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Publisher's Summary

The Infernal Library is a harrowing audiobook tour of "dictator literature" in the 20th 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 20th century despots enjoyed unprecedented print runs to (literally) captive audiences. The titans of the genre - Stalin, Mussolini, and Khomeini among them - produced 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, journalist 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 century’s 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.

©2018 Daniel Kalder (P)2018 Macmillan Audio

What listeners say about The Infernal Library

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amazing book!!

I absolutely loved this book. the author has clearly done a ton of research and it really shows.

1 person found this helpful

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It's unique but, seems to be missing something.

This book isn't much about the actual writings but, rather a history of those writings. I was hoping more for a primer on propaganda and how it works.
3 stars because you will learn a branch history little covered and incredibly important.