While in Prison for an attempted coup, Hitler authored a part autobiography and part manifesto titled "Mein Kampf", which is German for "My Struggle". Before he went to prison, Hitler was just a relatively obscure political activist who was known only for speaking in beer halls about the issues of the day. However, after writing his book which outlined his ideas on race, societal collapse, and economics, he became one of the most famous men in Europe. His book became especially popular in Germany, mostly because it fed on a lingering antisemitism by blaming the decade long depression on Jews. Hitler's book sold millions of copies, and Hitler only grew in popularity as more Germans read about his ideas for a new German state. Eventually, Hitler would become the Chancellor of Germany, initiate a mass genocide that killed more than 6 million Jews, and instigate a global conflict that would kill over 70 million and lead to the creation of a new world order.
Following the Civil War, there were many writings by white authors on the future of blacks in America. These writings mainly focused on the generosity of well meaning white people or the perceived limited ability of black people. W.E.B Du Bois however, outlined an idealism for the future of blacks in America that would materialize into the philosophy of the civil rights movements later in the 20th century. Other black intellectuals like Booker T. Washington proposed theories that blacks should focus on economic improvement instead of equal rights. Du Bois argued, controversially, that not only should blacks seek economic advancement, but voting rights, employment rights, and all the opportunities afforded to white people. Du Bois described the struggle of black identity and introduced white audiences to the inter workings of a black mind that they previously thought did not exist.
This book built on a burgeoning labor movement in the United States, that would ultimately lead to the progressive movement. The progressive movement gave birth to labor unions, health regulations, and a complete overhaul of workers rights. Upton Sinclair described class poverty and the corrupting influence of big business. Sinclair's writings made the public angry and demanded action from officials as high as the President of the United States. Sinclair's book inspired a number of federal reforms and a conversation about the rights of workers that has lasted over a century.
During Reconstruction, former confederates formed secret societies to terrorize African Americans and preserve the culture of white supremacy. After reconstruction, the societies disappeared for the most part, replaced by casual lynch mobs. This book however revived interest in these secret organizations, one in particular called the Imperial Knights of the Ku Klux Klan. This book romanticized the Klan as not racists motivated by hatred of minorities, but as protectors of American Liberty. There was a rebirth of the Klan, thousands of people marched the streets in parades, and the movie "The Birth of a Nation" was inspired by the novel. Even after the Klan's numbers dwindled, Americans still carried anti black sentiments that were partially incensed by this book. Following it's publishing, and praise by the President of the United States, several Southern States started fashioning Jim Crow laws to roll back the progress made during Reconstruction.
After World War 2 it was almost impossible for most people, including those who had lived in Europe, to comprehend the terror of the holocaust or the lives of Jews in the Third Reich. Groups began to emerge to promote holocaust denial and antisemitism was still very much prevalent, even in allied countries. This wasn't necessarily due to a blind hatred for Jewish people, but rather a collective ignorance about the individual experiences of Jews during the holocaust. The Diary of Anne Frank provided one of the most vivid and personal accounts of the struggles of a life in hiding. Following the publishing of Anne Frank's diary, the general population gained a greater empathy for the Jewish people and an aversion to antisemitism. Anne Frank's diary is now regularly included in school curriculums and her story is emblematic of the millions of stories that has left the world free of Jewish genocide.
The Equal Right's movement did not make considerable progress after women gained enfranchisement in 1919. Despite being one of the reasons the United States was victorious in World War 2, due to their active role in manufacturing ammunitions and providing domestic stability. Women had limited opportunities for employment, few protections from discrimination, and sexism was deeply ingrained in American culture. When Betty Friedan released her book, The Feminine Mystique, which identified "the problem that has no name" or simply, the general unhappiness of women. Friedan's argument that the image of women that had been cultivated over the last few decades was detrimental to their progress. Friedan's ideas liberated millions of women in America, and lead to the birth of a new feminist movement. The results of this movement would be record high female employment, graduation rates, and thousands of women elected to local, state, and national office over the next 50 years.
This book, perhaps unintentionally, introduced a character in American culture that will probably define the next decade. During the 1970s and for most of the 80s, Donald J. Trump was mainly known for two things. First, he and his father had been sued multiple times by the justice department for racially profiling black tenants. Second, being a generally obnoxious Manhattan socialite. After this book however, Donald Trump the man disappeared and Donald Trump the myth emerged. The book presented Trump as shrewd businessman, immensely knowledgeable about the world, and of course a consummate deal maker. This book would create a perception about Trump that would persist despite several failed businesses, multiple bankruptcies, millions of dollars in debt, and no obvious evidence that he's an exceptional businessman. But the writing was so convincing, that 29 years after the publishing, Trump managed, in spite of all odds, to be elected the 45th President of the United States of America. His Presidency, which has been shaped by populism, authoritarianism, and nationalism will almost certainly affect American Democracy for years to come.