Author Topic: Summer Reading - Mein Kampf?  (Read 1935 times)

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Offline LizaSymonenko

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Summer Reading - Mein Kampf?
« on: June 27, 2013, 12:26:03 PM »

The kids have been given a list of books to read over the summer and write an essay for school credit.

Mein Kampf is one of the books.

I've not read it, and am therefore, asking what others who have read it, think about it.

My nephew is a teenager, who is a huge WWII fan.  Every year I give him Christmas presents based on a theme he was interested in that year.  One year he was all about building stuff, and I got him a real tool set, drill, etc.   One year he was always helping in the kitchen, so I got him cooking lessons, oven mitts, his own kitchen implements, etc.  This year he's in High School and all about WWII.  So, I got him an old Russian helmet, some WWII medals, books, movies, etc.

Now, he's asking that I buy him Mein Kampf so he can read it.

I love this kid, and am always worried that society doesn't warp his mind.  I don't want him to be overly politically correct, nor do I want him to be racist, biggot, etc. 

I want him to "know" things, but, I fear that in the knowing he doesn't get overly negatively influenced.

I know I worry too much, but, those who have kids in their families will agree, that whomever the kid hangs out with, has a great influence on them.  You will see the "friend" reflected in the child - their mannerisms, beliefs, opinions, etc. 

Teens are very easily molded and influenced, even if they think they are not.

Therefore, is it beneficial to read Mein Kampf, to realize the level of hatred that did and does exist in the world, and to see that inaction leads to horrible actions.

Or, is it detrimental, so the kid doesn't read about all the hatred, prejudice, etc. and start to agree with it?

Again, I've not read it, and don't know to what degree it might influence the reader.

Anyone read it and have an opinion on it?

(If I do buy it for him, I will be sure to read it first, so, he and I can discuss it.)
Conquer evil men by your gentle kindness, and make zealous men wonder at your goodness. Put the lover of legality to shame by your compassion. With the afflicted be afflicted in mind. Love all men, but keep distant from all men.
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Offline Ansgar

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Re: Summer Reading - Mein Kampf?
« Reply #1 on: June 27, 2013, 12:30:01 PM »
When you say teenager, how old is that exactly?
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Offline LizaSymonenko

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Re: Summer Reading - Mein Kampf?
« Reply #2 on: June 27, 2013, 12:30:57 PM »

16
Conquer evil men by your gentle kindness, and make zealous men wonder at your goodness. Put the lover of legality to shame by your compassion. With the afflicted be afflicted in mind. Love all men, but keep distant from all men.
—St. Isaac of Syria

Offline ialmisry

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Re: Summer Reading - Mein Kampf?
« Reply #3 on: June 27, 2013, 12:32:11 PM »

The kids have been given a list of books to read over the summer and write an essay for school credit.

Mein Kampf is one of the books.

I've not read it, and am therefore, asking what others who have read it, think about it.

My nephew is a teenager, who is a huge WWII fan.  Every year I give him Christmas presents based on a theme he was interested in that year.  One year he was all about building stuff, and I got him a real tool set, drill, etc.   One year he was always helping in the kitchen, so I got him cooking lessons, oven mitts, his own kitchen implements, etc.  This year he's in High School and all about WWII.  So, I got him an old Russian helmet, some WWII medals, books, movies, etc.

Now, he's asking that I buy him Mein Kampf so he can read it.

I love this kid, and am always worried that society doesn't warp his mind.  I don't want him to be overly politically correct, nor do I want him to be racist, biggot, etc. 

I want him to "know" things, but, I fear that in the knowing he doesn't get overly negatively influenced.

I know I worry too much, but, those who have kids in their families will agree, that whomever the kid hangs out with, has a great influence on them.  You will see the "friend" reflected in the child - their mannerisms, beliefs, opinions, etc. 

Teens are very easily molded and influenced, even if they think they are not.

