A Washington Post Notable Book
With a new chapter on eugenicist Madison Grant’s The Passing of the Great Race
In this brilliant and original exploration of some of the formative influences in Adolf Hitler’s life, Timothy Ryback examines the books that shaped the man and his thinking.
Hitler was better known for burning books than collecting them but, as Ryback vividly shows us, books were Hitler’s constant companions throughout his life. They accompanied him from his years as a frontline corporal during the First World War to his final days before his suicide in Berlin. With remarkable attention to detail, Ryback examines the surviving volumes from Hitler’s private book collection, revealing the ideas and obsessions that occupied Hitler in his most private hours and the consequences they had for our world.
A feat of scholarly detective work, and a captivating biographical portrait, Hitler’s Private Library is one of the most intimate and chilling works on Hitler yet written.
From the Trade Paperback edition.
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|Title of Romance eBook: Hitler's Private Library|
|Release Date: 10-21-2008|
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|Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group|
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Hitler's Private Library
The Man Who Burned Books
FOR HIM THE LIBRARY represented a Pierian spring, that mataphorica source of knowledge and inspiration. He drew deeply there, quelling his intellectual insecurities and nourishing his fanatic ambitions.He read voraciously, at least one book per night, sometimes more, so he claimed. “When one gives one also has to take,” he once said, “and I take what I need from books.”
He ranked Don Quixote,along with Robinson Crusoe, Uncle Tom’s Cabin, and Gulliver’s Travels,among the great works of world literature. “Each of them is a grandiose idea unto itself,” he said. In Robinson Crusoehe perceived “the development of the entire history of mankind.” Don Quixotecaptured “ingeniously” the end of an era. He owned illustrated editions of both books and was especially impressed by Gustave Doré’s romantic depictions ofCervantes’s delusion-plagued hero.
He also owned the collected works of William Shakespeare, published in German translation in 1925 by Georg Müller as part of a series intended to make great literature available to the general public. Volume six includes As You Like It, Twelfth Night, Hamlet, and Troilus and Cressida. The entire set is bound in hand-tooled Moroccan leather with a gold-embossed eaglevflanked by his initials on the spine.
He considered Shakespeare superior to Goethe and Schiller in every respect. While Shakespeare had fueled his imagination on the protean forces of the emerging British empire, these two Teutonic playwright-poets squandered their talent on stories ofmidlife crises and sibling rivalries. Why was it, he