New Book: It Can't Happen Here by Sinclair Lewis


The Next Book is: It Can’t Happen Here
The Author is: Sinclair Lewis
Here is a link to a review/synopsis:’t_Happen_Here
The meeting date/time will be: November 5th, 6:00 PM
The meeting location will be: Stan and Laura’s

The text of the book if available for free via Project Gutenberg at

From the wikipedia summary

In 1936 Senator Berzelius “Buzz” Windrip, a charismatic and power-hungry politician, wins the election as President of the United States on a populist platform, promising to restore the country to prosperity and greatness, and promising each citizen $5,000 a year. Portraying himself as a champion of traditional American values, Windrip easily defeats his opponents, Senator Walt Trowbridge and President Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Though having previously foreshadowed some authoritarian measures in order to reorganize the United States government, Windrip rapidly outlaws dissent, incarcerates political enemies in concentration camps, and trains and arms a paramilitary force called the Minute Men, who terrorize citizens and enforce the policies of Windrip and his “corporatist” regime. One of his first acts as president is to eliminate the influence of the United States Congress, which draws the ire of many citizens as well as the legislators themselves. The Minute Men respond to protests against Windrip’s decisions harshly, attacking demonstrators with bayonets. In addition to these actions, Windrip’s administration, known as the “Corpo” government, curtails women’s and minority rights, and eliminates individual states by subdividing the country into administrative sectors. The government of these sectors is managed by “Corpo” authorities, usually prominent businessmen or Minute Men officers. Those accused of crimes against the government appear before kangaroo courts presided over by “military judges”. Despite these dictatorial (and “quasi-draconian”) measures, a majority of Americans approve of them, seeing them as necessary but painful steps to restore American power. Others, those less enthusiastic about the prospect of corporatism, reassure themselves that fascism cannot “happen here”, hence the novel’s title.


It seemed appropriate to read a book about a populist fascist being elected as US President, and we’ll be meeting three days before the election.


I found versions of the book online for free in various formats. You should be able to download from the links below.

Mobi format (the format that Kindle uses)
PDF format

Let me know if you they don’t work for you.

If you want to transfer the mobi file to a kindle, probably the easiest way is to use the email option. Your kindle account has a special email. If you attach a mobi file to an email to that address, it will load into your kindle. Here are some instructions on finding your kindle’s address.


Here’s an article from the New Yorker about a new stage adaptation of the novel:


I’m not surprised this has been done. One of the problems with a book like this is that modern readers (well… me anyway) lack historical context. A modern version of this book might have a talk radio host character; his name might be Thrush Rimbaugh or something like that. The point being that we would all know who the author was talking about based on our knowledge of contemporary times and that fills in a lot of background that informs the themes of the book.

A similar thing happens in Neal Stephenson’s Seveneves. That book has a Neil DeGrasse Tyson character. In my mind’s eye he was NdGT in fact. In 100 years, people probably won’t pick up on that unless they are familiar with US history. So some of the effectiveness of the book might be lost.


@bookclub, Note that our next meeting will be this Saturday, November 5th at Stan and Laura’s house which is here. We’ll start at around 6 pm.


I would imagine both the book and the play show up as a ‘great book’ every four years. You read it today and wow. Read it 3 yrs ago and the books faults are apparent. More about the time than the book itself. Fwiw, this book was a palate cleanser in many a polysci reading list at the univ of chic. Guarantee that David brooks read this 35 years ago. :wink:


Problem is that Windrip has more coherent policy positions than Trump. :smile_cat:

Truth is dumber than fiction.


Huh, I guess it can happen here. :cry:

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