Therefore, is it beneficial to read Mein Kampf, to realize the level of hatred that did and does exist in the world, and to see that inaction leads to horrible actions.

Or, is it detrimental, so the kid doesn't read about all the hatred, prejudice, etc. and start to agree with it?

Again, I've not read it, and don't know to what degree it might influence the reader.

Anyone read it and have an opinion on it?

(If I do buy it for him, I will be sure to read it first, so, he and I can discuss it.)

If you can get a copy that has explanations in it (he rambles on touching on things well known to the interwar German audience, but not today's America), it would be better.

How old is he? Did he tell you why he wanted to read it?
Question a friend, perhaps he did not do it; but if he did anything so that he may do it no more.
A hasty quarrel kindles fire,
and urgent strife sheds blood.
If you blow on a spark, it will glow;
if you spit on it, it will be put out;
                           and both come out of your mouth

Offline Ansgar

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Re: Summer Reading - Mein Kampf?
« Reply #4 on: June 27, 2013, 12:34:09 PM »

16

Hmm, I think, that if his interest in WWII is merely historical, you could buy it. However, a perhaps easier solution could be to find it at a library.
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Re: Summer Reading - Mein Kampf?
« Reply #5 on: June 27, 2013, 12:34:54 PM »
I have not read it, but I have heard that Hitler wrote what he would do in the book, and he did it. Your son could learn about and from history by reading this. If he attends college, the book will probably be discussed at some point whether he reads it now or not, so maybe have him read it while you are there to answer any questions -- Just a thought.

Offline Alpo

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Re: Summer Reading - Mein Kampf?
« Reply #6 on: June 27, 2013, 12:36:30 PM »
I don't think anyone will turn into racist after reading Mein Kampf. It's so obvious piece of propaganda. No harm giving him a copy.
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Offline ialmisry

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Re: Summer Reading - Mein Kampf?
« Reply #7 on: June 27, 2013, 12:49:41 PM »
I don't think anyone will turn into racist after reading Mein Kampf. It's so obvious piece of propaganda. No harm giving him a copy.
The German elections prove otherwise.
Question a friend, perhaps he did not do it; but if he did anything so that he may do it no more.
A hasty quarrel kindles fire,
and urgent strife sheds blood.
If you blow on a spark, it will glow;
if you spit on it, it will be put out;
                           and both come out of your mouth

Offline ialmisry

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Re: Summer Reading - Mein Kampf?
« Reply #8 on: June 27, 2013, 12:50:43 PM »
Make sure it is a full version: some versions are abridged to take out the more offensive parts.  Such a sanitized version is even more dangerous.
Question a friend, perhaps he did not do it; but if he did anything so that he may do it no more.
A hasty quarrel kindles fire,
and urgent strife sheds blood.
If you blow on a spark, it will glow;
if you spit on it, it will be put out;
                           and both come out of your mouth

Offline Cyrillic

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Re: Summer Reading - Mein Kampf?
« Reply #9 on: June 27, 2013, 12:53:43 PM »
The book is horribly written and it is hardly readable. Very boring.
« Last Edit: June 27, 2013, 12:53:52 PM by Cyrillic »
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Offline orthonorm

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Re: Summer Reading - Mein Kampf?
« Reply #10 on: June 27, 2013, 12:54:36 PM »

16

He is in America I am guessing?

Mein Kampf I don't think needs to be required reading anymore than I think The Diary of Anne Frank needs to be. Both are equally driven by fantasy and gross misunderstanding and there are a lot more interesting things to read than either.

That being said, I would only be concerned if your nephew begins showing symptoms exhibited by some this board's members regarding the text and the Fuehrer.

I think most Americans at 16 are too young to read Mein Kampf not because they might become Nazis overnight, but because the most interesting critiques of the text are rather subtle and require a greater degree of education and experience in life than most American 16 year olds have.

