The Man in the High Castle

The Man in the High Castle

by Philip K. Dick


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Winner of the Hugo Award

“The single most resonant and carefully imagined book of Dick’s career.” —New York Times
It’s America in 1962. Slavery is legal once again. The few Jews who still survive hide under assumed names. In San Francisco, the I Ching is as common as the Yellow Pages. All because some twenty years earlier the United States lost a war—and is now occupied by Nazi Germany and Japan.
This harrowing, Hugo Award–winning novel is the work that established Philip K. Dick as an innovator in science fiction while breaking the barrier between science fiction and the serious novel of ideas. In it Dick offers a haunting vision of history as a nightmare from which it may just be possible to wake.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780547572482
Publisher: HMH Books
Publication date: 01/24/2012
Pages: 288
Sales rank: 12,148
Product dimensions: 5.30(w) x 7.90(h) x 0.80(d)

About the Author

Over a writing career that spanned three decades, PHILIP K. DICK (1928–1982) published 36 science-fiction novels and 121 short stories in which he explored the essence of what makes us human and the dangers of centralized power. Toward the end of his life, his work turned to deeply personal, metaphysical questions concerning the nature of God. Eleven novels and short stories have been adapted to film, notably, Blade Runner (based on Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?), Total Recall, Minority Report, and A Scanner Darkly. The recipient of critical acclaim and numerous awards throughout his career, Dick was inducted into the Science Fiction Hall of Fame in 2005, and in 2007 the Library of America published a selection of his novels in three volumes. His work has been translated into twenty-five languages.

Customer Reviews

The Man in the High Castle 3.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 145 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I don't like alternate history stories, dating back, I think, to when I was a kid and I read those stupid 'What If...' issues published by Marvel Comics. (You know, 'What If Peter Parker hadn't been bitten by the radioactive spider...,''What If Daredevil wasn't blind...,''What If Wolverine shaved his sideburns...,' etc.) The Man in the High Castle, however, was excellent, setting the bar for the genre. The premise is intriguing: suppose an assassination attempt had claimed the life of FDR during his first term as president. As a result, America never fully recovered from the Great Depression, and was unable to arm herself sufficiently to turn the tide of WWII. As a result, the Axis powers were victorious, and occupied a divided United States after the war. Dick ties together his diverse cast of characters with a common fascination with 'The Grasshopper Lies Heavy,' an alternative history book that suggests the Allies would have won the war had FDR lived. Dick's central theme through most of his work has always been the nature of reality and perception, and this book is no exception. This is not a book to skim through for the major plot points -- the plot is actually the least compelling reason to read it. Savor the meditative and philosophical prose instead, and enjoy one of the genre's finest authors in his prime.
tickleishpickle More than 1 year ago
There are books out there that don't just challenge the reader, there are books that change the reader. The man in the high castle, by philip k dick is one of those books. This book, like all of dick's writing, is revolutionary. It is challenging. It is completely and utterly bizzare. It is unique, difficult, simple, readable, entertaining, schizophrenic and so much more than any set of adjectives can covey. This book is not about the plot. It's about what the plot means. The plot, like all of dick's novels, is cohesive and interesting and detailed. It is fully realized and detailed; it is completely authentic. In this world, the axis wins WW 2. The world that results is a world where Japan and Germany have divided the world in two, with the United States serving the role of Germany after our version of WW2. Japan dominates the west coast while Germany lords over the east. Apparently the heartland of America had nothing to offer to either side. Jokes aside (especially bad jokes), this novel is an utterly amazing and philosophical exploration of the impact of morality on each and every choice. It uses the chaos of the plot to accentuate the moral decisions made by each character. In fact the chaos of the world this novel takes place in works as a sort of synecdoche for each person and each person's choices. The whole world is difficult, and each event impacts a web of other events. The world and it's events mirror each individual person, they stand in the place of each individual person. The plot unfolds through the narration of five people, ranging in importance from a low level worker to an important German politician. Each person makes choices, and each choice has a moral consequence. read the full review at
theactuallisakim More than 1 year ago
I'm pretty shocked by some of the negative reviews here. The word that controls most of these reviews is 'boring,' which is odd. I suppose for a generation unable to watch a film that doesn't have an explosion of some sort within the first minute of the movie, a book like this might seem boring (then again, maybe we should be happy that Generation No Attention Span even bothered to pick up a book in the first place!) This is one of the books PKD is best known for. With good reason. For those of you who didn't "get" what PKD's point was, he is simply asking you to question everything you are told about who the winners and losers in a war are. I think the end of this book is one of the most chilling, disturbing conclusions I have ever read. Literally gave me goosebumps. Then again, I can focus on something for more than three minutes at a time, so maybe, in this day and age, I'm some sort of freak!
