Joachim Fest's account seems to be a biography of National Socialism. It it, he brings the main characters of the Nazi regime into light and shows that without them, the Third Reich would not have been the way we see it today. Adolf Hitler, Hermann Goering, Joseph Goebbels, Reinhard Heydrich, Heinrich Himmler, Martin Bormann, Ernst Roehm, Franz von Papen, Alfred Rosenberg, Joachim von Ribbentrop, Rudolf Hess, Albert Speer, Hans Frank, Baldur von Schirach, the Officer Corps of the Third Reich, Intellectuals and National Socialism, the role of women in Nazi Germany, and finally Rudolf Hoess. Occasionally, the book seems to be a little overwhelming, yet it keeps you interested and the author presents the facts in an interesting fashion. Fest brings to light the fact that each individual played a role in the workings of this regime and without them would never have been what it appears to be today. The author also seems to stress that it was Hitler himself who was the only ! unique individual in the face of Nazism. He was the only one who was intelligent and who saw and carried out what he wanted to be a greater German Reich. All the rest were all just a bunch of stupid, mindless men that blindly followed their Fuehrer in an attempt to hide themselves as failures in life and achieve their ultimate goal, which was power, even if it would mean becoming the pieces in a huge machine of destruction that the world had never seen in its history. Auschwitz kommandant Rudolf Hoess was responsible for the millions that perished in his camp, yet he later claimed that he "also had a heart and was not evil." This statement alone is all the more terrifying because in a sense, it is the truth. I can practically guarantee that you will not be sorry for reading this book. Fest's portrait of National Socialism and Modern Totalitarianism is essential for anyone who is curious in the workings and men of this terrifying era in history.