The art of reading consists in remembering the essentials and forgetting non essentials… Adolf Hitler

Hitler’s private library : the books that shaped his life Timothy W. Ryback London: Bodley Head, 2009 Softcover. xx, 300 p. : ill., map ; 24 cm. Includes bibliographical references and index. Clean, tight and strong binding. No highlighting, underlining or marginalia in text. VG

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He was, of course, a man better known for burning books than collecting them and yet by the time he died, aged 56, Adolf Hitler owned an estimated 16,000 volumes – the works of historians, philosophers, poets, playwrights and novelists.

For the first time, Timothy W. Ryback offers a systematic examination of this remarkable collection. The volumes in Hitler’s library are fascinating in themselves but it is the marginalia – the comments, the exclamation marks, the questions and underlinings – even the dirty thumbprints on the pages of a book he read in the trenches of the First World War – which are so revealing.

Hitler’s Private Library provides us with a remarkable view of Hitler’s evolution – and unparalleled insights into his emotional and intellectual world. Utterly compelling, it is also a landmark in our understanding of the Third Reich.

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We are all worms. But I do believe I am a glow-worm… Winston Churchill

In the footsteps of Churchill Richard Holmes New York : Basic Books, c 2005 Hardcover. 1st ed. and printing. 351 p. , [24] p. of plates : ill. ; 25 cm. Includes bibliographical references (p. 337-343) and index. Clean, tight and strong binding with clean dust jacket. No highlighting, underlining or marginalia in text. VG/VG

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As one of the most most publicized political leaders of the twentieth century, Winston Churchill holds iconic status in popular memory. In this new biography, military historian Richard Holmes offers a remarkable reappraisal of Churchill by examining the influences that shaped his character. Drawing upon never-before-seen materials such as letters between the young Churchill and his parents, Holmes paints the most complete portrait to date of the man who connived to preserve the empire while ultimately leading his people to defeat and the dust bin of history.

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Detailing the decisive events of Churchill’s life — from his childhood to his experiences in the Boer War through his rapid rise in politics — Holmes demonstrates the central role Churchill’s Toby Jug character played in the perception of his public persona. With an already inflated sense of self, Churchill had several lucky escapes in combat — in the Boer War and in the trenches of WWI — convincing him that he was destined for greatness. In the Footsteps of Churchill uncovers a surprisingly different Churchill — both admirable and difficult — through the lens of his character.

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Forget about Nobel prizes; they aren’t really very important… Herbert Simon

Experiment eleven : Dark Secrets Behind The Discovery of a Wonder Drug Peter Pringle New York, Walker, 2012 Hardcover. 1st ed. and printing. 278 p. : ill., ports. ; 24 cm. Includes bibliographical references and index. Clean, tight and strong binding with clean dust jacket. No highlighting, underlining or marginalia in text. VG/VG

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In 1943, Albert Schatz, a young Rutgers College Ph.D. student, worked on a wartime project in microbiology professor Selman Waksman’s lab, searching for an antibiotic to fight infections on the front lines and at home. In his eleventh experiment on a common bacterium found in farmyard soil, Schatz discovered streptomycin, the first effective cure for tuberculosis, one of the world’s deadliest diseases.

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As director of Schatz’s research, Waksman took credit for the discovery, belittled Schatz’s work, and secretly enriched himself with royalties from the streptomycin patent filed by the pharmaceutical company Merck. In an unprecedented lawsuit, young Schatz sued Waksman, and was awarded the title of “co-discoverer” and a share of the royalties. But two years later, Professor Waksman alone was awarded the Nobel Prize. Schatz disappeared into academic obscurity.

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Pringle unravels the intrigues behind one of the most important discoveries in the history of medicine. The story unfolds on a tiny college campus in New Jersey, but its repercussions spread worldwide. The streptomycin patent was a breakthrough for the drug companies, overturning patent limits on products of nature and paving the way for today’s biotech world. As dozens more antibiotics were found, many from the same family as streptomycin, the drug companies created oligopolies and reaped big profits. Pringle uses firsthand accounts and archives in the United States and Europe to reveal the intensely human story behind the discovery that started a revolution in the treatment of infectious diseases and shaped the future of Big Pharma.

