Category Archives: Fiction

“The Plot Against America”

Philip Roth

In this alternate history Franklin D. Roosevelt loses the 1940 presidential election to Charles A. Lindbergh unleashing a wave of initially subtle but ultimately violent anti-Semitism. The story is told by a young Jewish boy growing up in Newark, NJ.

Roth does an excellent job of portraying both public and family events through the eyes of a child. The political story, as sinister as it is, never overwhelms the personal story of the narrator and the shattering effects history has on his family.

Roth’s skill makes this a far better book than the typical alternate history, though I thought it ended too suddenly.

“I, Claudius”

Robert Graves

In this historical novel Claudius, the man everyone dismissed because his physical infirmities were thought to reflect mental deficiency, tells the story of his life up to the time he became emperor. Claudius’ story is set against the later years of his great-grand-uncle Augustus’ reign and the reigns of his uncle Tiberius and his nephew Caligula. It’s a somewhat dry account of an interesting period.

“The Testament of Theophilus: A Novel of Christ and Caesar”

Leonard Wibberly

This is an excellent historical novel about the early years of Christianity. The story is narrated by Theophilus, the person for whom Luke wrote his gospel “Acts of the Apostles”. Theophilus is a wealthy man, a reluctant almost-Christian who resists the faith despite being pursued by Christ. It’s both a vivid novel and a thought-provoking meditation on faith.