Reading the Reich
Researching Hitler's library, Timothy Ryback finds uneasy truths about a book burner's book learning.
Hitler's Private Library:
The Books That Shaped His Life
by Timothy W. Ryback
$25.95 List Price
Timothy Ryback, a lithe, affable fifty-four-year-old, originally from Michigan, is in his favorite Paris haunt, the dark upstairs library of the bookstore Shakespeare & Company, on the rue de la Bûcherie. A haven for serendipity—Ryback pulls down a volume at random and it turns out to be a history of the Bodley Head press, his publisher in Britain—the store is also a peculiarly American testament to a belief in literature and its endurance. Founded in 1951, by an American expat, George Whitman, it revived the name of the legendary store opened in 1919 by Sylvia Beach, who published the first edition of Joyce's Ulysses. In a fitting tribute to literary and biological genealogy, Whitman's twenty-seven-year-old daughter, Sylvia Beach Whitman, now runs the store. This sense of continuity and resilience, of the quiet
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