« Last Edit: June 27, 2013, 12:55:00 PM by orthonorm »
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Offline orthonorm

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Re: Summer Reading - Mein Kampf?
« Reply #11 on: June 27, 2013, 12:57:18 PM »
Make sure it is a full version: some versions are abridged to take out the more offensive parts.  Such a sanitized version is even more dangerous.

I don't remember being particularly offended by any of it. What do they redact? I agree redacted texts in light of sanitization, if not dangerous, are products of stupidity.
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Offline Ansgar

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Re: Summer Reading - Mein Kampf?
« Reply #12 on: June 27, 2013, 12:58:19 PM »

16

He is in America I am guessing?

Mein Kampf I don't think needs to be required reading anymore than I think The Diary of Anne Frank needs to be. Both are equally driven by fantasy and gross misunderstanding and there are a lot more interesting things to read than either.

That being said, I would only be concerned if your nephew begins showing symptoms exhibited by some this board's members regarding the text and the Fuehrer.

I think most Americans at 16 are too young to read Mein Kampf not because they might become Nazis overnight, but because the most interesting critiques of the text are rather subtle and require a greater degree of education and experience in life than most American 16 year olds have.



What do you think about it, orthonorm?
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Offline orthonorm

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Re: Summer Reading - Mein Kampf?
« Reply #13 on: June 27, 2013, 12:59:18 PM »

The kids have been given a list of books to read over the summer and write an essay for school credit.

Mein Kampf is one of the books.

I've not read it, and am therefore, asking what others who have read it, think about it.

My nephew is a teenager, who is a huge WWII fan.  Every year I give him Christmas presents based on a theme he was interested in that year.  One year he was all about building stuff, and I got him a real tool set, drill, etc.   One year he was always helping in the kitchen, so I got him cooking lessons, oven mitts, his own kitchen implements, etc.  This year he's in High School and all about WWII.  So, I got him an old Russian helmet, some WWII medals, books, movies, etc.

Now, he's asking that I buy him Mein Kampf so he can read it.

I love this kid, and am always worried that society doesn't warp his mind.  I don't want him to be overly politically correct, nor do I want him to be racist, biggot, etc. 

I want him to "know" things, but, I fear that in the knowing he doesn't get overly negatively influenced.

I know I worry too much, but, those who have kids in their families will agree, that whomever the kid hangs out with, has a great influence on them.  You will see the "friend" reflected in the child - their mannerisms, beliefs, opinions, etc. 

Teens are very easily molded and influenced, even if they think they are not.

Therefore, is it beneficial to read Mein Kampf, to realize the level of hatred that did and does exist in the world, and to see that inaction leads to horrible actions.

Or, is it detrimental, so the kid doesn't read about all the hatred, prejudice, etc. and start to agree with it?

Again, I've not read it, and don't know to what degree it might influence the reader.

Anyone read it and have an opinion on it?

(If I do buy it for him, I will be sure to read it first, so, he and I can discuss it.)

If you can get a copy that has explanations in it (he rambles on touching on things well known to the interwar German audience, but not today's America), it would be better.

How old is he? Did he tell you why he wanted to read it?

The annotated editions make the already long text even longer. Does anyone really want to spend a summer in 600+ pages of this stuff, if you aren't getting paid to do so?
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Offline orthonorm

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Re: Summer Reading - Mein Kampf?
« Reply #14 on: June 27, 2013, 01:02:27 PM »
Isa, if you care, I remember hearing about the motherlode of critical editions being prepared in Germany amid growing consensus to have it "unbanned". A quick bing brought up this link to an article published by the Goethe Institute:

Scholars Are Planning a Critically Annotated Edition of “Mein Kampf”

http://www.goethe.de/ges/pok/dun/en5700740.htm
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Offline Orthodox11

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Re: Summer Reading - Mein Kampf?
« Reply #15 on: June 27, 2013, 01:17:39 PM »
I read it a long time ago. From what I remember of it, I can't see how it could convince anyone of anything unless they were already predisposed towards such ideas.

