Gestapo: Hitler's Secret Terror PoliceGestapo by Lucas Saul
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Gestapo by Lucas Saul is a reasonable summary overview of the Gestapo, but didn’t quite have enough detail for me. If you didn’t know anything about the Gestapo before then it might be an OK place to start, although wikipedia would be cheaper.


Gestapo by Lucas Saul

Gestapo by Lucas Saul doesn’t quite live up to the promise of the blurb. What I was hoping for was some analysis of how the Gestapo was formed, where its staff came from and why they joined up.

Plaque on former gestapo and communist secret ...
Plaque on former gestapo and communist secret police building, Łódź 7 Anstadta Street (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

What you get with this book is a rough chronological history of the Gestapo, and their involvement in the atrocities commited by the nazi state. You also get a series of dramatis personae with pictures and a potted biography. Frankly a lot of this is readily available through wikipedia and other sources. It is collected here for you and presented with a sensible reading order. What it needs more of is the analysis of who these people were and why they ended up in the gestapo that the book blurb suggested. I note that Amazon appear to have withdrawn it from sale, so perhaps too many people have complained.

Over the 12 years of its existence nazi Germany employed tens of thousands of people in the secret police. The East German state would do largely the same thing with even more people over its forty year span. So how did these German states persuade ordinary people to put in place a political police that repressed dissent and removed enemies of the state? This book should try to tell you, but it doesn’t.

I was disappointed by this book (hence only two stars) and wouldn’t recommend it. Go start here instead

View all my reviews