He was, of course, a man better known for burning books than collecting them and yet by the time he died, aged 56, Adolf Hitler owned an estimated 16,000 volumes the works of historians, philosophers, poets, playwrights and novelists. A passionate reader, his worldview was largely formed by the books he read. or more than fifty years the remnants of Hitler s private library occupied shelf-space in climate-controlled obscurity in the rare book division of the Library of Congress in Washington. Timothy Ryback is the first to systematically explore this remarkable collection, as well as several other caches which he subsequently discovered in Europe and elsewhere. The volumes in Hitler s library are fascinating in themselves but it is the marginalia the comments, the exclamation marks, the questions and underlinings even the dirty thumbprints on the pages of a book he read in the trenches of the First World War which are so revealing. Together they take us closer to the man and his thinking than ever seemed possible. Hitler s Private Library provides us with a remarkable view of Hitler s evolution and unparalleled insights into his emotional and intellectual world. Ut
Timothy W. Ryback is the author of The Last Survivor- Legacies of Dachau, a New York Times Notable Book for 1999, and he has written for The Atlantic, The New Yorker, and The New York Times. He is the co-director of the Institute for Historical Justice and Reconciliation. He currently lives in Paris.