It Can’t Happen Here by Sinclair Lewis made a sudden and dramatic climb on bestseller lists in late fall 2016. Parts of the novel bear some uncanny similarities to the 2016 election –– Donald Trump in particular can be seen vividly in character of Buzz Windrip, demagogue and presidential candidate. Published in 1935 during the rise of fascism in Europe, Lewis’ novel imagines how the United States of America might become seduced by a man promising great things while quickly transitioning the country into a fascist dictatorship.
Though not without its flaws, the book is well worth a read –– especially in light of current events offering it more weight than it had at its initial publication. Many of the parallels are striking.
This episode is part of our Dystopian Novel Series.
Show Notes & Links
- It Can’t Happen Here
- Sinclair Lewis
- Fascism: /ˈfæʃɪzəm/ is a form of radical authoritarian nationalism that came to prominence in early 20th-century Europe. The first fascist movements emerged in Italy during World War I, before spreading to other European countries. Opposed to liberalism, Marxism and anarchism, fascism is usually placed on the far-right within the traditional left–right spectrum.
- 1984 by George Orwell
- Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
- Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood (Check out our podcast episode)
- Red Dawn (1984 film) – John Milius
- War with Russia: An Urgent Warning from Senior Military Command by Richard Shirreff
- Nazi Party Marching in Madison Square Garden
- Dystopian Novel Series Part I – We by Yevgeny Zamyatin | Episode 034
- Dystopian Novel Series Part II – Paris in the Twentieth Century by Jules Verne | Episode 035