I enjoyed reading this in-depth book on the tumultuous life of one of Hitler’s more shadowy and largely misunderstood henchmen. While prominent and influential in Nazidom, Goebbels makes for a better study as a misguided and fanatical devotee than the architect of a significant national propaganda machine. With the help of archival material, including diaries, Historian Longerich carefully explores and repudiates a number of popular myths associated with the infamous Nazi Minister of Propaganda. The early part of his life was shrouded in narcissistic struggles to establish himself as a novelist, an intellectual, a nationalist and, ultimately, someone accepted by his peers. Failure continually beset him in his efforts to find a chosen career, until, in the chaotic years following WW I, Goebbels, a product of the lower middle-class, found his center of the universe in the person of Adolf Hitler and the vision of a renewed Germany. The challenge then was to make it work for his skill set. The thirties became that time when Goebbels plotted his ascendancy by developing and promoting the Fuhrer cult through mass rallies, pageants, and a network of press agencies throughout the Reich. This task was made easy by the fact that Hitler was raking up ‘stupendous’ victories at home and abroad. However, the forties became a different story when Goebbels found it increasingly difficult to fabricate any positive propaganda out of a war effort that wasn’t going very well. It was during these trying times that Goebbels attempted, with little success, to move Hitler towards a more unified state of total war. The problem there was that the Third Reich, by that time, was hopelessly mired in a fragmented state of government by gauleiter rule. All Hitler’s henchmen had their own devilish plans for winning the war, and Goebbels was left to make sense of the growing mess. In the end, Goebbels went down with the ship and captain because, in his own delusional way, he had given himself no alternative.