Robert B. Parker’s fond of having his characters in his Spenser novels say, “Hitler liked dogs” as a way of illustrating how even the worst antagonist might have some refined or sympathetic characteristics. This month’s Atlantic Monthly also illustrates that Hitler liked books and was somewhat well-read.
As author Timothy Ryback recounts, Hitler gathered a large library beginning after World War I and collected books until his suicide. Ryback discovers a large amount of “dialoging with the text” wherein Hitler makes margin notes and underlines passages. This marginalia provides a sort of insight into his thought’s developments. The article’s a fascinating read.
Let this be a lesson to sophisticates, academics, and aesthetes who look down their noses at people with less formal education or less widely read in those contemporary “classics” that dictate the intellectually “in.” Being well-read differs from being good, or being right.