Hitler's Private Library, By Timothy W. Ryback

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The Independent Culture

Depressing for those who believe in the ameliorative power of literature, Hitler was a great book lover. The 1,200 surviving volumes of his library were removed to the Library of Congress where they were ignored until Ryback surveyed them in 2001.

His exploration of books that "possessed emotional or intellectual significance for Hitler" is of the greatest interest. These works range from a guidebook to Berlin that sparked Hitler's desire to make it "the capital of the world" to Madison Grant's chilling racist tract The Passing of the Great Race.

The career resurgence described in Carlyle's biography of Frederick the Great provided unjustified solace in the Berlin bunker. More encouragement would have been provided by Nostradamus, who predicted Britain would be "steeped in blood" by 1939, but the book was unread.

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