One is reluctant to criticize an essay so full of moving references to the author's concentration-camp experience. But too often the remainder is either pat or nebulous. Apart from his refusal to deal with recent work on Allied complicity in the holocaust, Phillips' interpretation of Nazism suffers from superficiality. His emphasis on the powerlessness of small citizens and officials and his recognition that not many of the SS were simple sadists or thugs lead him no further than generalizations about a split between reason and ideals. Not only does Phillips ignore the political economics of rearmament, Lebensraum and forced labor, his historical overview makes only cursory connections with World War I. The book might serve as an ancillary question-raiser for introductory historical studies. There is a summary of industrial revolution/romanticism themes and a call for understanding rather than ""pharisaical moralizing."" And Phillips appraises recent scholarship on Nazism. Unfortunately, in his zeal to demolish simplistic national-character explanations of the Third Reich he treats issues like crude eating on the same level as charges of chronic militarism. Moreover the style is perhaps too donnish for the readers who could get the most out of the content.