The Infernal Library is a harrowing audiobook 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 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.
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by Daniel Kirk
by Daniel Abraham
by Daniel Defoe
by Daniel Pinkwater
by Daniel Klein
by Daniel Levine
"Could the current disintegration of society, seen in public shaming and hardening opinions, lead to totalitarianism? Author Daniel Kalder looks at dictators' writings and their effects. Narrator Chris Ciulla delivers Kalder's survey of dictator literature, delighting in the author's mocking tones. The discussion starts with Vladimir Lenin, whom he dubs an "armchair terrorist," noting that the Soviet revolutionary was himself inspired by a novel and remade himself in the hero's image. The work continues through Turkmenbashi, whose writings and regime first piqued Kalder's interest in this topic. Since he focuses the rulers' own writings, this is not a complete history of ideology or tyranny, but a fascinating discussion of the often dangerous power of words. J.A.S. © AudioFile 2018, Portland, Maine"
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