It Can't Happen Here is a semi-satirical 1935 political novel by American author Sinclair Lewis, and a 1936 play adapted from the novel by Lewis and John C. Moffitt. Published during the rise of fascism in Europe, the novel describes the rise of Berzelius "Buzz" Windrip, a Democrat and United States Senator who is elected to the presidency after fomenting fear and promising drastic economic and social reforms while promoting a return to patriotism and "traditional" values. After his election, Windrip takes complete control of the government and imposes a plutocratic/totalitarian rule with the help of a ruthless paramilitary force, in the manner of Adolf Hitler and the SS. The novel's plot centers on journalist Doremus Jessup's opposition to the new regime and his subsequent struggle against it as part of a liberal rebellion. (Wikipedia)
Join us in reading and discussing Lewis' prescient 1935 satirical novel--in its own right, in the context of its time, and in light of the election of Donald Trump to be President of the United States.
Whether you read the book in print form or on this site, we recommend that, as you complete each chapter, you join the discussion on that chapter by clicking on the appropriate chapter link below.
To read and reply to comments made by others OR to enter your own comments, scroll to the bottom of each chapter's text.
In order to facilitate a fruitful discussion of the book, its connections to history, and its possible implications for the present day, please observe the following Guidelines for Posting Comments:
- In these contentious times, civil communication is needed more than ever, so please make every effort to keep the discussion civil, avoiding name calling and other ad hominem arguments at all times.
- When writing your own comments and/or replying to others' comments, please try to be clear whether you are offering an opinion, proposing a hypothesis, or stating presumed facts.
- Support your arguments--whether they are opinions, hypotheses, or presumed facts--by making specific references to the text, which you can copy and paste into your comment.
- If, after reading the entire book, you wish to make an overall statement about the work, its author, or historical and/or present day events, please submit these for curating to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Chapter 1 Chapter 2 Chapter 3 Chapter 4 Chapter 5 Chapter 6 Chapter 7 Chapter 8 Chapter 9 Chapter 10 Chapter 11 Chapter 12 Chapter 13 Chapter 14 Chapter 15 Chapter 16 Chapter 17 Chapter 18 Chapter 19 Chapter 20 Chapter 21 Chapter 22 Chapter 23 Chapter 24 Chapter 25
Chapter 26 Chapter 27 Chapter 28 Chapter 29 Chapter 30 Chapter 31 Chapter 32 Chapter 33
Chapter 34 Chapter 35 Chapter 36 Chapter 37 Chapter 38
Afterward: Overall discussion of the book and the issues it raises