America America by Ethan Canin - review by John Dugdale

John Dugdale

Primary Colours

America America


Bloomsbury 458pp £17.99 order from our bookshop

In The Plot Against America, Philip Roth imagined a far-right Republican candidate triumphing in a presidential election in the 1940s. Perhaps inspired by the success of this exercise in counterfactual historical fiction, Ethan Canin puts at the centre of his fourth novel a failed presidential bid by a fictional Democratic candidate in the 1970s.

America America takes the Democratic primary race of 1972 and adds to the list of contenders (Ed Muskie, George McGovern, etc) Henry Bonwiller, a New York senator who is opposed to the Vietnam War and is described as ‘the last champion of liberalism’. The real outcome aside, we know from

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