Monthly Archives: January 2014

Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought

You might have heard that Mein Kampf is a bestseller again. It’s been one for a while overseas, but this seems worse because it’s here in the U.S.

I was curious to see who’s buying it.

If you look at most book listings on Amazon, you’ll see a section of the page that says, Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought, and it will list other books that customers may be interested in.

Strangely — and there must be an interesting reason why — Amazon doesn’t have one for this book. Who are they covering up for? I dunno.

Politico points out, “Nearly all of the 5-Star reviews on Amazon are crediting the book as simply being valuable to our historical record.”

I don’t agree with those reviews. That’s fine for historians, but that doesn’t mean it belongs on a bestseller list. I had to read it for my novel, and even had a Nazi character quoting from it, but there are better ways to understand what motivated Hitler’s followers.

If you’re interested in learning the history of the Nazi period, I strongly suggest starting with an understanding of what happened earlier. If you’re not up on European history, you don’t really want to be learning it directly from Adolf Hitler.

In fact, I’ll repeat that: If you’re not up on European history, you don’t want to learn it from Adolf Hitler.

But if you do want to jump deep into the 1920s, I recommend two titles:

When Money Dies by Adam Fergusson is about the currency crisis of the 1920s when hyperinflation wiped out any incentive to save money. You will understand more about the character of the times.

The Economic Consequences of the Peace by John Maynard Keynes is another good one. Speaking of saving money, it’s available free at Gutenberg.org and in free audio at Librivox.org.

You can still pay for it at Amazon if you’d rather avoid downloading the ebook yourself.

It’s about the Treaty of Versailles. The treaty was worse than you think. Keynes tears it apart.

Keynes was best known for writing The General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money, which, curiously, Human Events once listed as among the “Ten Most Harmful Books of the 19th and 20th Centuries.” But that’s beside the point. To be fair, even Milton Friedman didn’t take that harsh a view of Keynes’s ideas. And Friedman probably agreed with Keynes on the Treaty of Versailles.