History, Department of


Date of this Version

Spring 1992


Published in Central European History, Vol. 25, No. 1 (1992), pp. 117-119 Published by Cambridge University Press on behalf of Conference Group for Central European History of the American Historical Association. Used by permission.


Nazi cultural policy has only recently begun to attract a level of scholarly attention commensurate with its importance. Having relied for decades on memoirs, fragmentary documentary publications, and impressionistic accounts, historians are now devoting their energies to systematic, in-depth studies of the experiences of artists, performers, and writers under National Socialism. Margaret F. Stieg's book augments this expanding literature by focusing on an institution that was central to the dissemination of culture and knowledge: the public library. The central theme of Stieg's study is, perhaps not surprisingly, the politicization of libraries and librarianship: "In its fully developed form the Nazi public library defines the political public library" (p. 2). ... The book is impressively documented and presents a wealth of new material on the apparatus of censorship, the role of public libraries in the cultural politics of border regions, and the impact of national library policy on German Catholicism.

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