Sunday, March 27, 2016

Peter Ross Range

Peter Ross Range's latest book is 1924: The Year That Made Hitler. From his Q & A with Deborah Kalb:
Q: Why did you decide to focus on 1924, and why do you see it as “the year that made Hitler”?

A: I discovered a gap in the literature regarding Hitler’s year in prison. It is discussed in all the biographies but no one had ever done a whole book just on this pivotal year (actually it is 16 months from the failure of the Beer Hall Putsch in November 1923 to Hitler’s re-founding of the Nazi Party in February 1925).

And, to my surprise, no one had ever done a book, in English or in German, on Hitler’s notorious treason trial, which catapulted Hitler into the national limelight in Germany. And clearly the writing of Mein Kampf deserved a closer look, I thought.

Hitler said that “the failure of the putsch was perhaps the greatest good fortune of my life.” He recognized that without having been halted in his tracks, his revolutionary approach to gaining power in Germany would have been doomed to failure. The putsch ended that phase of his political life; the year in prison guided him to the next phase, the electoral phase—the one that eventually succeeded.

While in prison Hitler went from impetuous revolutionary to patient political player. Serving prison time bent the arc of Hitler’s trajectory from simple outrage to careful strategizing. His months in prison were his time of reflection, his 40 days in the wilderness—a period that hardened his world view and fed his soaring belief in himself and his mission to save Germany. He went from mere megalomaniac to messianic maniac obsessed with his savior’s mission.

Writing Mein Kampf also significantly fed Hitler’s self-belief. The book’s most important audience was...[read on]
--Marshal Zeringue