I've recently started reading Dictator Literature, by Daniel Kalder. I can't give a full review yet, just a few first impressions.
The first thing to say is that I wonder what this book tells us about the author. He is either a masochist, or possibly one of the most benevolent people on the planet, because he has single-handedly trawled through some of the most boring, turgid prose ever written. Perhaps 'waded' would be a better word than 'trawled'.
The book is interesting because Kalder points out where people such as Lenin changed their allegiances and their views, but did so by burying all the contradictions in writings so voluminous and dense that they could be reasonably sure that nobody was going to read them.
Just to bring it all to a personal level, when I was about 17 I did try to read both Mein Kampf (Hitler) and Capital (Marx). I tried reading the former because I wanted to see if Hitler's oratorial skills came through in his writing. I can safely say that had I been a friend of Hitler at the time I might have advised him, as far as writing was concerned, to not give up the day job. As I recall, it had no merit at all, and after about 7 pages I needed a bath.
I read Capital because I thought that the best way of learning about Marxist economics was to read the original source. The reason that I wanted to know about Marxism was that I was studying Economics at the time, and one Economics textbook writer stated that Marx was just a failed Classical economist, while a common somewhat wry observation that the arch Conservative J.M.Keynes was the best exponent of Marxist economics around.
Well, that may all be true, but I would have to take people's word for it because I managed to reach only page 23 of Capital, which was about 2% of the book as far as I could tell. I beat my teacher though: she only managed to get to page 19.
Kalder also makes a few wry observations of his own, such as the statement that intellectuals are always wrong. Absolutely true. In fact, Taleb, in (I think) Antifragile makes the point that it takes a really intelligent person to get things spectacularly (and disastrously) wrong.
I'll be reviewing Dictator Literature more fully in due course, in my newsletter Terry Freedman's Books Bulletin. But if you don't want to wait, then I can honestly say from what I've read so far that if you buy it, you won't be disappointed.
Here's the link to the book on the publisher's page: Dictator Literature.