Tunguz More than 1 year ago
Philip K. Dick is a master of unconventional sci-fi and fantasy genre, and those qualities are clearly exhibited in this work. It is set in 1960s America in a world in which Germany and Japan have won the World War II. US and the rest of the world are divided between those two superpowers, and we follow lives of several ordinary Americans who try to adjust themselves to this reality. The characters in the novel are fully developed in a manner that we've come to expect from Dick's later novels. Their personal struggles are intertwined with the new geopolitical power plays. The title of the novel refers to the sobriquet for Hawthorne Abendsen, a fictional writer of the book "The Grasshopper Lies Heavy" which forms a story-within-a-story and a sort of MacGuffin for this novel. This fictional book will also be at the center of the denouement of this novel, and may provide the clue for what this novel was all about. The Man in the High Castle is another brilliant and thought provoking novel. It is an engrossing and fun read as well, and a true classic of science fiction.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Truth to tell, I read this after watching the TV series in the hopes of clearing up some questions. Turns out the book and the series are quite different. Same characters, same locations (mostly, anyway), same basic themes. But different plot lines and character types. Book was great. That much is certain. Series based on the book, just OK.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great book! Not too many books actually make you think anymore. This is classic Dick, a throughly original and deeply philosophical novel that makes you question what or whodetermines fate. I feel more enlightened having read this.
MyklSkeleton More than 1 year ago
I really like Philip K Dick but for some reason I had never read this one. I finally picked it up and am glad I did. It's a memorable story with some crazy characters but it's more grounded than some of his other work. I liked the incorporation of the I, Ching and Asian culture in general. My main problem with it was there didn't seem to much of a plot for quite some time. But I can deal with that and go along for the ride. The other thing that some people might not like is that it ends right before things wrap-up. This is typical of Dick and I've come to accept that but it makes your really wish there was a sequel. Overall though, a great book.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The first time I read this book I didn't really think it was that great. I liked it but I was a little bit confused by it, and I didn't think it measured up to other works by Dick like Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? However, I recently re-read it after recieving it as a birthday present, and I must say that it makes much more sense the second time through. I noticed glimpses of Dick's genius that had slipped by me before and finally understood everything that was going on. Not only is the premise extremely interesting, but I also like how it doesn't just get bogged down in the geo-political implications of an Axis victory, but deals more with actual people who live in this strange and different world. At times shocking at others just silly it is a great read that doesn't really require too much thinking, but rather provokes thought on the part of the reader.
Guest More than 1 year ago
In 1938 (or there about, there was an attempt to kill FDR during his run for re-election), what if he *had* been killed? Only Philip K. Dick (who won the Hugo Award for SF that year for this novel) could answer this question in so intriguing a way. (A short film called 'The High Castle' was made based on it). Enjoy!
Countmonster More than 1 year ago
I picked this nook book up because I just watched the Amazon pilot based on the book. It's just as fantastic as I remember it to be, the pilot was pretty good too. PKD has a beautiful zen paranoia in his writing. Pretty much everything by him deals with trust, or lack of. No one knows what anyone else is ever thinking, and they are always trying to assume it is something negative. Neurosis abounds in PKD novels and it's beautiful and wrenching all at once. TMITHC is no different than his other works in that regard. But this book has always been kind of special to me because it's an incredible, open ended alternate history book. Don't get hung up if you're only used to his futuristic dystopian sci-fi, this is just as good, if not better than a lot of his other stories.
