Sir Ian Kershaw is a prize-winning historian who has devoted himself to the study of Hitler and his time. In "The End," he has produced more than a history. Rather, he has performed a detailed anatomy of the conclusion of World War II in Europe from the post-D-Day breakout to the surrender of Germany. It is grim reading, stupefying in its detail of the horrible Nazi and Russian atrocities visited upon civilians.
George Kennan has called World War I "the original catastrophe." And indeed it was, as it destroyed old and fairly stable empires and led to World War II, a global conflict of incredible carnage, destruction and genocide that challenges our very definition of what it means to be human.