No modern philosopher has been more maligned and misunderstood or more cynically exploited than Friedrich Nietzsche. Physically handicapped by weak eyesight, violent headaches and bouts of nausea, this paradoxical thinker fashioned a philosophy, which made short shrift of self-pity and the ostentatious display of compassion. The son of a Lutheran clergyman, whom he adored, he became a fearless agnostic who proclaimed, in Thus Spake Zarathustra that 'God is dead!' Of modest bourgeois origins, he detested middle-class conformity, and turned to an uncompromising cult of 'aristocratic radicalism'. Nietzsche was the first major philosopher to place psychology, rather than mathematics, logic, physics, or history, at the very centre of his thinking. The wealth and diversity of Nietzsche's aphorisms and brief essays - close to 2,700 - make him the most seminal and provocative thinker of modern times. Many of his aphorisms, highly personal statements of his likes and dislikes, are puzzling. They become truly comprehensible only within the context of his restless life, revealed in this enthralling biography.