35 of 37 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Essential reading, poor publication
A good political read, very interesting to hear Hitler's rationale contemporaneously. Two things bother me about this book. The edition itself is not the best edited, a few spelling mistakes here and there, frequent enough to be noticable. Second,the back of the book, which sells Hitler as an "evil genius" or "monster". Mein Kampf has its own merits and logic. It is...
Published on 5 Feb 2011 by A. G. Mahoney
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars The quest for 'land and soil'
Adolf Hitler. His name is a synonym for evil. His only major work is his autobiography. I wanted to understand the motivations of the man behind the most destructive war in history so I purchased Mein Kampf. However I knew I would only benefit from reading the book if I approached it with an open mind, otherwise there would have been no point in reading it...
Published 1 month ago by Excalibur
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35 of 37 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Essential reading, poor publication,
This review is from: Mein Kampf (Paperback)A good political read, very interesting to hear Hitler's rationale contemporaneously. Two things bother me about this book. The edition itself is not the best edited, a few spelling mistakes here and there, frequent enough to be noticable. Second,the back of the book, which sells Hitler as an "evil genius" or "monster". Mein Kampf has its own merits and logic. It is counter-productive to dismiss the book as worthless. Hitler was not a monster, he was a human, and reading this book helps you understand how people are able to act like monsters. Censorship of literature is a hallmark of fascist states, and I think its a shame that there is in some quarters consent that the content of the book is worthless, or that only a Hitler sympathiser would read it. It is as worthwhile as any book written by a political leader would be. Interesting to me was how Hitler provides commentary on his own assumptions. For example, before launching into a tirade against democracy he describes how he came to admire democracy, and how then he came to hate it. He is self-aware of his own motives. I was shocked to hear him admit to being "uncomfortable" with anti-Semitism, being rather liberal at first (he thought Jews were discriminated against for their faith, which he considered intolerant). Then he describes how he came to hate the Jews himself. This also belies the sometimes voiced defence that there was no anti-Semitism in Austria/Germany pre-Nazis. It is interesting to see in his more obviously political statements how he blames Jews for many problems, an obvious form of propaganda. Very obvious in fact, because he describes the power of propaganda in detail. I found this a fascinating read.
Recommended to anyone who has an interest in history, politics, and sociology.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars The quest for 'land and soil',
This review is from: Mein Kampf (Paperback)Adolf Hitler. His name is a synonym for evil. His only major work is his autobiography. I wanted to understand the motivations of the man behind the most destructive war in history so I purchased Mein Kampf. However I knew I would only benefit from reading the book if I approached it with an open mind, otherwise there would have been no point in reading it.
Firstly, the strongest impression after reading it is its exorbitant length. 300 pages could have been cut with benefit to the book's readability and arguments. The most boring part was when he was discussing party structure. The oddest part was his long discourse on syphilis. However there were a few flashes of insight amongst the verbiage. Instead of paraphrasing, I will let Hitler speak for himself:
"It should not be forgotten that the highest aim of human existence is not the preservation of a state, let alone a government, but the preservation of the species. And if the species itself is in danger of being oppressed or utterly eliminated, the question of legality is reduced to a subordinate role. Then, even if the methods of the ruling power are alleged to be legal a thousand times over, nonetheless the oppressed people's instinct of self-preservation remains the loftiest justification of their struggle with every weapon. Only through recognition of this principle have wars of liberation against internal and external enslavement of nations on this earth come down to us in such majestic historical examples. Human law cancels out state law. And if a people is defeated in its struggle for human rights, this merely means that it had been found too light in the scale of destiny for the happiness of survival on this earth. For when a people is not willing or able to fight for its existence--Providence in its eternal justice has decreed that people's end. The world is not for cowardly peoples."
"When the nations on this planet fight for existence--when the question of destiny, 'to be or not to be', cries out for a solution--then all considerations of humanitarianism or aesthetics crumble into nothingness; for all these concepts do not float about in the ether, they arise from man's imagination and are bound up with man. When he departs from this world, these concepts are again dissolved into nothingness, for Nature does not know them. And even among mankind, they belong only to a few nations or rather races, and this in proportion as they emanate from the feeling of the nation or race in question. Humanitarianism and aesthetics would vanish even from a world inhabited by man if this world were to lose the races that have created and upheld these concepts."
