Author: Adolf Hitler
First Published: 1927
Page Count: 688
Film/ TV Adaptation: Yes*
Rating: 2/5 Stars
While it’s an unmatched view into the mind of one of history’s most infamous men, it could be a bit too dry for the casual reader/history buff.
*First-Hand Historical Insight
*Useless Footnotes *Extremely Dry *Untrustworthy
“He who would live must fight. He who doesn’t wish to fight in this world, where permanent struggle is the law of life, has not the right to exist.” The name Adolf Hitler is one that is recognized across all religions, races, and nations for the horrific movement he led in World War II. We know him as the man behind the Holocaust but what do we about the man before the movement? Mein Kampf is Hitler’s autobiography that he composed while in jail for political crimes which outlines his future plans for Germany and his political views.
In a million years I had never pictured myself reading Mein Kampf, but when a coworker offered to lend it to me I decided to take up the challenge. I was understandably hesitant at first. Did I really care to hear anything Hitler had to say? And then there is the fact that as a Caucasian female living in America in the times we do, this is not something I could just whip out to read in public without drawing some potentially negative attention. But my coworker, who has read it twice, made a good point. Her recently deceased and beloved grandfather fought and suffered in World War II, and we can’t begin to understand the future without understanding the past. Also having family that has fought in every important war in US history, I was motivated to pick this up. Mein Kampf is not only a first hand look at how the Holocaust started to take shape, but it’s from a completely different point of view then we are used to seeing. Usually we see the war through the eyes of soldiers or survivors of the concentration camps, but rarely do we get a look inside the mind behind the entire movement.
Reading Mein Kampf is like watching a tv show or movie where in the end you find out everything that happened was just a dream. Everything you are watching is pointless because it’s not real. Well, Hitler takes a lot of liberties with the facts in his book as noted by the translator. It makes it really hard to believe literally anything he says, and that was my biggest problem with the book. I can only surmise you read Mein Kampf to learn about the way the guy thinks and not for a historically accurate retelling of history up to the point of the creation of this book. Here some informative footnotes might have helped the reader to discern the facts from fantasy, but 90% of the footnotes were in another language which seemed pointless. I’m also not sure if there were just so many lies in this book that footnotes would’ve been ineffective. Big problem number two I had with the book was it was extremely dry to read. There is no detailing of the exact way Hitler will eventually run his world war in terms of the concentration camps or treatment of the Jews. This book is more about the struggles of the German worker, and Hitler’s philosophical musings about how a country can be great through the economy, its military, its people, and the government. The only thing that shakes up the book is when you get the occasional rant against Jews and this usually came across sounding as ridiculous as “the sky is cloudy today; it’s clearly the Jews fault.”
Learning about history has slowly become a passion of mine, and I thought this book would be a great way to feed that passion. While I feel that I have a firmer grasp on the mind of Adolf Hitler, I do think this book was a bit advanced for me. I’m definitely a novice history buff in terms of probably any topic, WWII included, simply because there are only so many books you can read and I don’t want to limit myself to reading about only one era of history. I think unless you are a big WWII history buff or have some other strong motivation to read this book, I would skip this in favor of some of the many other books about WWII out there. If I wanted to learn about Hitler, I might gain more from reading a biography then trying to traverse this long rant that isn’t even historically accurate in favor of making the author look good. It’s an interesting read, but the casual reader/history buff might enjoy and learn more from other WWII books that are out there.
* Film Adaptation: (Starring Gotz George 2009, Starring Claude Stephenson 1960)