The Infernal Library

On Dictators, the Books They Wrote, and Other Catastrophes of Literacy by Daniel Kalder

  • Published: Sep 04, 2020

"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... read more

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Details of The Infernal Library

Exact title of the book
The Infernal Library
Book author
Daniel Kalder
ISBN
9781627793421
Publisher
Henry Holt and Co.
Published
Mar 06, 2018
Language
English
Format
PDF, FB2, EPUB, MOBI
Pages
400
File size (in PDF)
3600 kB

Some brief overview of book

"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 genreStalin, Mussolini, and Khomeini among themproduced 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 centurys 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.

About author

Kalder is the author of Lost Cosmonaut and Strange Telescopes. He is also a journalist who has contributed to the BBC as well as to Esquire, The Guardian, The Times, The Dallas Morning News, and many other publications. Originally from Fife, Scotland, he lived in Moscow for ten years and currently resides in Central Texas.

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