It Can't Happen Here, By Sinclair Lewis

Discussion in 'Reading & Writing' started by James Hintze, Jan 29, 2022.

  1. James Hintze

    James Hintze Well-Known Member
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    I just finished reading It Can't Happen Here, by Sinclair Lewis. It was written in 1935, the setting was 1936-38/39, starting before the 1936 election, in which the novel character defeats FDR.

    The novel gives a good picture of the time, during which the Hitler-Mussolini regimes were big talking points, along with the Soviet Union. There was an operating communist political party at the time. The new president seems to be what the author sees as a Hitler/Mussolini president of the US.

    I enjoyed both the picture of the mid 1930s, aannnndddd...I imagined what the second decade of the 21st century might look like if Trump's minions had been able to save his presidency earlier this month. I don't mean to offend anybody by writing this; just being honest. I might add that Sinclair Lewis won the Nobel Prize.
     
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  2. James Hintze

    James Hintze Well-Known Member
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    I mentioned in a recent post that had re-read Sinclair Lewis' It Can't Happen Here. I won't go into too many details here; just a few: The book was published in 1935, and the story was set in 1936-37, as FDR lost the election. I tend to think that today people of both parties would find interesting things in today's politics that would make the story interesting. For this post it's important to mention that at the time the developments in both Italy and Germany were big issues. To be supported, or feared! Further Soviet Communism was discussed, not always negatively.

    Now for the shocking part of this screed: I just finished reading Manifest der Kommunistischen Partei (The Communist Manifesto) Before I continue, I mention that I AM NOT PUSHING COMMUNISM!!!! As with most of what I read these days, I download from 'Project Gutenberg.' The preface was very good in the German publication; I assume it would be as good in the English one. It would be worth reading by itself.

    Admittedly, the text is tedious. It's easy to see that the two authors spent considerable time looking around both in England as in Germany. My take is that rather than pushing, they are predicting that a communist future will just happen.

    I did a bit of research on what Marx and Engels would have thought of Soviet communism. What I found is that they would not have liked it at all. The main thing is that it was widely read in both Europe and the US.
     
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  3. Ken Anderson

    Ken Anderson Senior Staff
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    Mein Kampf sold pretty well in the US and Europe, too.
     
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  4. Marie Mallery

    Marie Mallery Very Well-Known Member
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    I read that book in 1984.
     
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  5. Lulu Moppet

    Lulu Moppet Veteran Member
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    I remember growing up and seeing It Can't Happen Here in my dad's bookcase. I asked him about it; he told me--or--did I not ask and he told me? Anyway, I think I finally read it about 60 years ago, maybe it's time for a re-read, after I finish my trashy novel of course! Thank you James. Sinclair Lewis was an important voice in American literature.
     
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  6. James Hintze

    James Hintze Well-Known Member
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    My mother subscribed to a "Book a Month" book company. I remember a book case at least 10 feet long and 4 levels high. The cover of all of the books was black. I remember she raved about another Sinclair Lewis: "Kingsblood Royal." The novel is about a business executive who discovered that there was a black man in his ancestry..
     
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    Last edited: May 12, 2022 at 11:49 AM
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  7. Lulu Moppet

    Lulu Moppet Veteran Member
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    Sinclair Lewis dealt with the issues society wanted buried, or at least not discussed. Thanks for reminding me of him @James Hintze
     
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  8. James Hintze

    James Hintze Well-Known Member
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  9. Marie Mallery

    Marie Mallery Very Well-Known Member
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    I never read his book so can't comment. Actually, I never heard of him till this thread.
     
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  10. James Hintze

    James Hintze Well-Known Member
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    Nobel Prise winner!
     
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  11. Lois Winters

    Lois Winters Veteran Member
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    My mother had an entire set of Sinclair Lewis books. Try as I might, I could not read this man. I finally was able to conquer William Faulkner though, and that was no mean feat.
     
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  12. Ken Anderson

    Ken Anderson Senior Staff
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    I liked Faulkner and Sinclair Lewis.
     
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