Have you ever been confronted by a book that meets any of the above criteria? If you have, what does it say about the society within which you live? If you pick it up and read it, what does it say about you? And what, in the end, can you say about it?
I’ve had such a book in my possession since the late 1960’s. It is a copy in hard cover of ” Mein Kampf ” published by Hutchinson of London. The frontispiece identifies it as the Manheim translation with an extensive introduction by D.C. Watt – a reader in International History at the University of London. Wikipedia suggests that it was deliberately published in expensive form to prevent wide circulation; the selling price was $ 13.85 in the old Albert’s Bookshop in Forrest Place, Perth. Bear in mind that the tank of my Renault 10 motor car at the time could be filled nearly three times for that price.
I have kept the book unread on my library shelf between 1969 and 2020 – over 50 years – and for most of that time have not known why…both why I kept it and why I did not read it. In the meantime I have taken two trips to Germany, met many German people alive at the time it was first published, visited Nürnberg, and paced the lanes of the Dachau KZL. I’ve bottled up any thoughts about it but still saw the spine of the book there all that time. Why? Why have I not sent it away as I have so many other publications over the intervening years?
And why should I take it down earlier this year, open the first page, and start reading? I thought I had no answer to this, but gradually as the months have passed I think I have arrived at a real reason: I am looking for a real reason.
The reason I am looking for is why the German people did what they did.