Historical Fiction

Books like It Can't Happen Here

It Can't Happen Here

2005, Sinclair Lewis


It Can't Happen Here is a 1935 dystopian political novel by American author Sinclair Lewis. It describes the rise of a US dictator similar to how Adolf Hitler gained power. The novel was adapted into a play by Lewis and John C. Moffitt in 1936.

The novel was published during the heyday of fascism in Europe, which was reported on by Dorothy Thompson, Lewis's wife. The novel describes the rise of Berzelius "Buzz" Windrip, a demagogue who is elected President of the United States, 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 via self-coup and imposes totalitarian rule with the help of a ruthless paramilitary force, in the manner of European fascists such as Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini. 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.

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