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It Can't Happen Here
by Sinclair Lewis
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Written at white heat.
A message to thinking Americans.
The New Yorker
Not only [Lewis's] most important book but one of the most important books ever produced in this country.
The only one of Sinclair Lewis's later novels to match the power of Main Street, Babbitt, and Arrowsmith, It Can't Happen Here is a cautionary tale about the fragility of democracy, an alarming, eerily timeless look at how fascism could take hold in America. Written during the Great Depression when America was largely oblivious to Hitler's aggression, it juxtaposes sharp political satire with the chillingly realistic rise of a President who becomes a dictator to save the nation from welfare cheats, rampant promiscuity, crime, and a liberal press. Now finally back in print, It Can't Happen Here remains uniquely important, a shockingly prescient novel that's as fresh and contemporary as today's news.
The Merriam-Webster Encyclopedia of Literature
Novel by Sinclair Lewis, published in 1935. It is a cautionary tale about the rise of fascism in the United States. During the presidential election of 1936, Doremus Jessup, a newspaper editor, observes with dismay that many of the people he knows support the candidacy of a fascist, Berzelius Windrip. When Windrip wins the election, he forcibly gains control of Congress and the Supreme Court, and, with the aid of his personal paramilitary storm troopers, turns the United States into a totalitarian state. Jessup opposes him, is captured, and escapes to Canada.
About the Author
Harry Sinclair Lewis's first successful novel was Main Street (1920), but his reputation was secured by the publication of Babbitt (1922). He was awarded a Pulitzer Prize for Arrowsmith (1925) but refused to accept the honor. He did accept, however, when he became the first American writer to receive the Nobel Prize for Literature, in 1930. During the last part of his life he spent a great deal of time in Europe and died there in 1951.
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