Here’s a guide to all the books on Off the Shelf. Click on any book to get more information. You can filter by topics that interest you. Try it, it’s fun!
Few writers working today have the narrative depth and complexity as Philip Roth. And it is at an intellectual high-point with The Plot Against America. The novel follows a working class Jewish-American family during the eve of World War II. Unlike the actual events surrounding America’s involvement, Roth constructs an alternate reality where Charles Lindbergh, the famous pilot and Nazi sympathizer, climbs to political prominence and, in a juicy moment of American politicking, succeeds in beating the incumbent and well-respected Franklin D. Roosevelt in the 1940 presidential election. Thus emerges an America more aligned with the policies of the Third Reich than with the allies, and becomes all the more troublesome for a Jewish family targeted by an increasingly hostile state. The vividness of America’s pogroms is terrifying and Roth delights in his ability to make the most absurd of situations real and doubtlessly convincing. It is perhaps an unusual choice when asked what book defines America for me, but Roth is fully invested in the American consciousness and his version could only have been written by someone who cares deeply about what America means and how best to relay its people’s perspective. I’ve never been one to shy from controversy and Roth, I think, embellishes the American spirit better than others who merely claim ownership of America without any foresight into why or for what purpose. - Pronoy Sarkar
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