The Plot Against America


Author: Roth, Philip
Title: The Plot Against America
Genre: Historical fiction, alternate history
Publication Date: 2004
Number of Pages: 391
Geographical Setting: Weequahic, New Jersey; Washington D.C.; United States
Time Period: 1940s United States
Series: N/A
Plot Summary: In an attempt at re-writing history, Roth describes the relationship of a hypothetical family in a small New Jersey town in l940. In that year’s election, Charles Lindbergh is awarded the Republican nomination for president and subsequently wins the battle with FDR. However, for Jewish Americans, Lindbergh proves to be anything but the brave patriot he is portrayed as in the media. Within weeks after the election, he shows sympathy towards Nazi ideals, forms a pact with Germany and Japan and starts enacting laws that attempt to marginalize the Jewish population. One of these programs includes the Office of American Absorption, which resolves to break up Jewish ghettos and prevent them from feeling any sense of community. Always seen through the Jewish perspective, Roth tries to show the narrator living as close to a normal life as possible, describing coming-of-age events while reading headlines and absorbing the events of being marginalized for having a certain ethnic background. It is a constant state of fear that becomes the underlying theme to the novel, and what the Jewish response will be, that allows the reader to examine a slice of Jewish life in the eventful times of World War II.
Subject Headings: Alternate history; Historical novel; Lindbergh; Presidents United States fiction; Presidents Election fiction; Jews United States fiction; Jewish families fiction; Antisemitism fiction; Newark (N.Y.) fiction; Alternate histories (Fiction); Political fiction; Jewish fiction
Appeal: densely-written, engrossing, detailed, dramatic, introspective, realistic, character-centered, layered, thought-provoking, contemporary, historical details, political, urban, contemplative, foreboding, moody, thoughtful, smart, stark
Relevant Fiction: The Yiddish Policeman’s Union: A Novel by Michael Chabon (fictional story with an alternate history scanerio involving Jews),
The Forgotten by Elie Wiesel(father tells events from his life in concentration camps during WWII),
Man in the Dark by Paul Auster (modern story of alternate history regarding 9/11 and the 2000 election)
Relevant Nonfiction: A Historical Atlas of the Jewish People: From the Time of Patriarchs to the Present by Eli Barnavi (includes maps, timelines and illustrations regarding Jewish migration),
Saving Israel: How the Jewish People Can Win a War That May Never End by Daniel Gordis (outlines how Israel should deal with current and future issues),
I Am Jewish: Personal Reflections Inspired by the Last Words of Daniel Pearl by Judea Pearl and Ruth Pearl (a myriad of responses from Jewish people to the last known words of Daniel Pearl)
Name: Matt Woronko

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