The relationship between belief and behavior is a subject that deserves the continued attention of social scientists, psychologists, and historians. It is also a matter that has concerned intellectuals pursuing authenticity. While it is difficult to propose satisfactory generalizations about the determinants of this relationship, sociologists and many historians are inclined to believe that the environment, or situations, matter far more than beliefs in shaping and influencing political (and other) behavior. One of the messages of Daniel Kalder’s Infernal Library is that strident, convoluted, mendacious, and hate-filled writings can have considerable impact: “This is the danger of dictator books: they hide in plain sight, and their sheer awfulness makes it impossible to believe in their power to infiltrate and transform brains until it is much too late.”

 

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