Although there has been an extensive literature about the Gestapo, the German secret police of the Nazi era, Stackhouse’s extremely careful analysis—based on extensive research in the accessible archives and the relevant secondary literature—will certainly be of interest to anyone with a focus on the extraordinary years of Adolf Hitler’s rule of Germany. Because the case files and related records of the Duesseldorf area in the Rhineland have survived exceptionally intact, Stackhouse explored that area in great detail, but by no means exclusively. In fairness to readers of this review, its author should mention that in the years he repeatedly spent time in the Düsseldorf area from 1934 to 1938 because his maternal grandparents (a retired senior judge and his wife) lived there.

A detailed introduction precedes an account of the beginnings and early activity of the Gestapo, with an emphasis on a major aspect of the author’s perspective, the...

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