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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