What Where They Thinking?

Max Gallo is a respected French historian and journalist who authored a history of 20th-century posters. He’s also an expert on World War II and the author of The Night of Long Knives, which tells the story of the 1934 purge of Hitler’s former ally Ernst Roehm, head of the SA (featured in the illustration above and below). The subject is a defining aspect of the legacy of terror that was Nazi Germany, and has been covered in literature and film. The purge took place in a hotel where the leadership was caught literally with its pants down.

Nonetheless, one wonders why Warner Paperback Library would camp it up so much on the cover of Gallo’s American edition. Granted, the original version (at bottom) was a very bad design, but isn’t there something in between? Thanks to Mirko Ilic (erstwhile digger-upper-of-things-rare-and-weird) for finding this and causing me to ask the question to my new occasional feature: What were they thinking?

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About Steven Heller

Steven Heller is the co-chair of the SVA MFA Designer /Designer as Author + Entrepreneur program, writes frequently for Wired and Design Observer. He is also the author of over 170 books on design and visual culture. He received the 1999 AIGA Medal and is the 2011 recipient of the Smithsonian National Design Award.

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