Fascism, the National Book Awards, and the American way

06 09 fordlandia ggIn honor of the National Book Award finalist being announced, I was telling my boyfriend about the NBA non-fiction finalist, Fordlandia: The Rise and Fall of Henry Ford’s Forgotten City by Greg Grandin.  He interned at General Motors the past two summers, and is an avid car enthusiast, and so I knew he would enjoy the story of Henry Ford’s failed rubber factory/ideal American society in the middle of the Amazon.

That got us talking about Ford’s infamous political sympathies.  It’s well-known Ford was a Nazi sympathizer, as was another giant figure in 20th century American history: Charles Lindburgh.  That reminded me of the excellent Phillip Roth novel, The Plot Against America, in which Charles Lindburgh, spurred on by the popularity of his abducted child, is persuaded to run for president.  When he wins, his anti-Semitism overtakes the White House and the country.  It’s a fascinating story, and you can’t go wrong with Roth.  Even though I haven’t read Fordlandia yet, I highly reccomend both books.

And speaking of the National Book Award, here are the 2009 finalists:

Fiction:
American Salvage by Bonnie Jo Campbell
Let the Great World Spin by Colum McCann
In Other Rooms, Other Wonders by Daniyal Mueenuddin
Lark and Termite by Jayne Anne Phillips
Far North by Marcel Theroux

Non-Fiction:
Following the Water: A Hydromancer’s Notebook by David M. Carroll
Remarkable Creatures: Epic Adventures in the Search for the Origins of Species by Sean B. Carroll
Fordlandia: The Rise and Fall of Henry Ford’s Forgotten Jungle City by Greg Grandin
The Poison King:  The Life and Legend of Mithradates, Rome’s Deadliest Enemy by Adrienne Mayor
The First Tycoon: The Epic Life of Cornelius Vanderbuilt by T.J. Stiles

Poetry:
Versed by Rae Armantrout
Or to Begin Again by Ann Lauterbach
Speak Low by Carl Phillips
Open Interval by Lyrae Van Clief-Stefanon
Transcendental Studies: A Trilogy by Keith Waldrop

Young Adult:
Charles and Emma: The Darwins’ Leap of Faith by Deborah Heiligman
Claudette Colvin: Twice Toward Justice by Phillip Hoose
Stitches by David Small
Lips Touch: Three Times by Laini Taylor
Jumped by Rita Williams-Garcia


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