Philip Roth’s The Plot Against America is most disturbing in it’s subtlety. Partly autobiographical, in that much of it is based on Roth’s experience of casual anti semitism growing up in New Jersey in the 1940s, it is essentially an alternate history novel.
What if All American Hero, Isolationist and effective anti semite Charles Lindbergh had defeated President Roosevelt in 1940?
It’s not a Nazi Germany by the Potomac story, but more about how an extremist idea can creep incrementally into the mainstream, gaining acceptance amongst people who would normally have opposed such a thing, even co-opting Jews into the project under the guise of anything for a quiet life.
The ending has been criticised, and it does read as if Roth suddenly frightened himself with how far he had progressed in making evil ideas seem banal.
Worth reading, nevertheless.
Yet another must for the Political Junkie’s DVD library, The Last Hurrah has Spencer Tracy ( Now there’s an actor) at his finest as a charismatic old school Irish American mayor seeking re-election one last time.
If you want to know how the old Democratic machines locked up the cities, and indeed how Fianna Fail used to do it, this is textbook stuff. The party is everything, with loyalty, decency and just the faintest whiff of corruption keeping the whole thing together. Very watchable, especially the ensemble of yes men the mayor surrounds himself with.
Sadly, only available on Region 1 DVD, but really, isn’t it time you invested in a multi region DVD player. It’s not like they’re dear anymore.
Pay close attention for a reference to a certain Fianna Fail politician, by the way.
I’m often accused by friends of forcing books onto them because I liked them, and therefore buy copies of them as unwanted gifts for said friends in other to encourage the writer in my own tiny way to write more stuff that I like. It’s true.
I can’t understand why Max Barry is not huge. In fact it seems that whilst he is published in his native Australia and indeed in the US, he’s only relatively recently been published in Britain or Ireland, which I regard as bizarre given his style of humour.
Company tells a story of Zephyr Holdings, an enormous company that no one quite seems to know what it actually does. A new employee starts poking around and discovers the truth, along the way giving a funny take on how large companies function. Or don’t.
I won’t ruin the book by revealing the plot or the funnier incidents in it, just to point you towards it as an entertaining and thoughtful take on corporate culture.