The Third Reich at War, 1939-1945, by Richard L. Evans
Any historian attempting a survey of Nazi Germany during the second world war confronts formidable challenges. First, the available literature is so huge that it almost defies synthesis in a single volume, however substantial. Second, the author needs to avoid writing yet another Hitler biography. Third, the most appalling and dispiriting material must be studied. As Richard J. Evans writes in his preface, the subject is ‘sometimes shocking and depressing almost beyond belief’. Nevertheless, in this book, the third of his trilogy on Nazism, Evans achieves a remarkable degree of success in meeting the demands of this most intractable subject. He makes a sustained assault on the great mountain of published sources available and presents his summary in a remarkably lucid and vigorous narrative, mercifully free from theory.