In her article, Alison Flood quotes author Chris Faraone that this tome is an e-success as it can be downloaded in the privacy of one's own ipad. Now this is an very informative paragraph and perhaps why Alison Flood expresses concern as to who is watching when purchasing an e-book occurs: This is the critical paragraph -
"Writing on the website Vocativ.com author and journalist Faraone claims that "more than a dozen free English-language versions of Mein Kampf have been downloaded in excess of 100,000 times from the non-profit Internet Archive alone", while paid-for e-versions are outselling Glenn Beck on iTunes and entering the charts on Amazon.com - with a 99-cent version currently topping the retailer's "propaganda and political psychology chart".
There you have it.
Quite realistically, there may be a thousand reasons or more why one might want to read Mein Kampf. I have it in my library, not that I bought it (it is free on-line as above), rather it was given to me and I took the time to read it.
There were several reasons why I read it. One, it's an historical tome for which, as an historian, is of significant academic interest. Two, its key components give a literary source of the philosophy of not only its author but to the enacted policies of the Nazi regime.
Three, it provides a particularly interesting literary style, (mind you the way that more and more people are writing, especially with the Internet) – that is, Mein Kampf reads as as though the author is conveying to the reader, his 'thinking processes', as he writes.
It is this third response which has drawn my attention as academics over the past eighty years have claimed Adolph Hitler was an indifferent writer, where ideas get jumbled up without a clear and precise outcome. The Internet has shown us, that blogs and Facebook and other such mechanisms provide a place whereby the 'thinking process' is itself the explanation and its raw data (as it were).
A book of mazes with words
Reading Mein Kampf with these "set of eyes" brings its core philosophy right out into the open. But to get there, the reader with such eyes, follows the author down a wide variety of side paths that explore this way and that way, but which comes to political dead ends.
Mein Kampf is like a book of mazes but with words. There is a central pathway and hundreds upon hundreds of side tracks that lead nowhere along his political trajectory. Where a pathway leads to renegotiating core political tenants, he turns around and checks out at a different pathway. Main Kampf reads as if you can hear its author thinking (not speaking).
We should not be surprised at any of this, as the experience of WWI trench warfare from the German side, the men could not talk about it in polite conversation, rather they discussed the 'politic' endlessly amongst themselves in beer halls and only a few could write it down. But when written it was in this 'thinking' style.
Take one example of his Mein Kampf discussion, his subject was the Jew. Hitler comes out of the trenches and seen the horrendous hardship of the common German family, then looks at the opulent Jewish sector with their different dress and hair. He asks himself (he's writing as if he is having a thinking conversation): viz - Is this person a German at all?" He's writing what he's thinking (it's a questioning process) and it lent itself to already German prejudices (largely from Martin Luther).
Historians have now been re-evaluating his tome in the light of this literary style, and are now affirming, he didn't find an audience, the audience found him. He pulled off the greatest political hoist of the 20th century. The conservatives were themselves swept aside - as so many of them likewise - felt deeply this same political national heart beat.
But had they read Mein Kampf with the eyes of those who had experience of the trenches, and followed his thinking processes more carefully, and not like the comedy Hogan Heroes, where Commandant Col. Wilhelm Klink has his copy of Mein Kampf as an ornament of 'political correctness' on his desk, history would undoubtedly have been very different.
Lessons in history and theology
Yes, big business knows "who is" and "who is not" buying what. Surely, you don't think those shopping cards that jamb up your wallet / purse are for your benefit? Someone somewhere knows who is purchasing what as the books sellers know that Mein Kempf has hit enormous sales.
But what does all this mean for the bible scholar? For me, it seems like a wake up for those ivory tower biblical scholars who dismiss too readily those who read the bible carefully but without such scholarly honours after their names, just as those same political masters dismissed Hitler and the Nazi's in the twenties and early thirties.
We hear a lot about end times and the biblical announcements where an honest reading of the bible provides possible interpretations that can lend themselves to a range of possible events - past, present and future (particularly that of Israel).
My cautionary word to the professional biblical scholar is not to be too much of a stick-in-the-mud. Sometimes, just sometimes, these passionate students of the bible - get it right.
Dr Mark Tronson is a Baptist minister (retired) who served as the Australian cricket team chaplain for 17 years (2000 ret) and established Life After Cricket in 2001. He was recognised by the Olympic Ministry Medal in 2009 presented by Carl Lewis Olympian of the Century. He mentors young writers and has written 24 books, and enjoys writing. He is married to Delma, with four adult children and grand-children.
Mark Tronson's archive of articles can be viewed at www.pressserviceinternational.org/mark-tronson.html