"State boundaries are made by man and changed by man. The fact that a nation has succeeded in acquiring an undue amount of soil constitutes no higher obligation that it should be recognised eternally...right lies in strength alone...No more than any higher power has promised another nation more territory than the German nation, or is offended by the fact of this unjust distribution of the soil. Just as our ancestors did not receive the soil on which we live today as a gift from Heaven, but had to fight for it at the risk of their lives, in the future no folkish grace will win soil for us and hence life for our people, but only the might of a victorious sword...The right to possess soil can become a duty if without extension of its soil a great nation seems doomed to destruction."
To modern Western ears, this is shocking. These ideas are wrong according to liberal morals but it is clear that modern precepts of liberal moralism only exist in people's minds and have no inherent power. Nature does not respect them. That most in the West today unthinkingly believe the concept of human rights shows only that it is the dominant ideology of the West, not that it is true. History is littered with the rise and fall of empires, the conquests and liberations of peoples, not the sacred inviolability of human rights.
Also, the origins of Operation Barbarossa are rooted in his idea that Germany needs more living space in the east and that it is the duty of a nation to conquer more soil if it needs it. Hitler takes a swipe at the enormous size of Russia compared to Germany: "We must...coolly and objectively adopt the standpoint that it can certainly not be the intention of Heaven to give one people fifty times as much land and soil in this world as another". Hitler believed that the German nation would only survive if it became a superpower like the United States. America is a contiguous land mass with hundreds of millions of people. Hitler wanted something similar; a Germany stretching from the Rhine to the Urals, a contiguous Greater German Reich that in the 21st century would allow the German nation to reach 250 million people, be largely self-sufficient and gives them world power status.
Hitler argued that the human race was divided into a racial hierarchy. Modern scientists reject this, so it is an outdated concept. Hitler was writing before the discovery of DNA. Hitler also had a strong commitment to folkish socialism: "The hardest battle would have to be fought, not against hostile nations, but against international capital". Hitler was influenced by Gottfried Feder's anti-capitalist arguments opposing the stock exchange and interest. His criticism of capitalism provided the socialist aspect of National Socialism. Hitler's socialism, however, was virulently anti-Marxist. He detested Marxism's internationalism and its supposed Jewishness.
Hitler is also critical of hereditary monarchy and bourgeois republicans and bourgeois nationalists. Unlike almost every other politician past or present, Hitler is honest about his contempt for most people. The mass of people are sheep and need to be led by a strong leader, democracy is a sham and ineffective. Democracy is a symptom of a nation in decay.
Hitler also talks about architecture, and here I think he was spot on. His criticisms of modern architecture were that it was ephemeral, insignificant and unlikely to survive for centuries. Hitler admired the ancient Greeks and Romans for their enormous monuments that have come to define their epochs and seem to have been designed for eternity. Individualism and laissez faire in city architecture is a disaster: "The few still towering colossuses which we admire in the ruins and wreckage of the ancient world are not former business palaces, but temples and state structures; in other words, works whose owner was the community".
The above is what I found particularly interesting in the book. Most of it, however, made for boring reading. The edition I have is the Manheim translation with an introduction by the historian D. C. Watt, published by Hutchinson in 1972. I chose this because it was the edition cited by Ian Kershaw in his biography of Hitler and I thought it must therefore be reliable.
