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The Swastika: Symbol Beyond Redemption? Paperback – March 4, 2008
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From School Library Journal
YA-Heller does a laudable job of providing the pre-20th-century history, the Nazi-associated infamy, and the punk-era appropriation of this graphical image. The clear, comprehensive, and cogent narrative is illustrated with abundant prints that range from symbol dictionaries and propaganda posters to photos of architecture and textile designs. The author brings into stark illumination how thoroughly the emblem has come to embody Nazi ideology and how its meaning has been changed for, seemingly, all subsequent generations. This is a book that is accessible in language and content to most readers, yet it will force even the most sophisticated to rethink and rework their ideas of how images work in the world. A valuable purchase for school and public libraries, as well as for art and design collections.
Francisca Goldsmith, Berkeley Public Library, CA
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Although the author touched on the Asian usage of the swastika, he fell little short regarding the Asian elements of the swastika and its meanings. When my father was stationed in Japan, I had a chance to see many swastikas on Japanese temples and surprised to see swastikas adopted into some of the Japanese samurai families' mon (family crest) during that era of history. One of the more funnier things I have seen was reading a Japanese map and seeing all these red swastikas on the map - each of them showing the location of a temple or a shrine. One of my friends who didn't know any better asked once if that map is showing where all the Nazis live in this area.
The author also wrote some interesting stuff on whether this symbol can ever be save from how we see it today, symbol of evil, racism and hate. The book came to a regretful conclusion that as long as there are large numbers of racists and anti-Semites out there using the swastika for their own purpose and with its history, this symbol can never be reclaim in innocence. In some way, the swastika's fate can be linked with the Confederate Battle Flag. Both will always be associated with racism and hate as long as there are people who will used it as such.
Overall, a very useful book and interesting reading material to anyone who wants to know more about this symbol which apparently been hijacked permanently by Adolf Hitler and those like him.