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It was no fleeting backlash: on the eve of the second world war, the German American Bund packed more than 20, militants into Madison Square Garden in New York for a pro-Hitler rally. We want to become human beings again.

“It Can’t Happen Here,” — Until it Does. A Review of the novel by Sinclair Lewis

We want Buzz! Windrip could count on a number of real-life champions who appear in the novel, such as the newspaper tycoon William Randolph Hearst. Windrip wins the election. Political opponents are herded into concentration camps, while a flood of refugees flee across the border to Canada. In the end, though, it is only a work of fiction — and millions of Americans cling to the belief that it will remain so. A willingness to extend a fundamental decency and benefit of the doubt to opponents, while an admirable quality, may be a handicap when it comes to dealing with fascism, and hints at why people like Marat, Lenin or Mao were often more brutal and autocratic than the governments they helped overthrow.

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Fascism doesn't breed softness; it changes people, and Lewis makes a point of demonstrating this through his characters. He captures some of the identifying features of fascism- sadism, yes, but it is also so cartoonish, so self-evidently absurd and stupid, that it can be difficult to take seriously- and it can be "too late" faster than you think. The title of the novel is not exactly subtle, and, just in case you didn't get it, Lewis scatters straw men throughout the early chapters to guffaw, in one case the exact words, " View all 5 comments. Sep 14, Maru Kun rated it really liked it Shelves: 20th-century-lit , c-usa , p-nobel-lit.

Well worth a read and a parlour game well worth reviving. To give you the flavour, looks like Trump was at the party: I think young D over there is the only born Nazi in the room. Young D is the spoiled only son of a doting mother. He has never been crossed in his life.

He spends his time at the game of seeing what he can get away with. He is constantly arrested for speeding and his mother pays the fines. He has been ruthless toward two wives and his mother pays the alimony. His life is spent in sensation-seeking and theatricality. He is utterly inconsiderate of everybody.

  1. Who Says It Can't Happen Here? –
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  5. 9 Prophetic IT CAN’T HAPPEN HERE Quotes.
  6. He is very good-looking, in a vacuous, cavalier way, and inordinately vain. He would certainly fancy himself in a uniform that gave him a chance to swagger and lord it over others. There is no better time to read this book than right now, except maybe for this time next year.

    'It Can't Happen Here' – and (so far) it hasn't

    These days we have learnt the lessons of history and look with suspicion at grandstanding debates and at political rallies filled with bright lights, loud music and low-level violence. But in this age these are no more than a diversion from the natural home of a new American fascism. Different from the fascism of the Nazis a modern American fascism would be born not in the democratic process but rather in the law. It would take its first steps far away from the noisy rallies and safe from the glare of public attention in the grey offices of corporate lobbyists and in the proceedings of dull committees.

    A modern American fascism would be a tyranny of the legal opinion, an oppression of the outsourcing contract, a dictatorship of the draft regulations. In dull back rooms mediocre lawyers would write legal opinions justifying torture and the majority of the public would support its use. Police would be given legal powers to seize property on spurious grounds and retain it for their own enjoyment Canadian citizens would be warned by their state broadcaster not to travel with large amounts of money in the US.

    In drab state courtrooms judges would supplement their salaries by sending innocent children to jail. Prisons run for profit would be indistinguishable from concentration camps. Inmates would be sentenced to decades in jail for trivial crimes where they would be forced to work to supply goods for nominal wages. It would need a thorough re-write before it could fulfil the same role in our more complex and subtle but no less dangerous age. Apr 10, Jason Koivu rated it really liked it Shelves: fiction , historical-fiction , politics.

    It can. It is. This book is the Nostradamus of our political past, present and potential future. The day Trump was elected it shot up to and has remained in the dozens, if not hundreds, ever since. Because It Can't Happen Here , a book written in , parallels almost precisely what is happening right now. At times it's eerily similar. You know all about it already, so why read the book, right? I mean, after all you're living it. Well, perhaps your eyes aren't as open as you think they are. In fact, that's a big part of the problem. So, open them up and read this book View 2 comments.

    Mar 30, Bam cooks the books ;- rated it really liked it Shelves: library-book , reads , politics , dystopia. This is a fitting fictional follow-up to the weighty nonfiction book The Origins of Totalitarianism which I've recently read. Set in Vermont beginning in the year , the main This is a fitting fictional follow-up to the weighty nonfiction book The Origins of Totalitarianism which I've recently read. He warily watches as that year's presidential election unfolds. The most popular candidate is the folksy senator and consummate actor Berzelius Buzz Windrip who travels around the country with a group of marching men wearing old-fashioned, patriotic uniforms--he calls these his 'Minute Men.

