On January 1, 1933, Hitler seemed destined to return to obscurity. Having suffered devastating blows in the previous November's election, the National Socialist Party was pronounced politically dead by its opponents. Three days later, however, Hitler met clandestinely with ex-chancellor Franz von Papen, who thought he could use the Nazi leader in an alliance to oust then-Chancellor Kurt von Schleicher. Thus began a month of intrigue in which Hitler, though having less than a third of the popular vote, nevertheless successfully pursued an all-or-nothing strategy to become leader of Germany. On January 30, amidst rumors, confusion, and several thwarted attempts to stop the event, Hitler was sworn in as Chancellor, and Germany turned its future over to a madman. Drawing on a lifetime of studying the Nazi regime, and newly available documents, Henry Turner shows how luck, political brinksmanship, and the personal weaknesses of his opponents helped Hitler come to power. He paints vivid portraits of Hitler and the other main players in this political drama - President and aging war hero Marshal Paul von Hindenburg; the miscalculating General von Schleicher (whom Hitler would later murder); and the devious von Papen. Through these characters - and a final brilliant chapter on historical contingency and responsibility - Turner re-establishes the importance of individual actors in the unfolding of historical events.