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?
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