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Bestsellers of the Third Reich: Readers, Writers and the Politics of Literature

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Bestsellers of the Third Reich

Readers, Writers and the Politics of Literature

Christian Adam
Translated from the German by Anne Stokes

326 pages, 22 illus., bibliog., index

ISBN  978-1-80073-039-7 $135.00/£99.00 Hb Not Yet Published (April 2021)

eISBN 978-1-80073-040-3 eBook Not Yet Published

Hb View cartYour country: United States - Click here to remove geolocation   Recommend to your Library Available in GOBI®


Praise for the German edition:
“Draws our attention not only to the breaks in National Socialist cultural policy, but also to the more interesting and generally little-researched continuities.” • Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung

“A study rich in material, but written in a pleasant, reader-friendly style.” • Vorwärts

“Depicts a lost reading landscape in vivid detail … Not only a scholarly study, but an exciting contribution to intellectual history.” • Der Tagesspiegel


Despite the displacement of countless authors, frequent bans of specific titles, and high-profile book burnings, the German book industry boomed during the Nazi period. Notwithstanding the millions of copies of Mein Kampf that were sold, the era’s most popular books were diverse and often surprising in retrospect, despite an oppressive ideological and cultural climate: Huxley’s Brave New World was widely read in the 1930s, while Saint-Exupéry’s Wind, Sand and Stars was a great success during the war years. Bestsellers of the Third Reich surveys this motley collection of books, along with the circumstances of their publication, to provide an innovative new window into the history of Nazi Germany.

Christian Adam is Head of the Publications Department at the Center for Military History and Social Sciences of the Bundeswehr. His previous publications include Der Traum vo Jahre Null: Autoren, Bestseller, Leser (Galiani 2016).

Subject: History: 20th Century to Present Literary Studies
Area: Germany


List of Illustrations
List of Abbreviations

Introduction: ‘Please, God, Keep Me from Writing a Book about Books!’

Part I
Chapter 1. Sifting, Destroying, Controlling and Promoting: The Politics of Literature under the Swastika
Chapter 2. Bestsellers in a Dark Time: Their History and Readers
Chapter 3. Hitler’s and Goebbels’ Bedtime Reading: What Prominent Nazis Liked to Read

Part II: The Ten Most Successful Book Types in the Third Reich
Chapter 4. On the Foundation of Facts: Popular Non-Fiction Works
Chapter 5. The Colour of Money: NS Propaganda Texts
Chapter 6. Not So Quiet on the Western Front: The Boom of War Books
Chapter 7. Laughing through Life, Jolly Volk: Humour and Comedy
Chapter 8. From Medical Romance Novels to Science Fiction: The Themes and Authors of Modern Light Literature
Chapter 9. Commodifying Authentic People’s Literature: Karl May, Courths ­Mahler and the Heroes of Pulp Fiction
Chapter 10. Foreign Narrative Art: Bestsellers from Abroad
Chapter 11. In the Shadow of the Classics: Highbrow Literature
Chapter 12. Blood without Soil: The Successes of National (Social)ist Authors
Chapter 13. Field Grey Pays Dividends: Reading Fodder for Wartime

Conclusion: On the Trail of Bestsellers

Appendix: Selected Bestsellers and their Sales Figures


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