There are more valid facts and details in works of art than there are in history books. —Charlie Chaplin, My Autobiography

It may not be alternative history anymore. On March 16, HBO will present the first of six episodes of David Simon and Ed Burns’s adaptation of Philip Roth’s prize-winning novel The Plot Against America. Written as a kind of autobiography of the Roth family in 1940s Newark, The Plot Against America is also a re-imagined history that, 16 years after its publication, turns out to have been alarmingly prescient.