Philip Roth’s The Plot Against America is probably more relevant now than it was when published in 2004, and that should disturb everyone. Roth’s novel is getting the miniseries treatment from HBO, courtesy of The Wire creator David Simon. The story is set during World War II in an alternate America, where Charles Lindbergh wins the presidency and quickly turns the country toward fascism. Watch The Plot Against America trailer below.
The Plot Against America Trailer
Well, this certainly looks incredible and disturbing. The Plot Against America “imagines an alternate American history during World War II, told through the eyes of a working-class Jewish family in New Jersey as they endure the political rise of Charles Lindbergh, an aviator-hero and xenophobic populist, who captures the presidency and turns the nation toward fascism.”
There are bound to be conversations about how this series parallels current events, and I’m sure all of those conversations will be respectful and level-headed. The series comes from collaborators David Simon and Ed Burns. “As one of our greatest novelists, Philip Roth was generally more known for narratives that went directly to the human heart and the human condition,” says Simon. “But with Plot, he delivered an emotionally moving political tract about our country taking a dry run at totalitarianism and intolerance. That it was published in 2004 makes it no less prescient a document at this moment in time. Roth was warning us that it can happen here. And it can.”
The cast includes Zoe Kazan as Elizabeth “Bess” Levin, “an insightful mother and homemaker who fears for the future as she tries to protect her family amid the escalating political climate”; Morgan Spector as Herman Levin, “her proud and opinionated husband who works as an insurance agent and tries to maintain normalcy and assert himself as an American citizen even as his country seems to be slipping into fascism, anti-Semitism and xenophobic isolationism”; Winona Ryder as Evelyn Finkel, “the unmarried, older sister to Bess whose own plans were arrested by years of caring for her infirm mother and is hungry to find her own place in life”; John Turturro as Rabbi Lionel Bengelsdorf, “a politically conservative rabbi transplanted from Charleston, S.C. who seizes the reins of history to become a key figure in the emergent Lindbergh administration”; Anthony Boyle as Alvin Levin, “the angry orphaned nephew who allows his own sense of injustice and political differences with his Uncle Herman to carry him from the streets of Newark to the battlefields of Europe and then back again”; Azhy Robertson as ten-year-old Philip Levin, “the youngest of the Levin clan who copes with his own innocent curiosity and growing anxiety in a world that seems to be collapsing around him”; and Caleb Malis as Sandy Levin, “the Levin’s artistic teenage son who rebels against his parents as his adolescence becomes entangled with his growing admiration for Lindbergh.”
The Plot Against America premieres on March 16.
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