401 of 482 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A book of surprises and incomparably outlandish suggestions,
By A Customer
This review is from: Mein Kampf (Hardcover)`My Struggle’ is a book that few people will want to read. This is because it was written by one of the most reviled men in history and because of the way it was written. The impression of Hitler from films and World War II books is simply a negative one: An evil war mongerer responsible for the deaths of millions. Reading his own book is intriguing and this is part of its relatively small appeal. In a similar way that classic books (e.g. Anna Karenina/Dead Souls) begin, after the first few pages you realise you are reading something created by an exceptional mind. However this book is not a beautiful story. This is not like a magazine article tackling a hard subject with little time which gives the astute reader the impression that he or she knows more about the subject than the writer. The first book `A Reckoning’ is partially a story of Hitler’s life, World War One and much of his theories and philosophy. You enter into a strange world of paragraph long sentences, repetition, constantly twisting and turning. Hitler has a go at politicians, policies, parasites e.t.c. and in a classic way is blind to the concept that his ideas might be as blinkered as those he attacks. He believes anything miserable, weak or cowardly must be eradicated, having no compassion or pity for anything that does not conform to his ideals. Hatred is a large part of this book. This book has more hatred in it than a quarter of a mile long oil tanker has oil. There is hatred for Jews, hatred against anyone who is not ulta-nationalistic or anyone not German. The author gives the impression that if the whole world were wiped out except for Germany this in itself would not be a bad thing. The reader might see from Hitler’s poverty, his misery, the huge bitterness and then a World War that this has formed something rather grotesque. It is intriguing however and there are some gems. His thoughts on history, propaganda, ideas about the state and nature are interesting but it’s not long before we are back to hatred of Marxism or an attack against incompetent politicians or greedy businesses or shopkeepers. Hitler’s solution is to have them shot. Very clear is the determination to use force rather than another means. I didn’t understand much of Mein Kampf, there is no attempt to explain anything clearly and you have to read and re-read sentences to get any impression of what exactly he is trying to say. Like a man prodding an angry dog on the other side of a fence, Mein Kampf draws you into some idea and then changes and swirls mid sentence and then modifies to another idea, all to irritate you and wear you out. I almost think Hitler sets out to confuse, as if to say I don’t really know the answer to all this and so I’ll muddy the waters as much as possible. Much of it is incomprehensible. This is not a book that sets out principles and builds them into a unifying theory. Hitler jumps from one idea to the next, there is little continuity and function is always narrowly beaten into second place by style. Mein Kampf does have a certain elegance and style that draws the reader in. Consistent with this book there are also tedious parts and sustained outbursts. The first book is hard going and the second `The National Socialist Movement’ you think will be even harder and true to form it’s not as theoretical or complicated as the first. The second book is less of a story than the first volume and I found it tedious. It shows you the near anarchy of groups struggling for power and describes marches and sinister fights in the beer halls. Here Hitler sets out his ideas for his party. Hitler’s National Socialism is an extremist workers party, a dictatorship with some distorted policies. This was a revolutionary party or perhaps terrorism on a large scale. This is a cold book, sarcastic, verbose, right on some things, wrong on others with a hefty dose of vileness. This book is an unimaginable creation and callous in the extreme. Symptomatic of the world we live in Mein Kamp offers a rare insight into the mind of a talented man who turns to bad things. This multi-sided book gives us a glimpse of why some things are but also leads you into the cul-de-sac of incorrect suppositions, his machinations going on and on exasperatingly. Hitler is religious, nationalistic, the fatherland is far more important than anyone else on Earth, but also strangely moralistic, family orientated, even faintly comical, dragged down into fine details, you won’t forget the huge impression of reading this book.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Close parallels with the present day. Much better than biased accounts state.,
This review is from: Mein Kampf (Paperback)Judging by the other reviews here, Amazon has almost zero readers able to overcome their century or so of brainwashing about Hitler and Jews. The fact is we are in something like a Reformation, targeted against Jews as the earlier Reformation was targeted against Catholics. Who will win, how long it will take, and what the costs in body counts and destruction will be, cannot be predicted. The book is well worth reading, though volume II is of most interest to the few people wanting to establish a new political party. Volume I has a lot on Austria and Hungary, not Germany, which was something like a multicultural state. It also has Hitler's World War I experiences, and expresses his regret or puzzlement over the survivors, many of whom rather than die dodged the fighting. Most of his comments show a grasp of true Jewish 'ethics'. It is of course pre-WW2 and pre-'Holocaust'. (I have a much longer review on big-liesdotorg, too long for here).
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Intriguing and surprising read.,
This review is from: Mein Kampf (Kindle Edition)Often hear about this book and always wondered about the contents. Out of books on holiday I ordered it for my Kindle. This is clearly a translation and often not easy to follow some of the obscure translation choice of words but luckily, Kindle's 'dictionary' feature to the rescue!! :-) Very interesting to see how Hilter's mania develops over a period of time from what appears to be that of a 'concerned individual', through the trade union movement, the fear of his country's disappearance in the face of international indifference right up to the monster that he became. Worryingly, the world doesn't seem to have 'learned any lessons! :-(
11 of 14 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Mein Kampf,
This review is from: Mein Kampf (Paperback)I wanted to judge this book for myself rather than accept anyone else's assessment of it.
I am glad I did but it wasn't an enjoyable read. It is verbose, turgid and repetitive. Hitler's original title was "Four and half years of struggle against lies, stupidity and cowardice" rather than the more snappy "My Struggle" suggested by the publisher. As I read, I found myself in a fog where paragraphs of opinion followed one another without supporting facts. These opinions were then used to justify ridiculous conclusions. I thought it a truly badly writen and argued book which came across as the rants of a pub philosopher who holds court with other like minds.
