What The Plot Against America Gets Wrong

Morgan Spector as Herman Levin in The Plot Against America. (Michele K. Short/HBO)
The new series by David Simon and Ed Burns is beautifully shot and acted, but its message of looming totalitarianism exposes the showrunners as blinkered ideologues.

NRPLUS MEMBER ARTICLE M ore than 15 years have passed since the late Philip Roth published his dystopian semi-autobiographical novel, The Plot Against America. Only now has Roth’s powerful speculative fiction of 1940s America under a Nazi-sympathetic Charles Lindbergh administration been adapted for the screen, in a recent HBO miniseries. The adaptation is at once overdue and unfortunate. The story’s imagery — of swastikas adorning flags at American state dinners, of FBI agents harassing children on the artfully reconstructed streets of working-class Newark — is among its most potent tools for evocative storytelling, and the book should have been adapted years ago. But, perhaps


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