"WE MUST BE PREPARED TO DEFEND OUR SHORES AGAINST ALL THE ALIEN GANGS OF INTERNATIONAL RACKETEERS THAT CALL THEMSELVES 'GOVERNMENTS'": FIRST EDITION OF IT CAN'T HAPPEN HERE, INSCRIBED BY SINCLAIR LEWIS
LEWIS, Sinclair. It Can't Happen Here. Garden City, New York: Doubleday, Doran, 1935. Octavo, original black cloth, original dust jacket. $3500.
First edition of Lewis' fascinating cautionary tale about the risks of American populism—"a frightening book written for frightening times"—inscribed on the half title by him, "Sincerely Sinclair Lewis."
"It Can't Happen Here, which came out in 1935, was a frightening book written for frightening times. Sinclair Lewis published the novel as Adolf Hitler was making Germany great again, violating the Treaty of Versailles by establishing the Wehrmacht. Benito Mussolini invaded Ethiopia. Things at home weren't much better: a race riot in Harlem, dust storms in the Midwest…. The people wanted 'safety and conservatism again.' Some perverted version of that impulse is fulfilled in It Can't Happen Here, which imagines the improbable election of an authoritarian named Buzz Windrip over Roosevelt to the Presidency of the United States. Once in the White House, Windrip institutes a backcountry version of the fascism then creeping over Europe" (New Yorker). "It Can't Happen Here is a work of dystopian fantasy, one man's effort in the 1930s to imagine what it might look like if fascism came to America… It Can't Happen Here offers an alluring (if terrifying) certainty: It can happen here, and what comes next will be even ghastlier than you expect" (Washington Post). "First edition" stated on copyright page. Bruccoli & Clark, 218.
Book near-fine with trace of mild foxing with slight soiling to rear board; very good dust jacket with wear to spine head minimally affecting title, small chips to upper edge, tiny bit of tape reinforcement to verso.