Displaying technical mastery of a wide variety of poetic forms, Snodgrass explores human evil in many of its incarnations. In a series of villanelles and triolets, Magda Goebbels explains why she killed her children when it was clear Germany was losing the war. Hitler describes his sexual obsessions. Stripped of his command, Himmler attempts to predict the future. Interspersed among the monologues are the songs of Old Lady Barkeep who is both chorus and mistress of ceremonies. She sings of the high command's deceit and craftiness and the people's disillusionment with their leaders.
Snodgrass, along with his mentor, Robert Lowell, was responsible for the emergence of American confessional poetry. He won the Pulitzer Prize in 1960 for his first book, Heart's Needle (1959). In 1977 The Fuehrer Bunker: A Cycle of Poems in Progress was nominated for the National Book Critics Circle award for poetry and produced at the American Place Theater. Snodgrass has been Distinguished Professor of Creative Writing and Contemporary Poetry at the University of Delaware.