It can't Happen Here 
I just finished reading It can't Happen Here by Sinclair Lewis; one of my favorite authors. The story was written in 1935 and describes what would happen if the US fell under control of a dictator, complete with storm troopers, concentration camps, book burnings, government seizure of the press, and a mesmerizing candidate running for and being elected to office. He's a Democrat who unseats FDR as the candidate in 1936 who is called "the Chief" by his supporters and by the people once he takes office.

I think the story spirals too far in too short a time. The setting is only about a three-year span. The rights of the people are almost immediately stripped after the Chief takes office. Interestingly enough, before the election, he releases a "Mein Kampf-like" edict of 15 points telling everyone what he would do if elected. Perhaps the aura of the Depression made this kind of state seem not only probable but likely to happen nearly overnight if all the wrong conditions were in place. However, take away the short timeline and look at the events and you can see how something like this can happen. People are unhappy because they think they are poor. A politician promises them a guaranteed income per year while capping the wealthy at 100x that and total wealth that only 6x the latter (Points 5 and 11 from the edict referenced above). It's the basic "your life stinks, it's not your fault, and I will fix all injustices" line. Shad Ledue got what he wished for.

I like Lewis' books and I enjoyed the slightly morose satire of this novel. Overall, it still doesn't top Arrowsmith as my favorite Lewis novel, but like any other Lewis novel I've read, I would recommend it.


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