Mein Kampf

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Mein Kampf

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Nov 17, 2007, 9:47am

I have never read Mein Kampf, but it's come up on several other threads in this group, and others have apparently given it a look-see.

How does it stack up as a piece of persuasive writing?

Sometimes the things we want to ban end up actually being their own worst enemies in that they're poorly writter, unpersuasive and illustrate the writer's weaknesses.

A similar example would be the David Frost interviews with Richard Nixon (never in book form so far as I know), in which Nixon clearly revealed his obsession with power, the trappings of the presidency and just some sad personality traits.

Nov 17, 2007, 1:37pm

I tried reading Mein Kampf for Banned Books Week, and I couldn't read past maybe ten pages. I am not the type to give up easily, but it was too highfalutin and heavy-handed for me. I ought to read it someday on principle, just not anytime soon, not while tons of other well-written and engaging books are just clamoring for my attention.

Nov 17, 2007, 11:29pm

nohrt4me wrote: "...poorly written, unpersuasive and illustrate the writer's weaknesses."
And that not only sums up but exemplifies all one needs to know (or could ever glean) from Mein Kampf. Well, one *could* debate what might've happened in the world had Hitler's art teachers been less brutal and more encouraging of his pissy watercolors...

Nov 30, 2007, 10:38pm

Quite a few years ago, I bought Mein Kampf because I heard that anyone who purchases the book automatically gets an FBI file, which sounded pretty cool to my liberal, government hating 20 year old self. I read it because it's a shame to have a book on your shelf that doesn't get read. It was not a good read in my opinion. As heina said, very "highfalutin and heavy handed." And Hitler's...neurosis? psychosis? egoistic stupidity? was so readily apparent in the style of writing as well as the content of the writing that I almost couldn't get through the book. As it is, I spent about three months reading it - an obscenely long time for me, but I had to mix in other books while reading Mein Kampf to keep my sanity.

Dez 1, 2007, 9:22am

I read the memoirs of Alfred, Lord Douglas (Oscar Wilde's lover "Bosie") years ago.

It was a hideous mixture of lies and narcissism.

I could only wonder how Oscar could have loved such a revolting creature.

Jan 11, 2008, 6:05pm

I purchased it ages ago, when I was reading a number of Holocaust books, thinking that I should try to learn about the man who caused it all. Despite carting it halfway across the country and back again during a number of moves, I never once opened it. During a book purge for our most recent move, I decided to donate it. But before doing so, I tore out the blank page on which I had written my name, as I used to do with books. I didn't want someone to find or buy the book and think I was some crazy anti-Semite.

I guess that, despite my desire to try to learn something about Hitler's ideology, I just didn't want to waste my time reading the rantings of some nutball when it really came down to it. I'd heard the book was poorly written and almost incoherent at points & I think I can probably guess what the man had to say....

Jan 11, 2008, 6:32pm

I tried to read it a few years ago, but it came off like a long rant, the kind you might see on a blog or Usenet crank post, and so I couldn't get more than a few dozen pages into it. Maybe I'll tackle it again one day.

Editado: Maio 5, 2008, 4:48pm

you get an FBI file for buying that book?
one of my old classmates bought that, and theyre the kind of kid with straight A's and almost no demerits.
Hmm...I think I'll get off the computer now and go across the street to the bookstore.

Maio 25, 2008, 12:00pm

#8, No, you do not 'get an FBI file' for buying any book. It's just an old urban legend that sticks around. After all, if I walked in to Barnes and Noble and bought Mein Kampf (or a UFO book or The Anarchist Cookbook or whatever other controversial book would warrant the attention of government agencies) and I paid cash for it, how would the FBI track that?

Then again, thanks to Bush and the Patriot Act, who knows? That could be one urban legend that might come true after all.

Maio 25, 2008, 2:09pm

I think openset described it best-it has a few lucid passages in it (and I'm using the term lucid VERY loosely here). Stylistically, though, most of it was in need of a good editor-he rambles, goes off on strange tangents, half-finishes analogies and metaphores, and basically shows how important his propoganda minister was to his assent to power-because if he spoke like that, he'd probably have been brushed off as the nut he was. It does read like a jailhouse blog, because that's essentially what it is. Even knowing a great deal about the events that got him put in prison and the history of the region doesn't make it easier to follow his wonky stream of conciousness.

That being said, I think I can understand how it would be useful to someone who already strongly believed what Hilter was writing-it validates alot of what they were probably feeling. It's like hearing Hagee or Fallwell or one of those guys go off on gays-it's never completely coherant, the arguments are generally wanting, but if you don't like them to begin with, you can point to someone else and say "See, I was right in my opinions."

Jun 2, 2015, 2:10pm

When I worked in a large Jewish community library, I noticed they had a copy in their collection. There are legitimate reasons for having some extremist views represented in certain library collections.

And as far as Hitler's motivations go, no, you won't find those in the actions of his teachers. The noted psychology writer Alice Miller looked into the childhoods of Hitler and Stalin as well as some celebrated artists (Picasso, etc.) and found plenty of primal motivation for their actions in adulthood based on how they were treated by their parents. Basically, Hitler and Stalin received only brutal attention from parental authority figures in their childhoods. Picasso's childhood treatment left me quite illuminated about the symbolism in his masterwork painting Guernica, which I had not understood well before. That Alice Miller book is worth a read:

The Untouched key

Here is that book description on the author's website: