The Plot Against America is HBO’s upcoming six-part miniseries from The Wire’s David Simon and Ed Burns, and is based on the late Philip Roth’s 2004 novel of the same name.
It’s an alternate-history tale in which the isolationist Charles Lindbergh defeats Franklin D. Roosevelt in the 1940 US presidential elections, and immediately signs non-intervention treaties with both Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan promising that the US will not become involved in their expansion in Europe and Asia. The story is told through the eyes of a Jewish family living in New Jersey, and how they experience the rising tide of antisemitism in the US in the years leading up to, and following, Lindbergh’s election (who he blamed for attempting to push the US into war), and the country’s slow decent into fascism.
In case you were wondering, yes, that’s the self-same Charles Lindbergh who famously completed the first solo transatlantic flight in his plane the Spirit of St. Louis in 1927. He was also, along with many Americans at the time, vigorously opposed to the US becoming involved in WWII in any way and was a spokesperson of the isolationist America First Committee, which was founded in 1940 and lobbied against American involvement in the war. That didn’t last long though, thanks to Japan bombing Pearl Harbour in 1941 and swiftly ending the debate that WWII was no concern of the US.
The series stars Winona Ryder, John Turturro, Morgan Spector, Zoe Kazan, Anthony Boyle, Azhy Robertson, and Caleb Malis.
The official plot synopsis is as follows:
The Plot Against America imagines an alternate American history told through the eyes of a working-class Jewish family in New Jersey. The story follows the family as they watch the political rise of Charles Lindbergh, an aviator-hero and xenophobic populist, who becomes president and turns the nation towards fascism.
You know, you could just tweak a few words and suddenly it’s a lot less alt-history. Let’s take a look:
This looks like a superbly crafted miniseries, and the parallels between it and what we see playing out across the world today are depressingly clear.
What do you think?
The Plot Against America will premiere on HBO on 16 March.
Last Updated: January 31, 2020