Ludendorff prolonged WWI by refusing to accept defeat. A great military tactician and administrator had become the most militant victory fanatic, ordering his troops to fight past every realistic sign that the war was over and that Germany had lost it. The other German generals had recognized his madness, could even document the course of his crack-up and eventually dealt with it. Mr. Goodspeed spreads the record out and brings it down to the appalling post-war days (Ludendorff lived until 1937) during which the once great general courted attention from the growing Nazi party. His was the officer image that the SS men could rally to and he ranted in person and in pamphlets an ideology made up of anti-Semitism and anti-Catholicism and racial purity. In Ludendorff's prime, he had manipulated behind the figure of Hindenburg, engineered the Belgium invasion and withstood the Russian onslaught. He started crumbling when he was assigned to the Western Front. The author makes this a study of the rise of a military genius totally inhibited by any understanding of humanity or political reality. Mr. Goodspeed examines the factors that made the man possible and then impossible. It's good popular biography, instructive military history, and WWI continues to draw the buffs.