Ian Kershaw’s book aims to answer just one question: why did the Germans continue to fight even after the second world war was clearly lost? He reviews a number of explanations given, ranging from the reasonable to the ludicrous, and settles on an interpretation of how the Nazi state had been established and how it was still running in 1944-5 that prevented popular rebellion or a military coup, even when almost no one believed the war could still be won. Hitler’s dreaded a 1918-style end to the war, with soldiers’ mutinies and workers’ strikes. He and his regime managed to make these impossible. A beautifully-written, well-researched investigation into a historical nightmare.