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Mark C. Yerger
Mark C. Yerger of Lancaster, PA has over the last few years been making quite a name for himself with his steady stream of historical studies of the SS. Recently he was kind enough to send us several of his books and we have thus taken this opportunity to present a survey of his works.
Otto Kumm. Winnipeg: Fedorowicz, 1989.
Knights of Steel: The Structure, Development and Personalities of the 2.SS-Panzer-Division "Das Reich," volume 1: Divisional Commanders, Divisional Staff, Panzer Regiment, Artillery Regiment. Hershey, PA: Self-published, 1989.
Knights of Steel, The Structure, Development and Personalities of the 2.SS-Panzer-Division "Das Reich," volume 2: Motorcycle Battalion, Assault Gun Detachment, Battle Group "Das Reich," Engineer Battalion. Lancaster, PA: Self-published, 1994.
Acknowledgments; Foreword; Introduction; photos; documents; orders of battle; diagrams; addendum to volume one; bibliography.
Continuing the series on the component units of "Das Reich" Division, this volume presents detailed information on formation, location, movement, combat action, and dissolution of each element. Lists of unit commanders and sub-unit commanders. Biographical sketches of commanders with service records. Photos on nearly every page.
Ernst August Krag. Atglen, PA: Schiffer Publishing, 1996.
Foreword; Introduction; Epilogue; photos; documents
Krag spent much of the war as commander of Das Reich's assault gun and recon units, and was one of its most decorated officers. Fifteen pages of text provide his biography with emphasis on the actions that won his medals. The remainder of the book is a photo gallery of Krag, his comrades, and their equipment. The biographical text is also included in German at the back of the volume.
Images of the Waffen-SS: A Photo Chronicle of Germany's Elite Troops. Atglen, PA: Schiffer Publishing, 1996.
Unlike Yerger's other volumes, this book is purely a photo album with only brief captions and no other text. Pictures span the entire war and cover every front where SS troops were involved. With very few ceremonial photos and relatively few posed portraits, these are for the most part informal snapshots of troops and equipment. Much uniform and insignia detail, and many AFV shots apparently selected with the military modeler in mind.
Riding East: The SS Cavalry Brigade in Poland and Russia, 1939-42. Atglen, PA: Schiffer, 1996.
Allgemeine-SS: The Commands, Units and Leaders of the General SS. Atglen, PA: Schiffer Publishing, 1997.
Acknowledgements; Introduction; photos; maps; Bibliography; Glossary; Index.
Here Yerger moves beyond the Waffen-SS to the political and administrative SS police and regional organizations and commanders. With considerably fewer photos than his earlier works, this tome feels almost like a statistical survey as it covers the overall organization of the SS, successive leaders of all the various branches, Oberabschnitte ("Main District") and Abschnitte (District) offices, local Standarten, and so on. Quite an impressive compilation of data.
Waffen-SS Commanders: The Army, Corps and Division Leaders of a Legend, Volume 1: Augsberger - Kreutz. Forthcoming from Schiffer.
While these volumes provide their share of chilling photos and queasy realizations, unlike some other authors who have sensationalized and glorified the SS, Mark Yerger has largely succeeded with his more academic and apolitical approach to the material. Even after more than fifty years, though, there remains for many people a distinct residue of unpleasantness about studying the SS. For serious researchers these books are nevertheless of much value. On the other hand, those displeased simply by the sight of swastika armbands and SS runes should avoid all these books. Those actually attracted to such iconography and the underlying NSDAP philosophy are invited to take themselves elsewhere.
Available through mail order booksellers and local bookstores. Knights of Steel, volume two, self-published, is available directly from the author while the other volumes are also available from their respective publishers.
Thanks to Mark Yerger for providing these review copies.
Reviewed 15 April 1997
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