Black Angelsby Rupert Butler
In Nazi Germany the SS was an instrument of terror and repression. From them sprang the Waffen-SS, a superbly trained paramilitary force wich rolled back the Allied Armies in Poland, Russia and France, numbering over half a million men by the end of the war. This detailed history looks closely at the dual identity of the SS formations--as a hand-picked elite of magnificent fighting men and as a force of cruel fanatics capable of hideous atrocities.
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If you enjoy reading about Germany's war history then you will enjoy this book.
This is well written and gives a good overview of the wafen SS. It also focuses on a different geography in the Battle of the Bulge, and shows the frustration of the SS before and during the battle. It makes no excuses for atrocities, as 'Das Reich' does, but it does explain the difference between the thug guards at concentration camps & fighting units. Butler tells how Himmler kept including thugs and criminals into the Wafen SS to keep the SS hard. He also tells how the SS recruited from Army punishment battalions. He calls them criminals but ignores the fact that a soldier in a punishment battalion could have committed a minor infraction in front of the wrong noncom or officer. He is accurate in saying that the SS recruited criminal inmates from camps, but he doesn't mention that a criminal could have been guilty of stealing a loaf of bread or giving extra food to a Pole. Butler pays tribute to the teenagers in the SS, who had the highest fatality rate and the sadness that many of them came from non-Nazi families that disowned their sons. He talks of the wierdness of Himmler, who even recruited Balkin Muslims, who began an unauthorized jihad against the French after trainning. They were disbanded & sent back home. Butler has a POV close enough to keep this from being boring like a text. But he keeps it distant enough to keep a reader from identifying with the SS.