Anonymous 12 months ago
Wandering and then just stopped. Felt like good storyline was never developed to potential
labrick on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The United States consists of the midwest. The Japanese control the west coast and the Germans control the east. Germany is the technological powerhouse that controls the world; it's only attribute that could be considered mitigating in their global oppression. Their aspirations for racial purity have been expanded and devolved into a state of controlled barbarism (Elie Wiesel may be a better place to look for the tone of suffering that's underlying the more pervasive implementation of ethnic cleaning occasionally mentioned in this book) *POSSIBLE SPOILERS*Two Americans who live in San Francisco, and are treated as second class citizens, go into business creating custom made contemporary jewelry; a product that is initially scoffed at by the Japanese elite in favor of vintage Americana. Prohibitively expensive items like an original Mickey Mouse watch, "Horrors of War" trading cards, milk bottle caps or an American Civil War revolver are treated as high art.A mid-level Japanese Government bureaucratic finds himself inadvertently hosting a clandestine meeting between a Japanese General sent from "The Homeland" and a Swedish subversive whose somewhat enigmatic persona allows him to travel throughout the controlled areas of the Axis powers.An attractive woman in Colorado finds herself attached to a surly, brooding, handsome Italian man after they spend the night together and decide to take a trip up to Cheyenne, home town of "The Man in the High Castle"--whose book about an alternate history where the Axis powers lost the war inspired the couple to meet him . Along the way the Italian man's appearance and demeanor incrementally changes. Originally a sullen, dark haired, nervous Italian patriot, he becomes a blonde haired, angular, cold, blunt German man.The Plot is full of symbolism, usually in the context of characters representing aspects of a country or culture in part or whole. The idea of an underlying ever-present Jewish contingent, active and unseen, is pervasive throughout the book. This can be illustrated with a joke that is told by Herr Hope (aka Bob Hope): When the Nazi's make it to Mars and ask the Martians for their papers, so as to prove their Aryan blood, they said, "But we don't have any papers". To which the Nazi replied,"There's even Jews on Mars.". Another theme along the lines of Jewish bigotry is that it's stated that Jews don't create, they imitate...expertly. Although a Jewish work may be of masterwork quality, it is still a copy of another's work. This sentiment is expressed by multiple characters, although the actions on the part of the Jewish characters seems to indicate the opposite--or at least more in line with "original creation". This is particularly true of one of the American jewelers, who is also Jewish.Originally I was going to give this book two stars because of the brevity of the individual story lines--they seemed too short to pack much weight--but after thinking about the subtleties of the plot progression, the interweaving of symbolism, the changing roles of different characters, and the meta nature of the book within the book, I decided to give it 3 1/2 stars. This book seems the most uncharacteristic of PKD's writing I've read so far. I prefer Ubik.
