The Volokh Conspiracy

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The Irony of "The Plot Against America"

The book and mini-series imagine Pres. Charles Linbergh dispersing Jews to the hinterlands, but FDR was the one who actually favored that.


I have a new blogging gig over at the Times of Israel. You can find my first, autobiographical post, here.

My post today starts as follows:

The late Philip Roth is my favorite novelist, and his novel The Plot Against America, now a widely-praised HBO mini-series, is an excellent, disturbing book. The book posits an alternate history in which an isolationist, antisemitic Charles Lindbergh defeats FDR for the U.S. presidency in 1940, and proceeds to enact a series of increasingly draconian antisemitic measures. Among those measures are sending Jewish youths out to the country to live with Gentile families to become "real patriotic Americans," away from the implied malevolent of their families, the Jewish community, Jewish culture, and Judaism.

The irony in the title of this post arises from the fact that while Lindbergh, while an isolationist not above antisemitic smears in his campaign to keep the U.S. out of World War II, never actually advocated anything remotely like the policies depicted in Roth's book, FDR did.

I also note that "even as the reputations of traditional American heroes ranging from Thomas Jefferson to Woodrow Wilson have suffered due to their racism, FDR, depicted as the hero of the Great Depression and World War II, has thus far emerged relatively untarnished."

You can read the whole thing here.

I plan, of course, to continue blogging at the VC, but future posts that may be of more interest to a primarily Jewish audience rather than the VC's broader audience will likely wind up at TOI.