Offline orthonorm

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Re: Summer Reading - Mein Kampf?
« Reply #16 on: June 27, 2013, 01:32:57 PM »

16

He is in America I am guessing?

Mein Kampf I don't think needs to be required reading anymore than I think The Diary of Anne Frank needs to be. Both are equally driven by fantasy and gross misunderstanding and there are a lot more interesting things to read than either.

That being said, I would only be concerned if your nephew begins showing symptoms exhibited by some this board's members regarding the text and the Fuehrer.

I think most Americans at 16 are too young to read Mein Kampf not because they might become Nazis overnight, but because the most interesting critiques of the text are rather subtle and require a greater degree of education and experience in life than most American 16 year olds have.



What do you think about it, orthonorm?

I think it is a text you should read if someone pays you to do so or you can work into to project you are getting paid to do. It's been a long time since I "read" it. I use quotes as I didn't read like I do most other things. There most interesting aspects of it are mirrored everywhere during this time.

My problem with the idea of it being a "dangerous book" goes to the notion the Nazi Germany was the result of some crazy guy.

I am not a big fan of the Great Men of History way of reading things. But this is an easy way of reading and frankly borders more on the mythic than historic, which is why I understand the more "conservative" argument in America to teach good ol' history in grade school. Because we are not teaching kids history, that is a stupid notion, kids can't understand history. We are teaching them our myths. And like all myths, you gotta have your heroes and gods. And in a surprising turn, I agree with these conservatives.

I think children need to learn the dominant myths which are productive in their lives, so later when they stumble over history as such, and the gods begin to fall, they will be able to properly critique the function of the myths their world lives by. This is also why I was a "conservative" parent much to the surprise of many who knew how I thought and then saw how I treated the children I had care of. But this goes even further from your question.

So i am going to stop here. I need to do something useful.

EDIT: Oh, the most interesting aspect of Mein Kampf can be had by studying most of anything in the GSW at that time. I am not a big history person, but I was forced / persuaded to really learn about the Weimar Period and its decline, so I really can't see Hitler as some exception or Zeitgeist or whatever.

« Last Edit: June 27, 2013, 01:35:28 PM by orthonorm »
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Offline ialmisry

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Re: Summer Reading - Mein Kampf?
« Reply #17 on: June 27, 2013, 01:37:36 PM »
Isa, if you care, I remember hearing about the motherlode of critical editions being prepared in Germany amid growing consensus to have it "unbanned". A quick bing brought up this link to an article published by the Goethe Institute:

Scholars Are Planning a Critically Annotated Edition of “Mein Kampf”

http://www.goethe.de/ges/pok/dun/en5700740.htm
Ja, it is supposed to come out in 2015 right before the copyright expires.  The idea is that the Bavarian government (who owns the copyright) will issue that so when the copyright expires and Neo-nazis can begin issuing their own versions, we will be ready.
Question a friend, perhaps he did not do it; but if he did anything so that he may do it no more.
A hasty quarrel kindles fire,
and urgent strife sheds blood.
If you blow on a spark, it will glow;
if you spit on it, it will be put out;
                           and both come out of your mouth

Offline Ansgar

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Re: Summer Reading - Mein Kampf?
« Reply #18 on: June 27, 2013, 01:39:52 PM »

16

He is in America I am guessing?

Mein Kampf I don't think needs to be required reading anymore than I think The Diary of Anne Frank needs to be. Both are equally driven by fantasy and gross misunderstanding and there are a lot more interesting things to read than either.

That being said, I would only be concerned if your nephew begins showing symptoms exhibited by some this board's members regarding the text and the Fuehrer.

I think most Americans at 16 are too young to read Mein Kampf not because they might become Nazis overnight, but because the most interesting critiques of the text are rather subtle and require a greater degree of education and experience in life than most American 16 year olds have.



What do you think about it, orthonorm?

I think it is a text you should read if someone pays you to do so or you can work into to project you are getting paid to do. It's been a long time since I "read" it. I use quotes as I didn't read like I do most other things. There most interesting aspects of it are mirrored everywhere during this time.

