This is a very general review of the SS that discredits and demeans it at every opportunity.
This generally works except when overbroad generalizations are made about the militarized portion of the SS, the Waffen-SS, which was minuscule until about 1942 but, man for man, is generally considered to have out-performed the regular German army in World War II, the Wehrmacht. The author (or authors, see discussion below) contend that the Waffen-SS was generally no better than the Wehrmacht but provide no evidence to support their contentions, other than broad generalizations, e.g., about numbers of injuries that establish nothing, and a comment that other portions of the German Army advanced slightly farther and faster than the Waffen-SS during the Ardennes offensive. But as one Waffen-SS commander noted even before that offensive: "The twists and turns on the path/roads we are expected to manouever our tanks and armor are so tortuous we would probably travel faster on bicycles." The author(s) go on to repeatedly decry the West's glorification of the Waffen-SS as a premier fighting force because to him (them) the mere fact that these soldiers fought under the tangential auspices of the SS means that no matter what they did or how they performed it does not deserve any praise of any kind for any reason whatsoever.
The book is broken down into six chapters. Each chapter lists two authors, the designated author of the book itself, German popular journalist Guido Knopp, and another person. No information is given on why the other person is listed as a co-author or what was their contribution.
Each chapter is also interspersed with quotations from people who were involved in the matters being discussed. Sometimes this is helpful but, for the most part, the quotations interrupt the flow of the text (and often contradict it). In addition, too many of the same people are quoted too many times, with less effect each time. For example, one Communist opponent of the early Nazis is repeatedly quoted that the Nazis were not good people and killed opponents, such as Communists. Do we need a Communist (who also killed their opponents, such as Nazis) to tell us this? Indeed, the authors quote one Communist as bragging that before the Nazis came to power when the Nazis came marching down his block he and his Communist cohorts, when they could, made sure they trapped the Nazis and they did not leave, i.e., they killed the Nazis.
An exception are quotations from the memoirs of the widow of Reinhard Heydrich (at one point the apparent no. 2 man in the SS), which are by turns perverse, bizzare, or intriguing, depending on your point of view.
The six chapters are on (1) the beginnings of the SS, (2) background on the SS's primary leader, Heinrich Himmler, (3) background on Reinhard Heydrich, Himmler's second in command until Heydrich's assassination in May 1942, (4) a review of the concentration camp system and mass deaths that resulted, (5) the (non)exploits of the Waffen-SS, and (6) a review of post-World War II activities of the SS, mainly escapes and escape routes from Germany by former SS members and/or avoidance of "victor's justice" at the hands of the Allies, former occupied countries and territories, and Israel.
The chapters suffer from overblown generalizations and sheer exaggeration to make a point as well as what appear to be misstatements.
For example, the author(s) claim membership in the SA, the forerunner or precursor of the SS, at its height was over 4 million, yet every account I have read before this numbers the SA at its height at no more than 3 million (and it is often credited at no more than 2 1/2 million). (The author(s) provide no bibliography or footnotes to support any of their claims, althoug occasionally sources are referred to in the text.)
Also, the author(s) claim Himmler did not have an especially strict father, yet a recent review by noted historian Richard Rhodes, in his work "Masters of Death," claims just the opposite, that Himmler's father was extremly strict. (Mr. Rhode's work, by the way, contains a precis' of Himmler's background and Weltanschauung that is superior in every way to the one found in this work by Mr. Knopp.)
After the war there was speculation that Mueller had been "turned" by the Soviets or had become a stooge of the U.S. The problem is that Heinrich Mueller is/was a common name in Germany. E.g., there were two different SS-Generals named Heinrich Mueller. After the war the U.S. made an intensive search for Gestapo Mueller and questioned many individuals named Heinrich Mueller, including at least one who was retained at a U.S. internment camp. But as far as anyone knows the U.S. never found Gestapo Mueller: Under the Nazi War Crimes Disclosure act, the U.S. issued a report in about 2001 concluding, after an extensive review of its records (including those of the CIA and CIC (Counter-Intelligence Corps of the U.S. Army), that what happened to Gestapo Mueller after the war is still unknown with any uncertainty but the U.S. never found him, much less interrogated him or, even worse, interrogated him and released him (he was on a list of top Nazi war criminals), and that he probably died in Berlin in early May 1945.
The book does include 30 pictures. With rare exceptions they are all of good quality, although many appear to have been published elsewhere.
The book appears to have been written for popular consumption. It is written at about a high school level of reading. Serious students of the Second World War, the Third Reich, or the SS are unlikely to obtain anything of value from this book. Anything they do find cannot be substantiated for the reasons discussed above.