Paperbacks: Endgame 1945, by David Stafford

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The Independent Culture

The last century's great drama yields another great book. As the Axis leaders crumble - his clothes spattered with food, Hitler marries Eva Braun, while Mussolini, dressed in a German uniform, is captured by partisans while pretending to sleep - Stafford follows the fortunes of a handful of individuals at the fag-end of the war. His epic narrative is illuminated with telling detail.

Somehow, morality endured amid the horrors. When a US officer ordered the killing of prisoners after the SS massacred 81 captured Americans, a GI said: "He murdered them."