Philip Roth’s Self-Indulgent Paranoia Comes to the Small Screen

Ruth R. Wisse
pick
March 19 2020
About Ruth

Ruth R. Wisse is a Mosaic columnist, professor emerita of Yiddish and comparative literatures at Harvard and a distinguished senior fellow at the Tikvah Fund. Her memoir Free as a Jew: a Personal Memoir of National Self-Liberation, chapters of which appeared in Mosaic in somewhat different form, will be published in September.

Monday saw the premiere of a miniseries based on Philip Roth’s 2004 novel, The Plot against America. The novel presents an alternative version of U.S. history—and of the author’s own childhood—in which Charles Lindbergh defeats Roosevelt in the 1940 presidential election, allies with Hitler, and begins persecuting Jews. Ruth R. Wisse, reviewing the book in Commentary when it first appeared, wrote that “Roth’s lack of conviction about his own central plot device is palpable throughout.” Despite his statement that he wrote the book because he “wanted America’s Jews to feel the pressure of a genuine anti-Semitic threat,” Wisse found that the novel actually shied away from taking such a threat seriously—and was left wondering why Roth wrote the book at all:

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Read more at Commentary

More about: American Jewish literature, Anti-Semitism, Fascism, Holocaust, Philip Roth, Television

Fearing Abandonment by the U.S., the Saudis Look to Russia and China

Sept. 15 2021

Saudi Arabia has been in the news this week because of the recent release of a 2016 FBI report on the role of its subjects in the September 11 terrorist attacks. But there is other, more timely news from the country that the press has largely ignored: a military cooperation agreement concluded last month between Riyadh, a traditional U.S ally, and Moscow, a supporter of the anti-American Iran-Syria axis. Ilan Berman comments:

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Read more at Newsweek

More about: Abraham Accords, China, Russia, Saudi Arabia, U.S. Foreign policy