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In this cautionary “what if” political fable, Roth hypothesizes that in 1940 aviation hero Charles Lindbergh, an ardent isolationist who was sympathetic to Hitler, won the presidency. Reimagining his childhood—with considerable fact mixed in with the fiction—Roth narrates an alternative history that has an unsettling plausibility. Jewish communities are stunned and terrified as America flirts with fascism. Step by step, the Lindbergh administration initiates measures like the harmless-sounding Homestead 42 program—a scheme to induce companies to relocate their Jewish employees to remote, predominantly gentile parts of the country. Not all Jewish families put up a united opposition to the new order. Tensions mount in Philip’s family when Aunt Sylvia marries the collaborationist rabbi who is appointed to head the Interior Department’s Office of American Absorption.

 

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