Book Review: It Can’t Happen Here by Lewis

It Can't Happen Here (Signet Classics)It Can’t Happen Here by Sinclair Lewis
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Written in the 30s, during the depths of the Depression, before World War II, this dystopian classic paints a grim picture of America’s fall into it’s own flavor of fascism. Some of his assertions stretched my belief nearly to the breaking point, most notable being the seemingly easy evaporation of two of our three branches of government after the League of Forgotten Men rise in power and seize the executive branch.

The novel follows the life of Jessup Doremus, an elderly (nearly retirement age) editor of a small town Vermont newspaper, uniquely positioned to lead us down the slippery slope of disappearing civil liberties and rising paranoia among the citizenry. The evils promulgated by petty near-thugs upon strangers, neighbors, friends and family … almost indiscriminately … all as an exercise in absolute power (as far as I could tell).

Not a comforting read, except for a brief glimpse of hope at the end. I can understand the shock value it would have had when it was published. I’m glad I read it, and even more glad none of it has proved prophetic for America … yet.

I read this novel as one of the suggested readings for my local library’s adult winter reading program called ‘Altered States’ and blogged about my reading journey.

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