When the fog lifts, Hitler's particular world view (repeatedly referred to as Weltanschauung) becomes clear. For example:
1. Hitler's hatred for Jews was pathological and it was expressed in a kind of physical revulsion. He saw Judaism as a race, rather than a religion and Jews as barely human, a nasty form of vermin infecting the blood of the German nation and the source of everything bad. While there is no explicit proposal for mass extermination in the pages of Mein Kampf, I think the book shows that the Holocaust is a logical consequence of Hitler's views.
2. Hitler was obsessive about the German nation and he regarded the Germanic race to be superior to all others.
3. Hitler was obsessed with racial hygiene believing it unnatural for anyone of an inferior race to merge with the Aryan one, believing it weakened his race.
4. Hitler was a control freak who envisioned a total, non-democratic state in which all citizens would think and act one way in support of his particular Weltanschauung.
5. Hitler's was clearly intending to create a military and militant state and his expansionist plans for invading Eastern Europe were already in mind nearly 20 years before he enacted them. This militancy would be encouraged through the education system in which the ideas would be inculcated and boys would be made to do 2 hours hard physical training every day to make them fit soldiers of the Reich.
6. Hitler understood the value of propaganda, saying that you cannot win people over through rational argument but widespread, simple repetition of key messages. He was anti-intellectual.
7. Hitler is strangely prudish about sex. With no evidence, he believed that young men would be less prone to sexual immorality if they exercised more and studied less.
There is much to take issue with and he did not convince me, but I don't think this was the book's intention.
He talks about racial selection as being some kind of natural process with animals only breeding with other animals of the same species. On this basis, he regards the union of Aryans and Jews as unnatural. This is a specious parallel as Aryans and Jews (and native Americans, Innuit, Japanese, Black Africans etc etc) are the same species who are capable of mating with each other. You could not say the same about say, dogs and cats.
He suggests that mingling of different racial groups results in a weakening of each race. This ignores the fact that every supposedly `pure' race is still the result of plenty of mixing of more localised races in the past. It also ignores the fact that mixing of races does not weaken any race. Scientific research has indicated that mixed race children have stronger immunity systems than non-mixed race children and the success of mixed race sportsmen is there for everyone to see.
He slightly confounds his own logic by linking dog breeding with racial purity. When you think about it, there is nothing natural about pure bred dogs. They are simply the results of man selecting partners for his dogs to develop animals which will happily serve him. Maybe Hitler secretly regarded his mission as the breeding of the German nation to be like a huge pack of German Shepherd dogs who would be his loyal pets.
I also take issue with the issue about propaganda. Hitler wrote that the Jewish owned press in Germany was undermining the German war effort in World War 1 while the British press was content to tell any lie about Germany in order to bolster the war effort - something he rather admired. I don't have enough information about British propaganda nor the ownership of the German press (although I don't imagine that it was as dominated by jews as Hitler suggested). However, I have read elsewhere that there was a great deal of censorship of war news which gave a false impression that Germany was doing far better in the conflict than it actually was and the underlying economic issues were not being reported. This was the background to the "stab in the back myth" in which Germans believed that they were betrayed by the surrender by the German government. It was a betrayal of sorts but not the one that Hitler thought.
18 of 23 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A paranoid book by a fiercely intelligent man,
This review is from: Mein Kampf (Paperback)As you read 'Mein Kampf', there is no doubt as to Hitler's intelligence: it smacks you in the face. He clearly was not the clownish buffoon he is usually presented as. He tackles many issues cleverly if not clearly: his opinions on parliamentary democracy, reading, and propaganda are particularly interesting.
As Golo Mann famously remarked, Hitler was a man who simply couldn't understand moderation, and 'Mein Kampf' furnishes plenty of examples. Parliamentary democracy is bad for Germany? Have the politicians strung up, then. A colonial policy won't secure Germany's status for the future? Conquer eastern Europe, work its inhabitants to death, and plant Germans there. His answers to problems (as he seems them) are shockingly radical and indicative of a disturbing amorality. 'Mein Kampf' speaks volumes (no pun intended) about the tortured workings of a paranoid mind. That, really, is my second point: rather than believing in accident, Hitler sees gigantic conspiracies at work in the world (read Richard Hofstadter's excellent essay 'The Paranoid Style in American Politics' on this).
