My name is Matthew Sweet. Hitler, My Hero is my first novel.
The project began with William Shirer’s The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich. Its fourth page contains the following passage:
“A few moments later they witnessed the miracle. The man with the Charlie Chaplin mustache, who had been a down-and-out tramp in Vienna in his youth, an unknown soldier of World War I, a derelict in Munich in the first grim postwar days, the somewhat comical leader of the Beer Hall Putsch, this spellbinder who was not even German but Austrian, and who was only forty-three years old, had just been administered the oath as Chancellor of the German Reich.”
Couple the above observations with Hitler’s foreigh policy triumphs, his wartime conquests, his promising but ultimately disastrous campaign in the East and his suicide alongside the love of his life in a besieged Berlin. What do you get? In my case, the following marginalia: Self-help, Hitler style.
In that moment, that is what I envisioned: a parody of the archetypical rags-to-riches story with Herr Hitler as the protagonist. Further, I imagined the story told in a way that caused the reader not only to sympathise with Hitler, but to feel an authentic mixture of compassion and admiration for all that he was and all that he did.
That idea faded quickly, however. Not only did I not reckon myself a possessor of the wit and competence required to pull off such a parody, I sensed a deeper mystery. One that, to me, held greater appeal. What would happen if Hitler really was deified? How would our perception of Hitler’s words, thoughts and deeds change if we tore away the lenses of morality and propriety? More importantly, who would be capable of such a vision and why would he or she think it necessary or valuable to propagate it? My non-answer arrived in the character of James Barker, an amoral trickster intent on releasing cognitive dissonance into the world at large.
These questions and that character are the dirt within which Hitler, My Hero is rooted and it is my hope that from such ground a beautiful flower will grow. Time will tell, I suppose.
I’ll be drip-publishing chapters online as soon as they are completed. Once the entire book is done it will go up for sale via the normal channels and possibly via some unusual ones.
Subscribe below to stay informed about the novel’s progress, production and release. Subscribers will also have the opportunity to beta-read chapters in advance of publication. (Note: beta-readers receive chapters in a Google doc with time-sensitive access. I also prefer them to make a distinction between macro- and micro-edits and to frame their commentary using the five elements.
WHO AM I?
I’m an independent creator whose primary medium is the written word. I used to write daily, and then twice-weekly, about mastery, strategy and practical philosophy. Now I write and publish with no particular schedule about no particular subject. I also do some editorial work for others. I live in beautiful Devon, in the often-absurd United Kingdom.
My main body of work (1000+ posts) exists at SwellandCut.com. I self-published my first book in 2016 and Hitler, My Hero will be the second book from a growing pipeline. My writing has ended up in a few places (full list here) but what I am most proud of is my second essay for Ribbonfarm: Near-Deathness represents a compression of a few years of my thinking, a definite shift in the semantic version of my self.
Contact and Other Actions:
The easiest way to contact me is via email: matt at swellandcut.com. I prefer to use email for correspondence instead of capture, so I tend to respond. Feedback, ideas and questions are all encouraged as well as appreciated and considered. Keep in mind that I operate by “Crocker’s Rules“, which are as follows:
Declaring yourself to be operating by “Crocker’s Rules” means that other people are allowed to optimize their messages for information, not for being nice to you. Crocker’s Rules means that you have accepted full responsibility for the operation of your own mind – if you’re offended, it’s your fault. Anyone is allowed to call you a moron and claim to be doing you a favor. (Which, in point of fact, they would be. One of the big problems with this culture is that everyone’s afraid to tell you you’re wrong, or they think they have to dance around it.)
I try to be active on Twitter, too. If you want to read more of my writing go to the archive and check out the bolded posts. Or opt for a random post. Also of note are a few interviews I’ve conducted.