Newark is a small city in New Jersey, a sad, unwelcoming place with a sinister aura, with a meager skyline that stands in stark contrast to a vast expanse of crumbling buildings, streets, and neighborhoods. Yet Newark occupies a place in American history, whether we talk about the War of 1812, the Civil War, industrialization, mass immigration, the rioting and unrest that took place in the late 1960s, or the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001. It is also the setting for Philip Roth's fiction, including his three novels, sometimes called the American trilogy but more accurately can be called the Newark trilogy: American Pastoral (1997), I Married a Communist (1998), and The Human Stain (2000). Roth, who grew up in Newark, uses it as a vehicle for exploring American character in conjunction with American history. In the Newark trilogy, he re-creates the history of Newark on a grand scale and makes such history interchangeable with the city.
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