#23: Our Gang, by Philip Roth

Begun: 3/25/11
Finished: 3/27/11
Format: Hardcover (library)
Rating: 5/5

I didn’t know what to expect from this book.  I knew it was Roth’s diatribe against Nixon, I knew it was satirical, I knew it was political.  What I didn’t know was that it would turn out to be one of the most enjoyable of all my reads so far as part of The Roth Project.  I didn’t know what a shift in tone it would be, how hilariously on-the-nose it would be, how intentionally ridiculous and how sharply written.

Roth concocts a scenario of a President, Tricky E. Dixon, who comes out in favor of the rights of the unborn, taking it to extremes when he proposes allowing the unborn to vote.  Then he takes it into a top-secret meeting between Dixon and his top advisors when a group of Boy Scouts protests outside the White House, and further into Dixon’s assassination and eventual campaign to be the new Devil down in Hell.  If all this sounds absurd and over-the-top, it definitely is.  It is also a treatise on the sneaky seduction of political spin and doublespeak.  It is all too easy to see how semantic arguments used here in absurdity are used in reality in more subtle circumstances.  I spent the whole read (it is a short book and a fast read) grinning and shaking my head at the sheer audacity of the political commentary.  I’m not normally much for political books, but I thoroughly enjoyed this one.


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