Various ebook English-language editions of Adolf Hitler’s magnum opus, Mein Kampf, first published in German in 1928, have over the last year become among the most downloaded political science tracts online.
On Amazon alone, there are over 10 different e-versions of the book, with one of them, a $.99 version, holding the #1 spot in the “Propaganda & Political Psychology” category. On Archive.org, a free ebook version has been downloaded over 100,000 times. The book has also been popular on iTunes.
An analysis piece published earlier this week on Vocativ.com said that the surge in popularity could be attributed to the anti-Semitic political tract’s “following a similar trend to that of smut and romance novels” in that people don’t want to be “spotted reading it on the subway” and “digital copies can be quietly perused then dropped into a folder or deleted.”
The popularity might also be attributed to simple curiosity or scholarship; of the hundreds of reviews on Amazon, a large number seem to be by political science students who extol the scholastic usefulness of having the influential text at their fingertips, while at the same time denouncing Hitler’s acts and, in the words of one commentator, his “very boring” book.
In translation, Mein Kampf has been a bestseller in the Arab world and Turkey, where anti-Semitic propaganda is pervasive in some circles. The World Jewish Congress, which has little sway in the Muslim world, has tried to get Amazon and iTunes to stop carrying Hitler’s screed, but the mega-company, whose owner Jeff Bezos recently purchased The Washington Post, has declined to reply to the request.