Cornwell sets out in detail how German scientists (in the main) collaborated with Hitler's regime. Apart from the usual subjects (V weapons, atomic power) he contributes a lengthy and essential background section giving an overview of the development of German science from the mid 19th century on, followed by a thorough examination of the state of most areas of science in the 1930s. (For a deeper look at the development of atomic power - especially the murky question of whether or not the German scientists really tried to develop a weapon - see Atomic: The First War of Physics and the Secret History of the Atom Bomb 1939 -1949: The First War of Physics and the Secret History of the Atom Bomb: 1939-49
Perhaps it might have been helpful to give a wider perspective here on the Nazi period. Scientists collaborated, but so, surely, did most other professional groups? It would have been helpful to see some comparisons.
Cornwell takes his story forward through the Cold War and exploitation, both Western and Soviet, of wartime German science - and, by extension the slave workers who were sacrificed to it. He then turns to the foundations of the post war German economy, which he argues were based, ultimately, on the same slave workers. These were for me the most sobering parts of the book.
He is at pains to draw lessons for the present and the future, and to stress the need for scientists to act responsibly. It's impossible to disagree, but given that scientists are part of the societies they serve, it is hard to see how we can expect much better in the future. This is where the wider context - placing scientists alongside other professions and interest groups - might have been helpful (though at the cost of vastly expanding the scope of the book).