Saturday, February 10, 2018

Past, present and future

A trio of books that outline the past, present and possible future. Two fiction, one non-fiction. Perhaps, in the future, all will be considered non-fiction with the exception that the dates were incorrect in two of the books.

1. The Plot Against America (2004 book) by Philip Roth

It imagines an alternate history when FDR loses to Charles Lindbergh in the 1940 elections. Lindbergh is a good friend of Hitler and decides to keep America out of WWII, letting Germany and Japan take over the world. Right-wing and fascist sentiments increase in America because the president helps spread hatred in the county. There is even one incident which shows how American Nazis work with KKK to carry out an assassination.

Over the last decade, I picked this book up several times but never read it. I wish I had read it a decade ago because it is a completely different experience reading it now. Many aspects are chilling and accurate given what has happened in the last year.

2. American War (2017) by Omar El Akkad

Set decades into the future, where an American civil war between 2074-2095 separates the country. The southern states which insist on using old fashioned fossil fuels break off from the rest of the nation causing many Americans to live in refugees camps between newly formed borders between states.

The book leans heavily on the melodramatic side with images conjured out of post-apocalyptic worlds shown in "The Walking Dead" and other works such Cormac McCarthy's "The Road. Still, since Omar is a journalist by trade, there are some astute observances that are going to be viewed in a new light given recent events. The division he talks about is already there without the physical border separation.

3. The Age of Anger (2017) by Pankaj Mishra

Incredible in scope, Mishra outlines how recent right-wing ideas have roots that go back centuries. He focuses more on ancient European society but also looks Asia and America.