I'm no Nietzsche scholar, but I found this book to be remarkably helpful. I came to it looking for a concise introduction to Nietzsche and his work, and that's precisely what I got. Wicks' approach is roughly chronological, but this is not a biography. He takes the major themes of Nietzsche's thought and follows their development from the abandonment of God through to the embracing of "life" or "existence" (similar notions for Nietzsche, but as Wicks points out they are quite different things). Wicks is very good at exploring the influences on Nietzsche's thought, at situating it in nineteenth-century Europe, and at making fine conceptual distinctions. Refreshingly, he doesn't shy away from Nietzsche's many contradictions. Rather, he acknowledges them and then gives them a generous reading. This is helpful for students, as it allows them to see one possible conclusion but recognises that there may be others. All of Nietzsche's major concepts are explored - the will-to-power, slave morality, the ubermensch - but Wicks smoothly contextualises them so the reader comes to understand them as nuanced evolutions in Nietzsche's thought, and not just notions that can be transplanted into other traditions. Speaking of which, Wicks includes a very insightful chapter on the enduring influence of Nietzsche's work, especially its misunderstood connection with Nazism. As Wicks points out, Hitler clearly admired Nietzsche's idea of the "superman" and there is an unmistakably Nietzschean echo in Hitler's overblown rhetoric and "us vs. them" mentality. But these connections are superficial, and actually shared by many schools of social thought. Nietzsche was no Nazi. He was more often anti-German and anti-nationalist, and would probably have diagnosed Nazism as a violently defensive expression of weak and sickly society. The connection with Nazism is more the fault of Nietzsche's sister who ingratiated herself with European fascists in an attempt to extend the influence of her late brother's work. Wicks caps it all with a helpful glossary of key Nietzschean concepts and terms, detailed footnotes, a thorough index, and a categorized bibliography. The only things missing are a chronology/timeline of Nietzsche's life and publications, and a short statement on the major themes of each.