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"It is what you read when you don't have to that determines what you will be when you can't help it." - Oscar Wilde

Mein Kampf

Mein Kampf - Adolf Hitler Alright, here is the thing. When you're a German, reasing this is NOT part of your curriculum. Why not? Because in Germany you are not allowed to buy this book. Or steal it. Or give it away as a present. It is okay to OWN it. Which is fine. If it flies through your open window and lands on your desk. Because yes, you can inherit it. But if you're a little firm in history, you know it is not bloody likely that all those issues people had to own in 1933 still exist in all our cellars and attics. They don't.

Still, I wanted to read it. As a history student, as part of the temporary staff at the historical site of Auschwitz, as an interviewer of concetration camp surivors, I wanted to know. I wantd to understand. Which is definitely not what happened. Because this book does not HELP understanding national socialism.

If you want to understand it better, let's start with all the books about racial ideology. And not the more modern versions, but the versions written before the 1930s. That's where you can start. Then you can go on and delve into the political situation in Germany and Europe in general, at least starting with 1871. If you don't know why this year is so significant, start there. I'm aware not everybody can talk to survivors, or visit the historical sites, but if you can and you're interested in national socialism, go there. And definitely read up on the Hitlers. The family history of Adolf Hitler is essential, even though it is not as deeply researched as other parts of this puzzle.

So, what can "Mein Kampf" do for you? Why is it important? Why read it? Honestly? It gives you an inkling of what was going on in Adolf Hitlers head. Which is one messed up place. The ideals, the ideas, the opinions. It might as well be anthoer universe he lived in. As far as understanding him goes? I'm not sure that is at all possible. Especially because Hitler might have been an impressive speaker, as a writr not so much. Or at all, for that matter. It is worse in German, but the translation is its own can of worms. Punctuation was not his friend, same goes for structure, tenses, word order and consistency.

Sentences go on and on, line after line, until you haven't seen ending or beginning of a new sentences after almost two pages. No, I'm not exaggerating. The concepts don't make sense in and on themselves, but with this kind of writing? You have to read some of the pages again, and again, and again, and even then you might not have a clue what Hitler is talking about.

All in all, I'm giving it one star. And this one star is for it's value as a primary source. Those are rare, and as a historican you value them deeply. But as a "normal" reader, just interested in history or national socialism this is not necessary to read. There are other sources with broader perspectives, better writing and language and most of all actually have some historical facts and actions thrown in. Better for understanding the time period a little better. Because "Mein Kampf" might be a ot of things, but understandable is not necessarily one of them.