how hard core anti-Semitism would feel in America, it was too slow and too full of unnecessary detail. But worst of all the writer did not leave very much room for suspense, sense most of the chapters began with describing what had happened and then how it happened, we always knew what was coming¿.or in better words, what was not coming because for me nothing ever happened. Sorry to disagree with other readers but it was painfully slow and boring to me.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 8, 2004

    Difficult to read

    I bought this book with great expectations. The synopsis was great, the reviews were great so I was hopeful that I would be glued to this book until it was done. What I found upon opening the pages, was a very poorly written or poorly edited book. Chapter one was filled with long run on sentences. I tried to get past this but was unable to. I scanned the other chapters and found the same. I tried 3 different times to read this book and just couldn't do it. It is good to see that others were able to overlook the long and rambling run-ons.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 11, 2014

    more from this reviewer

    The Plot Against AmerĀ­ica by Philip Roth is a ficĀ­tional book se

    The Plot Against Amer­ica by Philip Roth is a fic­tional book set in Amer­ica 1940s. This is the first Philip Roth book I have read, and I am look­ing for­ward to read much more.

    Philip Roth, a Jew­ish child in Newark NJ, observes the world around him as Charles Lind­bergh, known anti-Semite, avi­a­tion super­star and sup­porter of a cer­tain Aus­trian mad­man, is elected Pres­i­dent of the United States. Lind­bergh is pop­u­lar in the Amer­i­can south and Mid­west, as well as endorsed by pop­u­lar con­ser­v­a­tive Rabbi Ben­gels­dorf and wins eas­ily over Roo­sevelt who is run­ning for an unprece­dented third term.

    The Roth fam­ily starts to feel like out­siders, anti-Semities no longer feel they need to hide, Lind­bergh signs a treaty with Hitler to stay out of the war and relo­cates whole Jew­ish fam­i­lies to the Mid­west. Mean­while, famed reporter and radio per­son­al­ity, Wal­ter Winchell, runs against Lind­bergh for the high­est office in the country.

    The Plot Against Amer­ica by Philip Roth is an alter­na­tive his­tory novel which asks an ques­tion: what if Amer­ica had elected a fas­cist gov­ern­ment before World War II?

    The novel is told from the point of view of a young Philip Roth from Newark, NJ and his Jew­ish fam­ily who refuse to believe that such a thing could hap­pen in Amer­ica and see their lives fall apart. The ques­tions raised by this novel are excel­lent, and I would highly rec­om­mend it to any book club in need of an inter­est­ing book to discuss.

    What makes this book great is that the per­spec­tive is told from that of a lit­tle kid. Mr. Roth exam­ines a world gone mad through the eyes of a young boy and… he nails it! I don’t know if part of the book is a mem­oir or not, it cer­tainly seems like it, but the author does look back at 1940s Newark with nos­tal­gia and love.

    This book came to me at a most oppor­tune time, I just fin­ished read­ing the excel­lent Swastika Nation: Fritz Kuhn and the Rise and Fall of the German-American Bund by Arnie Bern­stein which exam­ines the Amer­i­can Nazi move­ment at the time that Roth’s novel tak­ing place. Those two books which com­ple­ment one another tremen­dously (the same char­ac­ters make appear­ances in both) have really opened my eyes to the real­iza­tion of how many peo­ple were on the wrong side of history.

    While I enjoyed the major­ity of the book, which I thought was bril­liant, the last 50 pages lost me. Some­how it seems that Mr. Roth was rush­ing to fin­ish this excel­lent book, when I would have gladly read another 800 pages in the same vain.

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  • Posted December 21, 2011

    Good book

    Written like an autobiography, this novel portrays an interesting alternative history. Like any normal autobiography, there are periods where life is dull and the story becomes a little slow, but overall the book is quite readable. One thing I particularly liked about this, is the fact that the author included a section at the end relaying the actual history. It saved me lots of googling time!

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  • Posted November 29, 2011

    Ridiculous story -- don't waste your time.

    I expected more from Philip Roth. Historical fiction was not intended to take a real person (and a hero to many people) and put him in a completely fictional story. Had Roth used another name this could have been a much better book but I kept thinking "How did Lindgerg get in this book?" It's like when someone tells you not to think about the elephant on the sofa. It's absurd but you can't stop thinking about it.

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 6, 2011

    Great, suspenseful read!

    Highly recommended

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 13, 2011

    Great what if story

    A book to keep a read again

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 17, 2011

    Great potential Bad delivery

    This book and the plot had so much potential, but it fell flat big time. The notes in the back made the book some what bearable.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 3, 2009

    Rudimentary formatting errors

    This ebook suffers from lax quality control. Nearly all of the text from the first chapter title to the very end of the book is in boldface, and many paragraphs are inexplicably center- or right-aligned. And thanks to eReader DRM I can't legally fix it myself. FAIL.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 7, 2006

    Unrealistic

    It is impossble for a person lose all but two states. FDR had all the qualities the people wanted for that time. When you research the time period, there is no way Lindebergh would have won and if he did, it would have been closer. The failure to get to the point was another weak point of this story. I was very dissapointed in reading this book by Philip Roth. I expected better from him, but becuase of the originality of the story, I chose to give this book two stars.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 26, 2005

    Average story.

    A few day's ago I got this book for Christmas, and I was really looking forward to an outstanding story, but as I was reading going on page 80 or so I was saying to myself 'Come on when is this story going to really take off'....Well all I can say is that this book was flat line all the way, the auther it seems to me had a good idea for the book but never got the story over the hump of run of the mill story telling. What this story needed was a little excitement, and sorry to say to me this book din't have it. Well that's my view of the book anyway kind readers, and let me tell you I read a lot of books.

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