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HBO announces new show from David Simon based on Philip Roth novel 'The Plot Against America'

HBO announces new show from David Simon based on Philip Roth novel 'The Plot Against America'
David Simon introduces speakers in the "Baltimore Rising" panel during the HBO Television Critics Association Summer Press Tour in July 2017 in Beverly Hills, Calif. Simon is co-producing and co-writing an adaptation of Philip Roth's 2004 novel "The Plot Against America." (Chris Pizzello / Invision / AP)
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What if a president of the United States were anti-Semitic?

That’s part of the premise in “The Plot Against America,” a 2004 novel by Philip Roth that explores what would have happened if Franklin Roosevelt had lost the 1940 election.

Roth’s book is being turned into a six-part HBO series co-produced and co-written by David Simon and Ed Burns, HBO announced Thursday on its website. Simon and Burns previously collaborated on the HBO television series “The Wire.”

The book details what happens when famed aviator — and Nazi sympathizer — Charles Lindbergh defeats Roosevelt for the presidency, then forms alliances with Germany and Japan. As anti-Semitism rises in the country, Jewish-Americans are relocated to rural areas to “enrich their Americanness” and Jewish teens are sent to live with gentile families.

Philip Roth, above, who died in May, wrote "The Plot Against America," a story that follows a working-class Jewish family as it watches the political rise of Charles Lindbergh, an aviator-hero and xenophobic populist, who becomes president and turns the nation towards fascism.
Philip Roth, above, who died in May, wrote "The Plot Against America," a story that follows a working-class Jewish family as it watches the political rise of Charles Lindbergh, an aviator-hero and xenophobic populist, who becomes president and turns the nation towards fascism. (Richard Drew / AP 2008)

Although one Baltimore Sun reviewer panned the book, calling it a “comprehensive failure” and a “grinding chore to read,” another reviewer said it was an “allegory of the coming of fascism to America in the early 21st century.”

Roth, who died in May, is listed as an executive producer on the project, along with Nina Noble, Megan Ellison, Sue Naegle, Susan Goldberg, Jeff Kirschenbaum and co-executive producer Dennis Stratton.

Reached for comment Friday, Simon said “that book in this moment — it speaks for itself, honestly.”

News of the HBO adaptation was reported first by Deadline Hollywood and Variety.

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