Gregorio_Roth on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Cluck It Loud. A Good Book Worth Reading.Well this book is fully loaded; and my review for it has taken a long time. Part of the reason for the long time, is the fear that I will not quit get the gist of the book, how do I summarize something that is so broad in its perspective.The first time I saw Blade Runner, and then heard that it was an adaptation of Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep, I fell in love with Philip K. Dick's mind, and his imagined worlds. I felt "cool" watching it and wanted to walk into that world. I have always been attracted to the foreign feel of new places. The cantina in Star Wars, the hyper reality of Cool World, the funny world found in Tank Girl, were places that I explored in my dreams. I participated in this world once in Israel, at the London Underground, with a few friends from Belgium. A story for another time perhaps!?So all of these thoughts and more kept me from writing a review of a good book. But as it is said in the movie Risky Business, "Sometimes you got to say what the... hey."In some ways the story is an easy go. It takes place in Denver, and San Francisco; in a future reality of 1964 America, but a 1964 America that did not occur. This world is ruled by both Japan and Germany after their winning of World War II (bummer). Denver is in the DMZ, the no man's land between two great powers.What gets complicated is the premise of the story: "What would happen if...or why we see what we see when we see it?" What is the power that shapes our reality? What happens to the people that are caught between hither and tether, when trifles clutter up a landscape? How does one get out of the flotsam and jetsam universe one is currently a participant in?Philip K Dick's answer to these questions lies in the infrastructure of ones current reality. If one understands the infrastructure then one is better equipped with dealing with the flow of reality. Thus Robert Childan attempts to hold onto hope through his American Artitistic Handcrafts an American antique business. His creed is that antiques have power to mold reality. He cherishes the former pre-war Americana. The authentic value of the past anchors the reality of the near future."Art or something not life is long, stretching out endless, like concrete worms. (Dick 184)The artifact's value is assessed by the historians, critics and curators of antiquities. Alexander pope wrote of this valuable role in his essay on criticism in 1711;Critic fanned the poet's fire, And taught the world with Reason to Admire. Then criticism the muses Handmaid proved to Dress her charms, and make her more beloved. The Critic creates a community of enabled others to embrace the art.The individual does not matter, as long as there are key players to play specific parts. The parts and past actions are only successful by their effect on the future. "What has happened here is justified by what happens later." or Alexander Pope said, "It self unseen, but in the effects remain." Time itself is the only variable that is not affected by outside forces.Time is played out by it's own rhythm of uncontrollable variables. The role of the artist, is to seize time, freeze it, and make a shrine to that moment in time. The artist provides the public a way to pause and reflect on their experience. "And if one person finds his way-that means there is a way An artist provides a way.Once the art is created the critic puts order to the art.Critics frame our world viewpoint. Who/what is the good, the weird, the obscene, and the copied. The holy, the vile and the diabolical are shaped by the words of a critic. The critic/historian shapes how facts are used in the retelling of the stream of time. History is merely a tool, a gun from the Civil War Era, a lighter in the pocket of an assassinated president.Give this book to your favorite libertarian so they can reflect and write about today's American Experience.
BillPilgrim on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
What if America had never entered WW2 and the Nazis, Italians and Japanese had won? This book tells that story.A major plot device is that there is a book written describing what would have happened if America had won the war.Very clever.
waltser1 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A fictional exploration of an alternate history of WWII that the Japanese and Germans won the war, and became the rulers of the world, divided the US into spheres of influence. Within this alternate history is a counter alternate history, in which the US only fights and wins over the Japanese, but Britain wins over the Germans because Italy surrenders to Britain. The European theater is divided between Britain and Russia. There is much use in the book of Taoism and the I Ching casting of prophecies. Even though the book was published in 1992, the real history of the anti-colonialist rebellion in Asia and Africa is ignored. The story is like the mindset of the Europeon colonialist days of the late 19th and early 20th century mindset. For me, I detracted from the enjoyment of a reasonably well-written novel that revealed some of the workings of the Taoist mindset of the East.
ehines on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
One of Dick's better crafted novels, and one of his most interesting, though it lacks the loopiness so many people love in PKD, there are some fairly well-observed characters here, and some good thinking about aesthetics and consumerism.
stubbyfingers on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I've heard this book is deep and fantastic, but it just didn't do it for me. I apparently missed whatever was deep about it. Written in the early 1960's, this is the story of what the world would be like had Germany and Japan won World War II. The western third of the United States is run by Japan, the eastern third is run by Germany, and the middle is somewhere in between. Things happen, but there is no real plot in this book. Germany is about to undergo a change in leaders. A German agent and a Japanese agent meet in the U.S. to make some sort of plans, using a legitimate businessman in San Francisco as a cover. Meanwhile, other people do stuff. And running through it all is a novel that everyone is reading, written by American, about what would have happened if Germany and Japan had actually lost the war. Is that what was supposed to be deep? It wasn't. And then it ended. Not very interesting.
danconsiglio on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Really interesting speculative fiction for WWII buffs. Not as trippy as Dick's other works. I teach this in my (high school) honors American Lit class.
