Thursday, July 4, 2013

Blogging Sax Rohmer’s President Fu Manchu, Part Three

Sax Rohmer’s "The Invisible President" was originally serialized in Collier’s from February 29 to May 16, 1936. It was published in book form later that year by Cassell in the UK and Doubleday in the US under the title "President Fu Manchu." The novel is the first in the series to fictionalize real events with characters based on familiar figures in the US in the 1930s such as Huey Long and Father Charles Coughlin. More than one critic has noted the story may have influenced the classic Cold War conspiracy thriller "The Manchurian Candidate." The presidential debate is the centerpiece of the book and is masterfully played out by Rohmer. Abbot Donegal turns up and is taken into protective custody by the FBI. Dr. Prescott attends the debate at Carnegie Hall and, thanks to his having been drugged by Fu Manchu earlier, makes a complete shambles of countering the progressive candidate, Harvey Bragg. The audience at Carnegie Hall and those listening around the country to the radio broadcast are shocked at how badly the conservative candidate loses the debate. As the triumphant Bragg tells the press afterwards that he will transform the United States and then the rest of the world, one of his union backers, Paul Salvaletti clicks off the names of the continents. As he says “Asia,” Herman Grosset’s brainwashed programming clicks into gear. He brandishes a pistol and shoots and kills Harvey Bragg on the spot. Bragg’s security guards turn their weapons on Grosset and shoot him dead seconds later. TO CONTINUE READING THIS ARTICLE, PLEASE VISIT THE BLACK GATE NEXT FRIDAY.

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