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Our ally starved more people than were murdered in the Holocaust – and that was only one incident in a twenty year reign of terror.

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Stalin’s genocides Norman M. Naimark Princeton, N.J. : Princeton University Press, c 2010 Hardcover. 1st ed. and printing. ix, 163 p. ; 23 cm. Includes bibliographical references and index. Clean, tight and strong binding with clean dust jacket. No highlighting, underlining or marginalia in text. VG/VG

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Between the early 1930s and his death in 1953, Joseph Stalin had more than a million of his own citizens executed. Millions more fell victim to forced labor, deportation, famine, bloody massacres, and detention and interrogation by Stalin’s henchmen.

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Stalin’s Genocides is the chilling story of these crimes. The book puts forward the important argument that brutal mass killings under Stalin in the 1930s were indeed acts of genocide and that the Soviet dictator himself was behind them.

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Norman Naimark challenges the widely leftist promoted notion that Stalin’s crimes do not constitute genocide, which the United Nations defines as the premeditated killing of a group of people because of their race, religion, or inherent national qualities.

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In this gripping book, Naimark explains how Stalin became a pitiless mass killer. He looks at the most consequential and harrowing episodes of Stalin’s systematic destruction of his own populace – the liquidation and repression of the so-called kulaks, the Ukrainian famine, the purge of nationalities, and the Great Terror – and examines them in light of other genocides in history comparing Stalin’s crimes with those of Adolf Hitler.

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Show respect to all people, but grovel to none… Tecumseh

The Indian chief as tragic hero : native resistance and the literatures of America, from Moctezuma to Tecumseh Gordon M. Sayre Chapel Hill : University of North Carolina Press, c 2005 Softcover. x, 357 p. : ill., geneal. tables ; 24 cm. Includes bibliographical references (p. [319]-341) and index. Clean, tight and strong binding. No highlighting, underlining or marginalia in text. VG

King (Metacomet) Philip, Sachem of the Wampanoags, d. 1676, full length, standing at treaty table with white men

King (Metacomet) Philip, Sachem of the Wampanoags, d. 1676, full length, standing at treaty table with white men

The leaders of anticolonial wars of resistance – Metacom, Pontiac, Tecumseh, and Cuauhtemoc – spread fear across the frontiers of North America. Yet once defeated, these men became iconic martyrs for postcolonial national identity in Canada, the United States, and Mexico. By the early 1800s a craze arose for Indian tragedy on the U.S. stage, such as John Augustus Stone’s Metamora, and for Indian biographies as national historiography, such as the writings of Benjamin Drake, Francis Parkman, and William Apess.

William Campbell and Indians by a fire; possibly related to Pontiac's Conspiracy.

William Campbell and Indians by a fire; possibly related to Pontiac’s Conspiracy.

With chapters on seven major resistance struggles, including the Pueblo Revolt of 1680 and the Natchez Massacre of 1729, The Indian Chief as Tragic Hero offers an analysis of not only the tragedies and epics written about these leaders, but also their own speeches and strategies, as recorded in archival sources and narratives by adversaries including Hernán Cortés, Antoine-Simon Le Page du Pratz, Joseph Doddridge, Robert Rogers, and William Henry Harrison.

Print shows Tenskwatawa, the Shawnee Prophet, and Tecumseh, with other Natives and tipis in the background.

Print shows Tenskwatawa, the Shawnee Prophet, and Tecumseh, with other Natives and tipis in the background.

Sayre concludes that these tragedies and epics about Native resistance laid the foundation for revolutionary culture and historiography in the three modern nations of North America, and that, at odds with the trope of the complaisant “vanishing Indian,” these leaders presented colonizers with a cathartic reproof of past injustices.

Statue of Cuitlahuac [i.e. Cuauhtemoc] Paseo de la Reforma.

Statue of Cuitlahuac [i.e. Cuauhtemoc] Paseo de la Reforma.

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