Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Five top presidential thrillers

Stephen L. Carter is the William Nelson Cromwell Professor of Law at Yale University, where he has taught since 1982. He is the author of eight books of nonfiction, writes a column for Bloomberg View, and is a frequent contributor to The Daily Beast and Newsweek.

The Impeachment of Abraham Lincoln, his new alternative-history novel, is now out from Knopf.

One of Carter's five favorite presidential thrillers, as told to The Daily Beast:
The Plot Against America (2004)
by Philip Roth

In the years leading up to the Second World War, it is not the pro-British Franklin Roosevelt but the pro-Nazi Charles Lindbergh, elected on a peace platform, who occupies the White House. As Hitler rises, President Lindbergh insists that he will not allow “the Jews” to goad him into war, and praises the German leader as a bulwark against Bolshevism. At the same time, anti-Semitic policies are slowly and subtly introduced in the United States. Although the action is plentiful—there are sinister federal agents, mysterious disappearances, anti-Jewish riots—the most poignant part of the story involves the Roth family itself, as the author imagines how debates over the best way to survive in this alternative America might have torn the Jewish community apart. One of Roth’s very best.
Read about the other entries on the list.

The Plot Against America appears on David Daw's list of five American presidents in alternate history.

--Marshal Zeringue