It Can't Happen Here

It Can't Happen Here

4.6 25
by Sinclair Lewis
     
 

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The handsome dining room of the Hotel Wessex, with its gilded
plaster shields and the mural depicting the Green Mountains, had
been reserved for the Ladies' Night Dinner of the Fort Beulah
Rotary Club.

Here in Vermont the affair was not so picturesque as it might have
been on the Western prairies. Oh, it had its points: there was a
skit

Overview

The handsome dining room of the Hotel Wessex, with its gilded
plaster shields and the mural depicting the Green Mountains, had
been reserved for the Ladies' Night Dinner of the Fort Beulah
Rotary Club.

Here in Vermont the affair was not so picturesque as it might have
been on the Western prairies. Oh, it had its points: there was a
skit in which Medary Cole (grist mill & feed store) and Louis
Rotenstern (custom tailoring--pressing & cleaning) announced that
they were those historic Vermonters, Brigham Young and Joseph
Smith, and with their jokes about imaginary plural wives they got
in ever so many funny digs at the ladies present. But the occasion
was essentially serious. All of America was serious now, after the
seven years of depression since 1929. It was just long enough
after the Great War of 1914-18 for the young people who had been
born in 1917 to be ready to go to college . . . or to another war,
almost any old war that might be handy.

The features of this night among the Rotarians were nothing funny,
at least not obviously funny, for they were the patriotic addresses
of Brigadier General Herbert Y. Edgeways, U.S.A. (ret.), who dealt
angrily with the topic "Peace through Defense--Millions for Arms
but Not One Cent for Tribute," and of Mrs. Adelaide Tarr Gimmitch--
she who was no more renowned for her gallant anti-suffrage
campaigning way back in 1919 than she was for having, during the
Great War, kept the American soldiers entirely out of French cafés
by the clever trick of sending them ten thousand sets of dominoes.

Nor could any social-minded patriot sneeze at her recent somewhat
unappreciated effort to maintain the purity of the American Home by
barring from the motion-picture industry all persons, actors or
directors or cameramen, who had: (a) ever been divorced; (b) been
born in any foreign country--except Great Britain, since Mrs.
Gimmitch thought very highly of Queen Mary, or (c) declined to take
an oath to revere the Flag, the Constitution, the Bible, and all
other peculiarly American institutions.

The Annual Ladies' Dinner was a most respectable gathering--the
flower of Fort Beulah. Most of the ladies and more than half of
the gentlemen wore evening clothes, and it was rumored that before
the feast the inner circle had had cocktails, privily served in
Room 289 of the hotel. The tables, arranged on three sides of a
hollow square, were bright with candles, cut-glass dishes of candy
and slightly tough almonds, figurines of Mickey Mouse, brass Rotary
wheels, and small silk American flags stuck in gilded hard-boiled
eggs. On the wall was a banner lettered "Service Before Self," and
the menu--the celery, cream of tomato soup, broiled haddock,
chicken croquettes, peas, and tutti-frutti ice-cream--was up to the
highest standards of the Hotel Wessex.

They were all listening, agape. General Edgeways was completing
his manly yet mystical rhapsody on nationalism:

". . . for these U-nited States, a-lone among the great powers,
have no desire for foreign conquest. Our highest ambition is to be
darned well let alone! Our only gen-uine relationship to Europe is
in our arduous task of having to try and educate the crass and
ignorant masses that Europe has wished onto us up to something like
a semblance of American culture and good manners. But, as I
explained to you, we must be prepared to defend our shores against
all the alien gangs of international racketeers that call
themselves 'governments,' and that with such feverish envy are
always eyeing our inexhaustible mines, our towering forests, our
titanic and luxurious cities, our fair and far-flung fields.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
2940013773820
Publisher:
WDS Publishing
Publication date:
01/15/2012
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Sales rank:
29,469
File size:
342 KB

