HBO's miniseries adaptation of The Plot Against America has arrived, and it teases a chilling alternate history that might have been. The upcoming project (out in March) was created by David Simon and Ed Burns, who previously collaborated on The Wire and Generation Kill.
Based on the acclaimed novel of the same name by the late Philip Roth, the show imagines what would have happened if famous pilot Charles Lindbergh had defeated FDR in the 1940 presidential election. Following through on his anti-war and pro-Nazi policies, Lindbergh keeps America out of the conflict in Europe and foments closer ties with Hitler's Germany.
As in the book, the story is told through the eyes of a small Jewish family from New Jersey. Their worst fears are realized as anti-Semitism begins to grow out of control—businesses are torched by the KKK and swastikas are graffitied onto headstones—with encouragement from the new and fascistic president (played by Ben Cole). Things get so bad that Herman (played by Morgan Spector) begins to wonder what will happen if Adolph decides to one day kill the Jews in the U.S.
Check out the trailer below:
The Plot Against America also stars Zoe Kazan, Winona Ryder, and John Turturro.
Turturro is portraying Rabbi Lionel Bengelsdorf, a deluded and influential member of the American Jewish community who truly believes in Lindbergh and his discriminatory policies. Thanks to Lionel's endorsement, the beloved aviator is able to clinch the election. Bengelsdorf's wife, Evelyn Finkel (Ryder), hails from the aforementioned New Jersey family.
“It’s about the savagery to label some people less American," David Simon said at the Television Critics Association press tour earlier this month. "The book goes through a very specific moment against Jews, which can be applied to everyone. Just step back and take the greater spirit.”
Published in 2004, Roth's novel went on to win the Sidewise Award, the most prestigious prize given out to the best stories and books written within the genre of alternate history.
The Plot Against America will begin to rewrite history when the first episode premieres on HBO Monday, March 16, at 9 p.m. EST.