My problem with the idea of it being a "dangerous book" goes to the notion the Nazi Germany was the result of some crazy guy.

I am not a big fan of the Great Men of History way of reading things. But this is an easy way of reading and frankly borders more on the mythic than historic, which is why I understand the more "conservative" argument in America to teach good ol' history in grade school. Because we are not teaching kids history, that is a stupid notion, kids can't understand history. We are teaching them our myths. And like all myths, you gotta have your heroes and gods. And in a surprising turn, I agree with these conservatives.

I think children need to learn the dominant myths which are productive in their lives, so later when they stumble over history as such, and the gods begin to fall, they will be able to properly critique the function of the myths their world lives by. This is also why I was a "conservative" parent much to the surprise of many who knew how I thought and then saw how I treated the children I had care of. But this goes even further from your question.

So i am going to stop here. I need to do something useful.

EDIT: Oh, the most interesting aspect of Mein Kampf can be had by studying most of anything in the GSW at that time. I am not a big history person, but I was forced / persuaded to really learn about the Weimar Period and its decline, so I really can't see Hitler as some exception or Zeitgeist or whatever.



I am probably going to regret asking such a question, but what exactly is "good ol' history"? Is it that history is a result of many different events and actions that takes place over a shorter or longer period of time? Or is it something different.

remember, I am not an american. I don't how you guys do school.
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Offline ialmisry

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Re: Summer Reading - Mein Kampf?
« Reply #19 on: June 27, 2013, 01:40:34 PM »
Make sure it is a full version: some versions are abridged to take out the more offensive parts.  Such a sanitized version is even more dangerous.

I don't remember being particularly offended by any of it. What do they redact? I agree redacted texts in light of sanitization, if not dangerous, are products of stupidity.
I don't recall exactly, but the Nazis sued Alan Cranston because he translated and published those parts.
Question a friend, perhaps he did not do it; but if he did anything so that he may do it no more.
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If you blow on a spark, it will glow;
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                           and both come out of your mouth

Offline Alpo

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Re: Summer Reading - Mein Kampf?
« Reply #20 on: June 27, 2013, 01:45:39 PM »
I don't think anyone will turn into racist after reading Mein Kampf. It's so obvious piece of propaganda. No harm giving him a copy.
The German elections prove otherwise.

You actually believe that Americans are going to start building gaschambers just because they're exposed to Mein Kampf?
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Re: Summer Reading - Mein Kampf?
« Reply #21 on: June 27, 2013, 10:16:03 PM »
I don't think anyone will turn into racist after reading Mein Kampf. It's so obvious piece of propaganda. No harm giving him a copy.
The German elections prove otherwise.

You actually believe that Americans are going to start building gaschambers just because they're exposed to Mein Kampf?

I don't know about Antarctica where you live, but here in the greatest nation in the universe we have a lot of wackos who, while they probably have never gotten through the first five pages of Chancellor Hitler's (right title? have to be proper) infamous advertisement, think that His Excellency is all that, even though he was just another twit raised to power through a democratic process.
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Re: Summer Reading - Mein Kampf?
« Reply #22 on: June 28, 2013, 10:17:00 AM »
I don't think anyone will turn into racist after reading Mein Kampf. It's so obvious piece of propaganda. No harm giving him a copy.
The German elections prove otherwise.

So, avoid it?  Since there are no elections right now, I guess the worst that could happen would be someone, after reading it, would race to join the Ku Klux Klan?
« Last Edit: June 28, 2013, 10:21:37 AM by scamandrius »
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Offline ialmisry

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Re: Summer Reading - Mein Kampf?
« Reply #23 on: June 28, 2013, 10:36:58 AM »
I don't think anyone will turn into racist after reading Mein Kampf. It's so obvious piece of propaganda. No harm giving him a copy.
The German elections prove otherwise.

