Charles Lindbergh's life is a strange one in American history. No one received the adulation he did in 1927 for his airplane flight across the seas. No one paid a bigger price for fame in subsequent public humiliations, again and again-- first the wrenching kidnapping and death of his son (as big a story in its day as the O.J. trial), then the treatment given him for speaking his mind about war, the onslaught of public abuse denouncing the well-meaning American as a traitor, Roosevelt refusing him the chance during the war to clear his name, until sympathetic friends allowed this greatest American flyer to quietly play a role and help his country.
Lindbergh may well have been a bigot, like the bulk of the American population at the time. (Even Eleanor Roosevelt is on the record having made anti-Semitic remarks-- which is not a true or full barometer of her personality.) What I found ironic about the Roth novel is that Lindbergh was actually on the receiving end of fascist behavior.
Unlike Franklin Roosevelt, Lindbergh's personality was transparent-- a naif with the virtues and prejudices of the middle America he typified. At heart a good person-- as Berg's biography makes clear-- seeking to do the right thing and suffering the consequences of his actions and statements. He was never less than always brave. Being leery of war is never a bad thing. The first world war had caused unbelievable carnage (nations counting their casualties not in the thousands, but the millions). Sober people wished to avoid a repeat. Lindbergh surely was incapable of envisioning the full extent of Hitler's evil. But he also made the case that Nazi Germany and Soviet Russia would fight to a stalemate, or destroy each other.
Philip Roth addresses no complexities, no political realities-- for instance, that crafty FDR could've shredded Lindbergh without half trying. This is exactly what FDR did. Unless he's writing a fable with deeper meaning (he's not), such childlike and wrong simplicity from a novelist of Roth's reputation is inexcusable. A writer at the end of his string.