The Man in the High Castle suggests that the Axis forces won World War II. The United States is split into three, the western part, now the Pacific States of America is Japanese dominated, while the eastern section has become part of Greater Germany, as indeed has Great Britain and all of Europe. Only the central part of the USA retains some form of freedom and you might think that is ultimately a recipe for conflict between the two superpowers, and in that conclusion you would be correct.
The book is set in the early sixties and you might think it owes something to Robert Harris's Fatherland, until you notice that this book was in fact first released in 1962. Perhaps it was the other way round as far as that is concerned. Hitler is still alive, but locked away in an Asylum suffering from Alzheimer's disease, leaving the way clear for yet another power struggle, this time between the equally awful wannabes.
Some of the hellish results of this possible outcome to World War II act as a timely reminder of just why it was so important that this imagined result never came to pass. I came to this book through the 2001 re-release, and I am so glad I did.
Mister Dick lived a turbulent and all too brief life, passing away aged just fifty-three in 1982. He somehow managed to fit in five wives and write more than thirty-five novels, (only one of which sold well during his lifetime), despite bouts of serious depression and periods of drug dependency. He craved success, as so many writers do, and no doubt he would have gained great satisfaction from the consistent and heavy worldwide sales his books enjoy today.
If you like novels about World War II where the writer imagines different scenarios to those that actually took place, or indeed if you like "What ifs" in general about any historical event, then The Man in the High Castle will not disappoint you, or may be it will, but then again...
I thoroughly enjoyed it. If you have the opportunity, please do read it, and make up your own mind.
The Man in the High Castle
Philip K Dick
Here's some video from Amazon Series III.
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