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Ed Driscoll

It Can’t Happen Here

August 29th, 2009 - 5:56 pm

In the Wall Street Journal, Joseph Finder lists his five favorite political conspiracy books. Number one is Sinclair Lewis’ It Can’t Happen Here:

A charismatic Democratic senator who speaks in “noble but slippery ­abstractions” is elected president, in a groundswell of cultish adoration, by a nation on the brink of economic ­disaster. Promising to restore ­America’s greatness, he promptly ­announces a government seizure of the big banks and insurance ­companies. He strong-arms the ­Congress into amending the Constitution to give him unlimited emergency powers. He throws his ­enemies into concentration camps. With scarcely any resistance, the country has ­become a fascist dictatorship. No black helicopters here, though. Sinclair Lewis’s dystopian ­political satire, now largely forgotten except for its ironic title, was a ­mammoth best seller in 1935, during the depths of the ­Depression and the rise of fascism in Europe. His president, Berzelius (“Buzz”) Windrip, is a ruthless phony with the “earthy sense of humor of a Mark Twain”; one of the few who dare oppose him openly is a rural ­newspaper editor who is forced to go on the run.

A Democratic president and his staffers openly attacking media figures who don’t support his agenda? Surely that can’t happen here…

(H/T: IP)

Update: The text of It Can’t Happen Here is available online, as part of Project Gutenberg.

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