July 21, 2005

If a Nazi writes a book and no one talks about it, will it go away? . . .


Monday was “the 80th anniversary of the publication of Adolf Hitler‘s Mein Kampf (My Struggle),” notes Carlin Romano in a Philadelphia Inquirer commentary. “You didn’t miss anything. No critical panels. No conferences. No TV documentaries. . . . It’s long been that way for the most notorious book of the 20th century.” Romano details the history of the book, including some interesting tidbits: “Hitler preferred the title Four and a Half Years of Struggle Against Lies, Stupidity and Cowardice. His publisher, Max Amann, knew how to edit.” He also discusses the forthcoming How to Read Hitler, by historian Neil Gregor, of which Romano is critical, although he does say that it “provides a slight antidote to the more sympathetic reading of Mein Kampf by its Arabic translator, Luis al-Haj. He wrote in his preface: ‘National Socialism did not die with the death of its herald. Rather, its seeds multiplied under each star.'”

Dennis Johnson is the founder of MobyLives, and the co-founder and co-publisher of Melville House. Follow him on Twitter at @mobylives