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It Can't Happen Here 4.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 25 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Sinclair Lewis in his typically sarcastic fashion crafts a tale of public complacency until it is too late. The rise of a dictatorship under the guise of national crisis is far too easily compared to the subtle loss of civil liberties we are experiencing in post-9/11 America. It leaves the modern reader with the question, 'So, who is going to start the revolution?'
Guest More than 1 year ago
On recently re-reading It Can't Happen Here, it occurred to me that many of the political restructurings and shenanagans that Lewis satired have actually taken place in recent U.S. history. Since 9/11, the current administration has created 'The Department of Homeland Security'; had it ever been suggested, Lewis might have even considered the D.H.S. himself as a titular umbrella to the fascist 'Corpos' and/or 'Minute Men' that he created in the 1935 novel. Further, Congress has actually passed the U.S. Patriot Act, federal legislation that may lead one to reflect on Buzz Windrip's 15 points from the novel. At the time the book was written, Mr. Hitler was rapidly on the rise in Germany. Now, we fear the potential expansionist policies of some or other Middle Eastern autocrat-go-international terrorist (e.g. Saddam Hussein). To those of us who dabble in writing, perhaps it is time for a new American political satire--one that integrates more current politico-economic phenomena into the weave. If any of us actually braves it, we would be hard-pressed to put out anything as timeless and on point as Lewis did with It Can't Happen Here. I cannot highly enough recommend a reading, or re-reading, as the case may be of this important 1935 novel. As you are reading, try to keep the actual events of the past several years in mind--in doing so, it will become all the more entertaining in its immaculate satiric prophecy.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great story but the formatting for the Nook version is real shoddy. Sentences are broken so the type looks like experimental poetry and sometimes words are missing from the end of a line so you have to guess. If you can get past that you'll be rewarded with a novel that is equally funny and frightening.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Only a year after Hitler and the Nazis had reached power by constitutional means in Germany, Sinclair Lewis was writing IT CAN'T HAPPEN HERE. Step by step, Lewis showed how a similar fascist takeover MIGHT VERY WELL HAPPEN HERE in the sober, God-fearing USA. First, an unscrupulous but popular western Senator might defeat Franklin Roosevelt for the Democratic Party nomination for president in 1936. He would then win the general election and within eight days cow Congress into giving him power to legislate by decree. Step by step campaign rhetoric gives way to lying, deceit, violence, concentration camps and torture. *** All this is observed and participated in by small town Vermont newspaper proprietor, Doremus Jessup, a principled man who stands up to the dictatorship at no little cost to himself and his family. *** This novel depicts American anti-semitism and anti-black racism as it might play into the hands of a native American dictator. IT CAN'T HAPPEN HERE is also a study in political science and sociology. The novel shows how people in power instinctively reach out to personal cruelty and torture of their opponents. *** In 2004-2005 Rotarians around the world celebrate 100 years of Rotary. As in BABBITT and ELMER GANTRY, the author once again depicts American Rotary Clubs and Rotarians as typical, easily led business-class American, just the two-legged sheep to make dictators thinkable. *** Early on (1905 - 1940) Rotary and the other eleven major service club types were lambasted by serious literary opponents. In the United Kingdom George Bernard Shaw and G.K. Chesterton made fun of pretentious small-minded businessmen and of Rotarians' irreverent practice of calling their betters by their first names. In the United States Rotary and its brethren were notably savaged by two men working almost as a team, H.L. Mencken and Harry Sinclair Lewis. To both men a typical Rotarian businessman exemplified Mencken's 'boobus Americanus.' During his heyday (1920 - 1930) Sinclair Lewis made repeated fun of Rotary and other Booster clubs. *** Every word in Chapter One of IT CAN'T HAPPEN HERE is about a Vermont Rotary Club meeting held not long before the 1936 presidential election. At the height of the campaign, the novel's hero confides to two friends who will never give up resisting the dictatorship, 'This is a revolution in terms of Rotary. '*** Readers who are Rotarians will therefore watch with bated breath as the various attendees of Chapter One's Ladies Night Dinner of the Fort Beulah Rotary Club react throughout 37 more increasingly terrible chapters to the rising bloody tyranny of America's first Great Dictator. ***
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is an interesting story about what could happen to our country if the American voters elect a self proclaimed "savior" as president of the United States. For those of you who think our leaders are useless and terrible be thankful for it. We could end up with a President Windrip as head man in charge. The book itself is a very good read if you cab plod through all the tedious details. I almost stopped reading the book because I couldn't bear the tedium. I decided to read it in short spurts instead. It's much easier to bear that way. If you want to read the book, as I did, try to find an abridged version. You will probably be a lot happier.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It took awhile to get into. But once you got passed that it was great. You see how easy it could happen. I feel we are on the precipice right now. This should be in every school library and mandatory reading for all high school student.
Karagin More than 1 year ago
This book and it's message is just as important today, if not more so, as when it was first written.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Sinclair Lewis in his typically sarcastic fashion crafts a tale of public complacency until it is too late. The rise of a dictatorship under the guise of national crisis is far too easily compared to the subtle loss of civil liberties we are experiencing in post-9/11 America. It leaves the modern reader with the question, 'So, who is going to start the revolution?'
UKTrojan More than 1 year ago
I must sheepishly admit I'd never heard of this book until a month ago. Sinclair Lewis, however, is very well known and a national treasure. While "It Can't Happen Here" was originally written in the late 1930s, it is so completely relevant now. When reading this satirical look at the over-caffeinated chattering class of yesteryear, keep in mind the current characters: Fox News, Gingrich, Palin, Beck, McCain, C-Street, Boehner, Cornyn, Graham, Cantor, McConnell Bush, Cheney, Rove, etal!" It is absolutely bone-chilling to know that the current level of hyperbolic rhetoric was so accurately described nearly 90 years ago. Hold tight, and enjoy the ride
Guest More than 1 year ago
I wandered into this little book and have loved every minute I've spent reading it! Doremus Jessup is my new hero -- a well-to-do New Englander in the '30s, with the sense to question the direction the country is taking. A must-read for folks who've been blind-sided in the last 4 years.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is a wonderful book. I really enjoyed reading it; could hardly put it down. It talks about history, politics, and modern life, even though it does take place in the 30's. This book really gets you to thinking. Although somewhat difficult matter to read at times, I recommend this book to anyone. You won't be disappointed.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Horrible, horrible format. Absolutely unreadable. A waste of $2.00. The only reason a gave it one star is because I could not give it zero.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The formatting was off. After working my way half way through, the book does not load at all.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
ClassicReaderBW More than 1 year ago
One of the best books I have read in recent years. Kudos
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Guest More than 1 year ago
Though not usually considered the best of Sinclair Lewis' works, I personally found this one the most riveting. We must keep in mind that although we have the greatest nation in the history of the world, it is possible for us to get turned upside down. This novel shows just how easy it could happen. Every bit as timely now as it was when written in the 30's.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Im locked out. ——————————Flamepelt—————————
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Dust, if you ever need a place to stay, go to numb first result and tell heartstar Heatherpaw sent you. She'll understand.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Lilly pads next to him and aits down. Takes a bite. Yum.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Leagstorm~ so good.... *he said practicly in food coma xD*