After World War II, Germany lay in ruins. Konrad Adenauer deserves much of the credit for raising West Germany to a position of economic prosperity and making it a respected free-world ally. After the Nazis came to power in 1933, Adenauer was stripped of all his political positions, imprisoned, and then sent to a concentration camp. But after the war he organized a new party, the Christian Democratic Union and in 1949 he became West Germany's first chancellor, retiring after four consecutive re-elections in 1963. Charles Williams' biography of this 20th-century statesman is also a history of modern Germany.