Hitler's logic is frequently circular and flawed, his style questionable (as Stuart Hodgson wrote, with typical British understatement, 'Mein Kampf' is written in 'by no means irreproachable German') and his arrangement of the material confusing. Nonetheless he provides a fascinating commentary on his times - the 1920s. I am highly sceptical of attempts to see all of Hitler's future decisions in the pages of 'Mein Kampf'. The mere fact that he envisaged a future war to be between Britain, Germany and Italy on the one hand and France on the other must show us that he was no Cassandra.
21 of 27 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A surprisingly good read,
This review is from: Mein Kampf (Paperback)I found Mein Kampf informative and entertaining though it must be pointed out that Hitler conflates Jews with liberals and liberalism.
Jews, by dint of following their religion, practising their traditions and respecting the institutions of marriage and family, will find themselves effortlessly superior to the gentiles who do not.
While I do not agree with him about his racial theories, all that he says about government, democracy, the stupidity of the general public, liberals and the cowardice and hypocrisy of the middle classes remains disturbingly true.
His racial theories are clearly nonsensical since, if there were a race that was inherently superior to all other races then that race would stay top dog for all time.
That "every dog will have his day" is clearly closer to reality.
It is of course perfectly possible to argue that the Jews secretly or not so secretly consider themselves to be a superior race. They were after all the people who created God.
It could even be said that Jews are the teacher's pet in a world of dunces and bullies.
My theory is that the problem of antisemitism, endemic in Christian Europe, is actually a problem of Christianity, which is as a faith inferior to both Judaism and Islam. Christianity is inferior to Judaism and Islam because you have to ignore so much of it to make it work. I believe Hitler even thought that himself, but knew it would not be politic to point this out to the Germans of his time.
It occurs to me that if Hitler had really been serious about the Germans acquiring racial superiority, then he should have converted the Germans to Judaism, instead of just planning to get rid of the competition by shipping them to Madagascar minus their property.
Racial superiority is rather like claiming to be a lady or gentleman. The more you insist that you are a lady or a gentleman, the less likely you are to be either.
A truly superior person would never dream of claiming to be superior.
41 of 53 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A hard but interesting read.,
This review is from: Mein Kampf (Paperback)Mein Kampf is difficult to read,but at the same time very interesting.I found when reading it that page after page would deal with - as you might imagine - very mundane political issues from early German history,then all of a sudden Herr Hitler would begin to speak of the present.One thing that struck me was the fact that Hitler was clearly a man of colossal inteligance,not the 'raging beast' we see so often in WW2 footage on the tv.
In this book Herr Hitler goes from talking about how he used to wake up at 05:30 every morning at his army barracks in Munich just to watch - and take great delight in watching - the mice in his room playing in the dim light,to talking about the Holy Roman Empire,to talking about the Jewish threat to Germany all withing a couple of paragraphs of each other.
He also says things you wouldn't expect him to - such as how much he admires the English,and that he considers England as one of the only European countries Germany can be allied to. . . .They never taught me that in school history class,but that's the point isn't it - if you want to know more about that man,and that time in history then you have to find out for yourself,first hand - and discard what my old bearded,anorak wearing marxist of a history teacher ever told you.Enjoy.
34 of 44 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Book worth reading but not great for bedtime,,
This review is from: Mein Kampf (Paperback)Mein Kampf is a book I originally read when I was studying Psychology. Some reviews have commented on the quality of the translation. Having taken the time to read the text in it's original German language, it was as confusing as reading it in English.
The reason for the bad text is in my opinion down to Hitler himself. He was no great writer and his mind was to be polite slightly confused.
The text quickly spirals in to political racist rants and there are examples of sentences running into patagraphs. Stick with it if you can, It's taken me 3 attempts to get through the book.
It's quite an insight in to a warped man, It certainly is not a light read! But it helps the reader discover just how Hitler formed his opinons.
People are concerned about what is contained within the book, but actually it is not as Racist and vile as people believe, of course this book contains plenty of that. But it somehow when read in complete context doesn't overpower you. Of course as normal people we can't forget the atrocities that happened in WWII under Hitlers leadership, and reading Mein Kampf remembering the stories of the Jews and those persecuted in the War it gives you a unique oportunity to read deeper into the mind of a maniac.
Yes this book is hard going and at some points near impossible to read but this is after all from the pen of Adolf Hitler what else can you expect!?!
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Mein Kampf by Adolf Hitler (Paperback - 21 Nov 2007)