Monday, November 19, 2012


My mum had bought this book and kept it in the shelf last year. Ever since I saw it during my last vacation, my mind had started contemplating about Adolf Hitler and his connection with World War II. I desperately needed a break from work and so during this Diwali holidays, I did nothing but ate good homemade food, slept a lot and read this book: Adolf Hitler by James Bunting.

There is nothing noteworthy about this one. Its more of a collection of facts. Right from the first chapter I felt negative energy radiating out of it. Its a short account of Hitler's life and, the rise and fall of Third Reich. When I read the first chapter titled "The Misfit", it was quite a revelation for me. It brought out a series of disturbing facts about Hitler's family background. His parents were cousins and his mother's first marriage was to her half brother which produced only retarded children. Although Hitler was apparently normal his thoughts were mostly pessimistic. He never blended well with the society. As a boy, he always boasted himself to be a great artist with his works of erratic poetry and atrocious paintings. He was not even a German by birth. It was during his teenage years that a professor and a monk seeded anti-Semitic ideas into his brain.  Even though these ideas were not his own, he believed in them irrationally. His hatred against Jews magnified when his works weren't received well by anyone.

As a result of World War I, Germany's economy was very badly hit. People wanted to witness improvement quickly. Hitler's highly provocative speeches about the nation's future made him very popular which eventually led to World War II. It wouldn't be a surprise to note that the Nazi regime was full of sadists; most of them with criminal records. Like his father, he insanely seduced any woman walking across the street. As the book says, since he could not accept failures, he had suicidal tendencies. He made many attempts to kill himself during his youth.

During the beginning of World War II, all he wanted was to get back all the German territories lost in World War I (Treaty of Versailles). When his attempts failed, he decided to take over the world forming Axis with another of his kind: Benito Mussolini. If you would like to know more about his madness and insanity, read the book. The book itself has many grammatical errors. Having said that, it presents an interesting fact. Hitler's biography My Struggle is full of errors and his German was not at all good.

Alright now what did I get from this book? As most of you know, arranged marriages are still prevalent in India. In the process both families - boy's and the girl's, do an informal background check on each other to get a fair idea of how good the family is: does the family has any criminal background, major health issues, are we related to them by any chance, other facts which might be unacceptable, etc? After reading this book, it made me very clear why this process is so important. Another important thing to note is, whenever someone criticizes your work, take it as a positive message. At least it will stop you from being under the illusion "I am really good!" Instead be thankful to that critic who hasn't found your work impressive and take it as "I need to work more to improve my skills" What's more? Hitler's thought process can be used as a subject to study psychology and educate people to align their actions fall in the path of righteousness. 

The last lines of this book are The greatest tyrant of out our day and age is dead and buried. Let us hope and pray that another like him will never be allowed to rise again. This made me think of Osama Bin Laden...

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Kane & Abel

I had heard a lot about this novel, so I thought let me pick it up. It is the tale of  of two boys growing up to become prominent men in America. Despite having troublesome childhoods, they have the will to achieve their objectives. One born to a rich banker of USA and another born in a forest of Poland. It focuses about their struggle in life and how they crossed roads with each other although both are from different worlds.

The story passes through famous historic events of the west; starting from the unfortunate sinking of the Titanic, the Russian Revolution, the Great Depression of 1930, the Prohibition Era, the World War  and finally the assassination of John F. Kennedy which filled me enlightening facts. The flow of the story is rather predictable with some twists and turns. But it still kept me absorbed through out the book. While Kane becomes a well established banker, Abel establishes an empire of hotels. Their lives are interwoven by trivial incidents which become quite important later as the plot thickens causing intense rivalry between them. I wonder why this book is not made into a movie. While I read it, the images in my mind are so much similar to a screenplay of a blockbuster movie. Overall its a very good read and very gripping. Initially it may seem a little slow, but later it picks up pace very fast. Although this is my first read of Jeffery Archer, as one might expect, the climax is really good. Fifty pages spans for three to five years or more. I had to take a short break and look around me to make sure the time is - now. Apart from the main plot, one can learn a great deal about finance and commerce. 

This  paragraph contains spoiler. Read it when you are done reading the book. There are two events which touched me the most. One is when Kane criticizes Matthew, his closest childhood friend, for becoming a womanizer and an alcoholic and neglecting his work at the bank. He also finds out Matthew's irregularities are irreparable.  It is through his doctor Kane finds out about the situation when Matthew has just got three more months to live. Matthew has got cancer for over a year and he hasn't told anyone, not even his family. Another sequence of events brings out the  noble character of Alan Loyd. Kane competes against him for the chairmanship of the bank and loses. Kane hates to work under Loyd. Later, Loyd helps Kane to become the chairman at another bank and helps him to setup his family in New York. Then Kane realizes his mistake to suspect Loyd's abilities and generosity was a grave one.