I hadn’t intended to read it, but whilst away on holiday last year I’d finished my other book and was looking for something. This was sat on the shelves at Sj’s folks and I’d never read any Roth but had always meant to. I blazed through it in about a day, but it’s only been the last few days that it’s struck home. I’ll let The Guardian’s review from 2004 set the scene;
“Just suppose…that the air hero Charles Lindbergh, the man who made the first solo transatlantic flight in 1927, who earned huge sympathy when his baby son was kidnapped and murdered five years later, who called Hitler “a great man” and was decorated by order of the Führer for his services to the Reich, just suppose that he’d taken up Republican invitations to run for president in November 1940, and milked the isolationist sentiment that undoubtedly existed then (No more war! Never again will young Americans die on foreign soil!), and that instead of Roosevelt being elected for an unprecedented third term and taking America into Europe to fight the Nazis, Lindbergh won a landslide victory. And then he signed non-aggression treaties with Germany and Japan, and set about realising his vision of America as a land of the brave and blond, and introduced a set of anti-semitic measures which, if not on the scale of Hitler’s pogroms, were a betrayal of the rights and liberties enshrined in the constitution and yet, such was the young president’s charisma, they were accepted by the mass of ordinary citizens and even by some prominent Jews.”
Blake Morrison – The Guardian, 2nd October 2004
I’m probably going to pick this up again and give it a run though – but yeah, I read this back well Il Douche was just a possible joke rather than a reality.