So, avoid it?  Since there are no elections right now, I guess the worst that could happen would be someone, after reading it, would race to join the Ku Klux Klan?
and that would be a good thing?
Question a friend, perhaps he did not do it; but if he did anything so that he may do it no more.
A hasty quarrel kindles fire,
and urgent strife sheds blood.
If you blow on a spark, it will glow;
if you spit on it, it will be put out;
                           and both come out of your mouth

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Re: Summer Reading - Mein Kampf?
« Reply #24 on: June 28, 2013, 10:50:52 AM »
I don't think anyone will turn into racist after reading Mein Kampf. It's so obvious piece of propaganda. No harm giving him a copy.
The German elections prove otherwise.

So, avoid it?  Since there are no elections right now, I guess the worst that could happen would be someone, after reading it, would race to join the Ku Klux Klan?
and that would be a good thing?

Of course not. But if you believe that will happen after reading Mein Kampf, you really don't have much faith in anyone to make good decisions, do you?
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Re: Summer Reading - Mein Kampf?
« Reply #25 on: June 29, 2013, 12:47:43 AM »
I got nothing.
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Re: Summer Reading - Mein Kampf?
« Reply #26 on: June 29, 2013, 09:15:56 PM »

The kids have been given a list of books to read over the summer and write an essay for school credit.

Mein Kampf is one of the books.

I've not read it, and am therefore, asking what others who have read it, think about it.

My nephew is a teenager, who is a huge WWII fan.  Every year I give him Christmas presents based on a theme he was interested in that year.  One year he was all about building stuff, and I got him a real tool set, drill, etc.   One year he was always helping in the kitchen, so I got him cooking lessons, oven mitts, his own kitchen implements, etc.  This year he's in High School and all about WWII.  So, I got him an old Russian helmet, some WWII medals, books, movies, etc.

Now, he's asking that I buy him Mein Kampf so he can read it.

I love this kid, and am always worried that society doesn't warp his mind.  I don't want him to be overly politically correct, nor do I want him to be racist, biggot, etc.  

I want him to "know" things, but, I fear that in the knowing he doesn't get overly negatively influenced.

I know I worry too much, but, those who have kids in their families will agree, that whomever the kid hangs out with, has a great influence on them.  You will see the "friend" reflected in the child - their mannerisms, beliefs, opinions, etc.  

Teens are very easily molded and influenced, even if they think they are not.

Therefore, is it beneficial to read Mein Kampf, to realize the level of hatred that did and does exist in the world, and to see that inaction leads to horrible actions.

Or, is it detrimental, so the kid doesn't read about all the hatred, prejudice, etc. and start to agree with it?

Again, I've not read it, and don't know to what degree it might influence the reader.

Anyone read it and have an opinion on it?

(If I do buy it for him, I will be sure to read it first, so, he and I can discuss it.)


The definitive edition for reading would probably be the Ralph Manheim translation:

http://www.amazon.com/Mein-Kampf-Adolf-Hitler/dp/0395925037/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1372555418&sr=8-1&keywords=mein+kampf+ralph+manheim

It comes with a great introductory essay outlining why the book is important and the dark future it foretold.

This Ford translation is a good alternate, and is probably better for a teenage reader from a stylistic point of view. http://www.amazon.com/Mein-Kampf-Ford-Translation-ebook/dp/B004LDLI0S/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1372555690&sr=8-1&keywords=mein+kampf+michael+ford

Even if the book list doesn't recommend it, the book Lying About Hitler is probably also worth a read, for explaining Holocaust deniers and their fabrications. http://www.amazon.com/Lying-About-Hitler-Richard-Evans/dp/0465021530/ref=sr_1_cc_1?s=aps&ie=UTF8&qid=1372555771&sr=1-1-catcorr&keywords=lying+about+hitler
« Last Edit: June 29, 2013, 09:20:31 PM by ironchapman »
"The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, and wiser people so full of doubts." --Bertrand Russell