It Can't Happen Here
April 20, 2017 6:31 AM - by Sinclair Lewis - Subscribe

It Can’t Happen Here is the only one of Sinclair Lewis’s later novels to match the power of Main Street, Babbitt, and Arrowsmith. A cautionary tale about the fragility of democracy, it is an alarming, eerily timeless look at how fascism could take hold in America. Written during the Great Depression, when the country was largely oblivious to Hitler’s aggression, it juxtaposes sharp political satire with the chillingly realistic rise of a president who becomes a dictator to save the nation from welfare cheats, sex, crime, and a liberal press. Called “a message to thinking Americans” by the Springfield Republican when it was published in 1935, It Can’t Happen Here is a shockingly prescient novel that remains as fresh and contemporary as today’s news.

Goodreads page.

The book that Salon called “The novel that foreshadowed Donald Trump’s authoritarian appeal," It Can't Happen Here has been discussed lately in the New York Times and the New Yorker, which discusses a stage adaptation.

Discussed on Metafilter back in the slightly-less-terrifying days of 2004 and 2005.

This FanFare post is part of the "In These Trying Times" book club, which reads fiction relevant to the rise of Donald Trump and his presidency. Our last book was Parable of the Sower, by Octavia Butler. Our next book is The Dispossessed, by Ursula LeGuin.
posted by chainsofreedom (1 comment total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
I read this recently, and I wasn't sure if we're meant to buy into Doremus' philosophy. He seems to be a hard liberal that nonetheless views leftism as equally dangerous as fascism. By his own admission, he doesn't care about the underclasses because he does think his education & white collar profession entitle him to a higher social position. I'm not sure even his trip to the concentration camp with the Town Communist budges him a bit. A radical centrist?
I did find it rather amusing that what finally set off the internal rebellion was a bullshit war with Mexico.
posted by Kitty Stardust at 7:19 PM on April 20, 2017 [1 favorite]

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