It Can’t Happen Here

Authored by Sinclair Lewis; A Book Review

Photo of Kelly R. Smith   by Kelly R. Smith
Rise of the fascist brown-shirts
Rise of the fascist Brown-Shirts
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Sinclair Lewis wrote the dystopian political novel It Can’t Happen Here in 1935. Fascism was experiencing its heyday in Europe exemplified by the likes of Adolph Hitler in Germany and Benito Mussolini in Italy. The book describes the rise of a US dictator similar to how Adolf Hitler gained power. Today the book is seen as a cautionary tale.



The story describes the rise of one Berzelius “Buzz” Windrip, a demagogue who is elected President of the United States, after injecting fear into the population and promising comprehensive economic and democratic socialist reforms while promoting a return to classic patriotism and “traditional” American values. Following his election, Windrip assumes complete control of the existing government and imposes totalitarian rule with the help of a ruthless paramilitary force similar to Hitler’s Brown Shirts. The basic plot centers on one journalist Doremus Jessup’s covert opposition to the strong-arm regime and subsequently, his struggle against it as part of a liberal rebellion.



The story isn’t simply a history of how a complacent population allows itself to be taken over and subjugated with empty promises by (all too familiar) politicians. It also illustrates, through the narrative of one average man, Jessup, how the human spirit, can not only resist, but endure.

How relevant is this story to current-day America? That is a matter of personal opinion for each of us to decide. The world we live in today includes so many more variables that Lewis’ contended with.

  • The Internet facilitates fake news.
  • Just before, and at an increasing rate since Biden took office, social media networking platforms have been censoring conservative viewpoints with impunity.
  • Biden/Harris have put packing the Supreme Court with liberal and Democrat Socialist justices on the table. The Constitution does not specify how many there can be. The current number has been accepted by both parties until now. The “gentleman’s agreement” is out the window.
  • The mainstream media has lost all credibility and has abandoned the principles of impartiality.

It Can’t Happen Here is not only entertaining; it’s well worth a read to examine how it is a mirror reflection of what we are going through at this point in history.

Additional Reading


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About the Author:

Photo of Kelly R. SmithKelly R. Smith is an Air Force veteran and was a commercial carpenter for 20 years before returning to night school at the University of Houston where he earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science. After working at NASA for a few years, he went on to develop software for the transportation, financial, and energy-trading industries. He has been writing, in one capacity or another, since he could hold a pencil. As a freelance writer now, he specializes in producing articles and blog content for a variety of clients. His personal blog is at I Can Fix Up My Home Blog where he muses on many different topics.

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