    That last one is probably what gets him elected, as so many people had been out of work for several years. Jessup has two choices--to either lay low or speak his mind about what is happening. When he decides to publish a scathing editorial about the government, he is arrested and taken to jail, where he is given 'a trial' before a judge appointed by the government. His son-in-law comes in to protest his treatment and is summarily taken out and shot. Jessup is allowed to go free on the condition that he allows his newspaper to be taken over by the Corpos, as they are known, and works with their representative to publish a government-friendly paper.

    Jessup puts up with this humiliation for awhile but then quits and joins a new underground movement which helps dissidents escape to Canada, and he secretly publishes a protest newspaper called Vermont Vigilance with like-minded friends--which could land him in a concentration camp or worse, if caught. Some 80 years later, this is still very much a book of warning about the dangers that threaten our democratic institutions if we are not ever vigilant.

    Politics & law

    Although not great literature, it is filled with satire and irony and does put our current political situation into perspective. Hopefully, it can also inspire us as citizens to get more politically active and work for what we believe is right.

    Read it and be warned! Jul 26, Nandakishore Varma marked it as deferred. Yesterday I was having a coffee with a friend. I told him how the recent lynchings in India, the violence against authors and books, and the ghettoisation of Muslims closely parallel 's Nazi Germany. He dismissed my concerns with an airy statement: "It can't happen here.

    The disillusioned left-behinds, the Minute Men, are seen as willing to revert to torture and revenge overnight when the power shifts, another reminder that tyrannies succeed when politicians harness a directionless anger for their own ends.

    Sinclair Lewis Says It CAN Happen Here - Seedbed

    The spirit of Doremus Jessup is one that remains in all free media reporting from unbiased outlets across the world, and one that will always prevail in the face of faceless hatemongering asscockerels. Inside this suddenly-timely page book is a page novel struggling to get out. Really, could it? And to what extent can it be seen as an unwitting anticipation of campaign that brought Donald Trump to power?

    The methods Windrip used to secure the Presidency, the people who helped him, and the irresistible agglomeration of interest groups that brought him to victory, were deliberately but not exclusively patterned after Twenties Italian Fascist and early-Thirties German NDSAP Nazi-party.

    Windrip and his "Corpo" regime understand the distinction between persuasion and conviction in the solicitation of votes, know how to wheedle and threaten as occasion demanded, showing only when necessary the iron fist of thuggery inside the all-American velvet cotton? In poly-sci matters in this novel -- sheer well-informed background and logic and vote-counting -- Lewis was vivid and precise.

    The Dickensian fizz of George Babbitt's neighbor T. Cholmondeley Frink in the eponymous novel, who becomes "Chum Frink," poet for pay to the masses, works well. We can't. His character is well enough established, though it took Lewis a while: it took much more time than the one-dimensional object for satire of a George F.

    Babbitt, say or an Elmer Gantry. Not only does Lewis go on too long in this exposition, his mouthpiece Jessup goes on too long when he talks politics. What Jessup has to say makes perfect sense; his fellow New Englanders usually don't have the time to listen. Yes, but only for a while. An overstated book? Resistance may not be futile, but comparisons are inevitable. View all 10 comments. Nov 04, Nancy Oakes rated it really liked it. Given what's going on in American politics right now, this book wins my prize for most frightening read of Sorry if you don't like my use of the "p" word, but it is what it is.

    To put the novel in its historical perspective, I turn to an article in the New Yorker written by Alexander Nazaryan October 19th of this year that says "Sinclair Lewis published the novel as Adolf Hitler was making Germany great again, violating the Treaty of Versailles by establishing the Wehrmacht. Benito Given what's going on in American politics right now, this book wins my prize for most frightening read of Benito Mussolini invaded Ethopia.

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    Things at home weren't much better: a race riot in Harlem, dust storms in the Midwest. The Times, that November, reported on a meeting of the New Jersey Bankers Association, whose president offered a blunt assessment of the national mood: 'America is tired of adventure and anxious,' the man of industry said. The people wanted 'safety and conservatism again. Once in office, he begins to usher in " a fascistic regime of suppression, terror, and totalitarianism -- all draped up in red, white, and blue bunting.

    Jessup completely gets what's really going on and feels a deep need to channel his outrage into some sort of action.