Redcloud0 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
What makes our experience "real"? This centuries old philosophical question is considered by PKD in "The Man In The High Castle". The world of the novel in which Japan and Nazi Germany control the world after winning WWII may be nothing but an illusion. The book within the book - "The Grasshopper Lies Heavey" - which describes a world where the Allies were victorious, ironically comes closer to describing reality - sort of. Like most of PKD works, the novel poses questions but provides no easy answers, or any answers for that matter. Perhaps this is why some readers describe the book as unsatisfying, especially the ending which deliberately leaves the puzzle of the novel unsolved
jcmontgomery on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This isn¿t the type of science fiction I was expecting. In fact, I looked up the meaning of the term and found that I was a bit off the mark. To quote the famous science fiction author Robert A. Heinlein:"Science Fiction is speculative fiction in which the author takes as his first postulate the real world as we know it, including all established facts and natural laws. The result can be extremely fantastic in content, but it is not fantasy; it is legitimate¿and often very tightly reasoned¿speculation about the possibilities of the real world. This category excludes rocket ships that make U-turns, serpent men of Neptune that lust after human maidens, and stories by authors who flunked their Boy Scout merit badge tests in descriptive astronomy." ¿ from: Ray Guns And Spaceships, in Expanded Universe, Ace, 1981Philip K. Dick¿s book is just as Heinlein says, for he takes ¿the real world as we know it¿ and ¿speculates¿ what would happen if one set of events happened instead of another. In his story, Germany and Japan were the victors of World War II. His imagined society is well researched and worked out. Not only on the surface, but deep down within the personalities of his characters.And this is what makes The Man In The High Castle such an intriguing read. The interactions between races, genders, and social classes are real, enlightening, and disturbing. The author¿s skill is showing us that no matter what reality in which people live, their humaness prevails; the good, the bad, all of it. He offers us glimpses of what could be, and makes it seem plausible.But then again, this is what science fiction is supposed to be. And it explains why many of Dick¿s works have been adapted to film: ¿Blade Runner¿ (from Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep), ¿Total Recall¿ (from We Can Remember It For You Wholesale), ¿Minority Report¿, ¿Screamers¿ (from Second Variety), and ¿A Scanner Darkly¿ to name a few.Thanks to a fellow bibliophile, I am slowly being reintroduced to a genre I set aside years ago and am happy to have discovered it again.I highly recommend this book as not only an introduction (or reintroduction) to science fiction, but to Philip K. Dick. I can¿t wait to get my hands on his other stories. Especially Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep. Blade Runner is one of my favorite movies and I feel confident the book will just as good, if not better.
phaga on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Not a big fan of this book. The broken English, while I understood the point of it, was annoying. The story was meh and the characters were thin and boring. Not to mention it's unfinished.
Pool_Boy on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I really enjoyed this alternate history story...I'm not sure I really liked the ending, but I am also not sure there was ever intended to be a real 'ending'. It seemed like a study in the what if and the things you could draw from them and compare them to what is going on in your own current time and place. I loved the characters, though. The use of the random fortune-telling book and interpretations kind of set the whole tone for the book for me. It would have been interesting to see more of the German side of things (from a balance perspective only) as it seemed more tilted to the Japanese side of the story. Nothing wrong with that at all, just curious to see more.
kayceel on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A reminder that I'm not a science fiction reader... While I found a lot to talk and think about in this book ("Would Americans really roll over this easily for an invading army?" I honestly think so), I also felt very thick. The writing is very dense, and I found it hard to relate to any of the characters, as they all felt...cold, somehow.
velopunk on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is a very influential alternate history book. I found it kind of slow moving but with interesting concepts. A lot of the Japanese speak in Haiku-like phrases. The Axis powers have won WW II. The Nazis control the eastern U.S. and the Japanese the western U.S. In the middle is an unoccupied zone a little like Vichy France. The Germans and Japanese have an uneasy alliance. An underground book is in circulation about an Allied victory in WW II. The Germans have a secret plan to manufacture an incident with the Japanese in the occupied zone and then go on to use atomic weapons on the home islands.
languagehat on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
One of the greatest sf books ever written.