-The Great American Novel
In this work, Roth satirizes both America’s pastime and the fear of Communism that gripped the nation during the Cold War. Taking place during World War II, the novel follows a struggling team in the fictional Patriot League. The team, with its roster depleted due to players fighting in the war, is infiltrated by a Communist double agent who takes over as manager. The team is eventually brought before the House Un-American Activities Committee, resulting in the imprisonment of several players. Roth combines baseball, used to represent America as a whole, with literary myth to mock societal conditions like paranoia, racism, and nostalgia. Roth, one of the most highly regarded modern American novelists, uses the widely understood setting and language of baseball to frame his humorous and critical interpretation of American culture.
Philip Roth, 1933-2018
The Great American Novel
New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1973.