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Mein Kampf: Official Nazi English Translation Paperback – April 14, 2009
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Beyond the anger, hatred, bigotry, and self-aggrandizing, Mein Kampf is saddled with tortured prose, meandering narrative, and tangled metaphors (one person was described as "a thorn in the eyes of venal officials"). That said, it is an incredibly important book. It is foolish to think that the Holocaust could not happen again, especially if World War II and its horrors are forgotten. As an Amazon.com reader has pointed out, "If you want to learn about why the Holocaust happened, you can't avoid reading the words of the man who was most responsible for it happening." Mein Kampf, therefore, must be read as a reminder that evil can all too easily grow. --Sunny Delaney
Top Customer Reviews
This translation, The Reynal & Hitchcock is my personal favorite. It was translated by a scholarly committee and is taken directly from the German. I consider it closest to the original and many people agree. There are, however, others who prefer the Murphy translation and yet others who claim the Manheim is superior.
The Reynal & Hitchcock has no negative comments about Hitler. Nor does it appear to endorse his words. On the other hand, the Manheim has a definite bias. I feel that the Reynal & Hitchcock is the most fair and true to the actual words of Hitler.
This book is a difficult read because the Germans don't seem to know what a period is. The sentences go on and on with only a comma now and then. But in the Reynal & Hitchcock you'll find unfamiliar words explained. The notes and annotations are absolutely wonderful.
I own the 1939 edition and love it. One other thing I'll say is this: The name of Henry Ford was taken out of Manheim. I'm not sure if it's in Murphy or not. But it is in Reynal & Hitchcock.
Now a few words about Mein Kampf -- the book. I assume if you're reading this review you already know about Mein Kampf and have perhaps read it or read part of it. But if not, perhaps a few words are in order.
Mein Kampf is an interesting look into the mind of Hitler and it is interesting how we can see some of the same characteristics running in numerous people in office today. If we don't know history, we're apt to repeat it.
Indeed, Hitler might even have won a Nobel Peace Prize based on his promises and the excitement he created in people before they really got to know him had the prize been given in those days! Certainly such greats as JFK and Churchill gave him glowing compliments.
Why did people follow Hitler? Knowing what we do now, it's easy to think the German people were stupid. The truth is the country had suffered a severe punishing war and hyperinflation -- money was worthless. They needed a real leader.
Hitler promised everyone everything. He was just the "right" person for that particular time. If times had been different, he would not have risen to power in all likelihood.
I find Hitler part genius, part psychopath.
The book -- no matter what translation -- is a must-read. It's a classic. It's a book that gives you insight into one of the most important minds of the 20th Century and in all of history.
Why should you read any translation of Mein Kampf? Sun Tzu said you must know your enemy. We read about those we regard as dangerous, or wrong or criminal in order to avoid that type of individual ever encroaching into power again. We also read to understand that person in relationship to the times in which he lived.
Just as Hitler knew his dreaded enemy, the Communist Party and Karl Marx, we should know Hitler, the Fascist dictator. Hitler didn't take on an issue or an enemy without knowing it inside-out. In that regard, he was brilliant. He knew what he was fighting. He knew the enemy.
I highly recommend this translation and the book. If you want a totally Americanized translation, consider Mein Kampf (The Ford Translation) and for a delightful read that will tell you all about the life of Hitler in a most colorful way, read Adolf Hitler: The Definitive Biography by the prize winning author, John Toland.
- Susanna K. Hutcheson
I have read the 1943 Manheim translation, the 1939 Murphy translation, the 1939 Reynal & Hitchcock translation and the 2009 Ford translation. All have their own particular merits, and all appeal to certain audiences. The Manheim appeals to the scholarly and is indeed a faithful, word-for-word translation of Mein Kampf. However, it is incomplete. Further, following it in places can be very confusing in the English language, and many people I know have simply put it down in frustration. It's obviously a scholar's edition, as the German-language footnotes attest.
The Reynal & Hitchcock edition is a better flowing edition than the Manheim, in my opinion, but has been out of print since 1943, when the Manheim was published by Houghton-Mifflin. Why? Because Houghton-Mifflin did not want to pay royalties to Reynal & Hitchcock for their translation, so Ralph Manheim was commissioned for a new translation, which is, in fact, clumsier than the original.
The Murphy edition is far shorter, a fairly easy read for those who speak/read British English and have a decent vocabulary. However, it is paraphrased - as Murphy read a paragraph and put it into his own words. Not Hitler's words, but in most places, true to the meaning. But in some places, he misses the point (as Ford's book about the MEIN KAMPF translation controversy points out). So if you want Hitler, you won't get it from Murphy...
Onto Ford's translation... The thing I like about this translation is that it strikes me as a true PEOPLE's EDITION of Mein Kampf. It is COMPLETE and TRUE to the original, but being a PEOPLE'S EDITION does NOT mean that it is dumbed-down. It simply means it is readable, flows well and keeps the reader's interest throughout. EVERY READER'S INTEREST. And that was exactly what the author, Adolf Hitler, wanted. He wanted EVERYONE in his country to read his book. Not just the university professor. It wasn't for the elite few. It was for the bus driver, the soldier, the unemployed - it made no difference! It was for everyone. In German, it flowed (and still flows) fine. But when translated to English, it doesn't flow so well, as various translations prove. However, with the Ford translation, it flows VERY WELL. It has been restored to its former status and is once again for EVERYONE.
Couple this with Ford's explanatory notes in the text as well as his added 27 pages of pictures that show key people and places mentioned by Hitler, and this makes an edition of Mein Kampf that has yet to be beaten.