"American Pastoral" is a novel by Philip Roth that tells the story of Seymour "Swede" Levov, a wealthy businessman living in Newark, New Jersey. The novel follows Swede's life from the 1940s to the 1960s, as he navigates the challenges of being a successful Jewish American in a rapidly changing world.
The book begins with Swede's childhood and his relationship with his father, a glove manufacturer. Swede grows up to be a star athlete and eventually takes over the family business. He marries a beautiful Irish-American woman named Dawn and has a daughter, Merry.
As Swede settles into his role as a husband and father, the world around him begins to change. The civil rights movement and the Vietnam War create social and political turmoil, and Swede's daughter becomes increasingly radicalized. Merry becomes involved in the Weather Underground, a militant left-wing group, and carries out a bombing that results in the death of a local doctor.
The novel explores themes of identity, family, and the dangers of ideology. It portrays the ways in which the tumultuous events of the time can affect the lives of ordinary people and the difficulties of navigating changing social and political landscapes.