I bought this book from a bookstore in Guelph, Ontario. It did not occur to me at the time why the cashier gave me such a venomous glare as I paid. I realized later: I had blue eyes, cropped blonde hair, and was wearing knee-high Doc Martens with red laces. I wasn’t a skinhead or a white supremacist, but she didn’t know that.
She had no idea, but I was not buying the book because I liked Hitler. Similarly, I did not give this infamous book a ‘like’ because it is at all likeable. I ranked it three stars because the book allows us to live deep inside the irrational, almost surreal mind of the world’s most famous warmonger.
The work is badly written; at times even more sluggish than pedestrian; sometimes histrionic; often pompous, with a bourgeois pretense at sophisticated thought. Hitler believes he is an economist, a visionary, a philosopher, an historian of some substance; in fact, too many things. But, despite his obtuseness and the meandering and raving throughout this text, there arises out of the pages a portrait of a man crippled by anger, a man who’s reason has been poisoned by frustration and a deep sense of betrayal.
There is so much in this book, if you have the stamina to push on through the turgid and purple prose. If much of it is unpleasant, that cannot come as a surprise: that some of it almost makes sense does come as a great surprise. That ‘almost’ allows you to see how Hitler appealed to the German masses of his time; and how his specious reasoning, precisely because of its flaws and lack of rigour, was adopted by so many who joined the Nazi party. His flawed intellect made him Everyman, and his colossal, vicious passion made him an archangel of barely restrained destruction, which, in turn, made him an erotic, libidinal focus for his people, and the very personification of the Id of a schizophrenic, suffering nation.