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The Infernal Library

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  • 400 Seiten
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"A mesmerizing study of books by despots great and small, from the familiar to the largely unknown."-The Washington PostA darkly ... Weiterlesen
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"A mesmerizing study of books by despots great and small, from the familiar to the largely unknown."
-The Washington Post

A darkly humorous tour of "dictator literature" in the twentieth century, featuring the soul-killing prose and poetry of Hitler, Mao, and many more, which shows how books have sometimes shaped the world for the worse

Since the days of the Roman Empire dictators have written books. But in the twentieth-century despots enjoyed unprecedented print runs to (literally) captive audiences. The titans of the genre-Stalin, Mussolini, and Khomeini among them-produced theoretical works, spiritual manifestos, poetry, memoirs, and even the occasional romance novel and established a literary tradition of boundless tedium that continues to this day.

How did the production of literature become central to the running of regimes? What do these books reveal about the dictatorial soul? And how can books and literacy, most often viewed as inherently positive, cause immense and lasting harm? Putting daunting research to revelatory use, Daniel Kalder asks and brilliantly answers these questions.

Marshalled upon the beleaguered shelves of The Infernal Library are the books and commissioned works of the century's most notorious figures. Their words led to the deaths of millions. Their conviction in the significance of their own thoughts brooked no argument. It is perhaps no wonder then, as Kalder argues, that many dictators began their careers as writers.


Daniel Kalder


Introduction: Tradition and the Individual Tyrant

Phase I: The Dictator's Canon

1. Lenin
2. Stalin
3. Mussolini
4. Hitler
5. Mao

Phase II: Tyranny and Mutation

1. Small Demons
2. Catholic Action
3. Disembraining Machines
4. Eastern Approaches
5. Dead Letters
6. Another Green World

Phase III: Dissolution and Madness

1. Midnight in the Garden of Ultraboredom
2. North Korea: The Metafictions of Kim Jong-il
3. Cuba: Castro's Maximum Verbiage
4. Iraq: The Historical Romances of Saddam Hussein
5. Post-Soviet: Comrade Zoroaster
6. Turkmenistan: Post-everything

Phase IV: Death Is Not the End


Selected Bibliography


Titel: The Infernal Library
Untertitel: On Dictators, the Books They Wrote, and Other Catastrophes of Literacy
EAN: 9781627793438
ISBN: 978-1-62779-343-8
Digitaler Kopierschutz: Adobe-DRM
Format: E-Book (epub)
Herausgeber: Henry Holt and Co.
Genre: Geschichte
Anzahl Seiten: 400
Veröffentlichung: 06.03.2018
Jahr: 2018
Untertitel: Englisch
Dateigrösse: 10.9 MB