Friday, April 5, 2013

That German Book

After 1945, it was decided in Germany to ban Hitler's Mein Kampf.  You could publish every single book written in the English or German language....except Mein Kampf.  You could sell any book you desired.  You could trade any book you desired.  All except Mein Kampf.

In legal theory, Germany seized (by way of the state of Bavaria), ownership was a state thing.  By German law, everything written is owned for a period of seventy years.  At that point, it's all in public domain.  You can't own a book after that point.

Well....times are changing, and Hitler's book will shortly reach seventy (the last day of 2015).  It appears that it will be reprinted and sold shortly.

Via the internet, just about any German can reach out and reach a copy of the book....if they desired.  This is all mostly a game to say a society is trying to be strong morally, without the corruption of reading one single book.

How much damage did Mein Kampf deliver in 1925?  This is a good argument. It's a fairly tough read of a book, that extends out to 700-odd pages.  From 1925 to 1933....the best numbers say that he sold around 250k copies of the book.  With a population of roughly 62 million residents.....that's a fair number of sales.

The general problem with the book....even I can admit....is that it's awful dry, and after a hundred pages....you generally want to put it down because it's so boring.  Out of the 250k copies sold....how many were actually read, and how many were simply copies to be kept on a desk or on a coffee table simply for looks?  No one knows.

Active sales going in 2016?  I probably wouldn't print more than six to eight thousand, and play it safe that it won't be a huge selling book.  Who would read it?  Again, I'd suggest it's more of an item for coffee table or bookcase display, than actually to be read.

There are various suggestions that Hitler himself never actually wrote the book.  It can't be disproven, but it's kind of odd thing that there's almost nothing of a written extent existing from him.  The party apparatus could have easily come up with a ghost writer, and simply taken notes from Hitler and developed the entire book.

Americans typically don't worry about the power of a book.  This is one of the differences in cultures as you look across at German society.  There's this feeling that an individual without intellectual ability might gaze at the book and come to some strange or negative feelings.

A final observation?  It's interesting....a book written almost ninety years ago....deemed still a threat to a society.  That part....you don't get over.


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