An absolute dog's breakfast""-a favorite Montgomery expression, is applied here to the German command structure facing the Allies from their continental stronghold in 1940; there were consequences. Fred Majdalany, using the knowledge and techniques of The Battle of Cassino, El Alamein, tackles the story of the fall of Festung Europa in a consistently interesting popular treatment. Here is Hitler in the Wolf's Lair, dealing with his prickly generals Guderian against Operation Barbarossa; von Rundstedt asserting that another war with Britain would be fatal to Germany; Rommel eternally begging for supplies, siding with Hitler on the likely site of the Allies' final thrust onto the continent. Here is Paulus Cunctator (early assessed as an officer who could not make up his mind) facing Chuikov at Stalingrad. Majdalany goes where the action is on all fronts (and behind them--the defection of Italy, the plot on Hitler's life), moving as easily as an air observer. Diaries (Goebbels, Ciano), letters (Rommel to his wife, his fifteen-year-old-son called up for Luftwaffe duly) inject an intimacy, immediacy. Majdalany is fully in command. A volume in the Crossroads of World History series.