Back in 2009, American avant-garde filmmaker Quentin Tarantino released his long-postponed revisionist war movie Inglourious Basterds. The film took over a decade to write, and follows an alternate history of two separate plots to dismantle Nazi Germany during the Second World War. Tarantino gave an interview with HistoryNet on the books he used for research, including titles on life in the trenches, racism in America, and Nazi-era cinema. Read on for the list, and complement with the favorite books of other influential directors.

Occupation: The Ordeal of France 1940–1944 by Ian Ousby

“A very good overview that answered all of my questions about life in Nazi-occupied France.” -QT

The Employment of Negro Troops by Ulysses Lee

“The most profound thing I’ve ever read on both the war and racist America of the 1940s, commissioned by the U.S. Army to examine the effectiveness of their employment of black soldiers. Lee came up with such damning information about the military that it was withheld from public view until 1966. Powerful.” -QT

Ministry of Illusion: Nazi Cinema and Its Afterlife by Eric Rentschler

“A wonderful critical reexamination of German cinema under Joseph Goebbels. Rentschler goes far beyond the demonizing approach employed by most writers on this subject (like Susan Tegel in Nazis and the Cinema). His excerpts from Goebbel’s diaries are priceless. And after all these years he dares to make a fair appraisal of Nazi filmmaker Veit Harlan.” -QT

Leni Riefenstahl: The Fallen Film Goddess by Glenn B. Infield

“The first of many books I’ve read on Fräuline Riefenstahl.” -QT

Leni Riefenstahl by Leni Riefenstahl

“Mesmerizing. Though you can’t believe half of it. That still leaves half to ponder. Her descriptions of normal friendly conversations with Hitler are amazing and ring of truth.” -QT

(via HistoryNet)

Categories: Directors

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