Another ingenious mix of fact and fiction from one of America's most esteemed authors, this provocative novel is Roth's strongest offering in recent years. Taking liberties with history, he re-imagines the 1940s as a decade in which hero-pilot Charles A. Lindbergh beats out Franklin D. Roosevelt for president. Roth constructs the novel around Lindbergh's alleged anti-Semitism (according to some historical accounts, he was a fascist and a supporter of the Nazis). As president, Lindbergh inspires such fervor among the country's anti-Semite population that pogroms result. But the real core of the narrative lies in the history of Roth's own family, which is recounted here in wonderful detail. Parents Bess and Herman Roth, along with their young sons Sandy and Philip, endure the indignities imposed by the president from their home in New Jersey. The author masterfully blends world-changing events (Lindbergh's signing of nonaggression treaties with Germany and Japan ) with everyday incidents (young Philip's childish pranks and mix-ups). The wholly believable tale is recounted after-the-fact by Philip, who is now an adult. At once revisionist history and a terrific piece of fiction, the book only strengthens Roth's already formidable reputation.
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