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Book Review
Peiper's War
Peiper's War The Wartime Years of SS Leader Jochen Peiper, 1941Ė44
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by: Darren Baker [ CMOT ]


Originally published on:
Armorama

Introduction

The following is as provided by Pen and Sword:
ĎA bad reputation has its commitments.í So wrote home Jochen Peiper from the fighting front in the East in 1943, characterizing his battle-hardened command during the Second World War. Peiperís War is a new serious work of military history by the renowned author Danny S. Parker which presents a unique view of the Second World War as seen from a prominent participant on the dark side of history.

The story follows the wartime career of Waffen SS Colonel Jochen Peiper, a handsome Aryan prodigy who was considered a hero in the Third Reich. Peiper had been Heinrich Himmlerís personal adjutant in the early years of the war, and, having procured a field command in Hitlerís namesake fighting force, the Leibstandarte Adolf Hitler, he become famous for a flamboyant and brutal style of warfare on the Eastern Front. There, in his sphere, few prisoners were taken, and motives of racial genocide were never far from unspoken orders.

Transferred to the west, Peiperís battlegroup incinerated a tiny town in Northern Italy and killed the village mayor and priest. Being well-connected to Himmler and other generals of the period, Peiper finds a place in the narrative as a storied witness to the inner workings of the Nazi elite along with other prominent SS officers such as Kurt Meyer.

In this meticulously researched work, we witness the apex and then death spiral of Nazi military intentions as Peiper fights for Germany across every front in the conflict. Peiperís War provides a telling inside look at Hitlerís war and then how the dark secrets of his security-minded command were improbably unearthed at the end of the conflict by an obscure top-secret surveillance facility in the United States.

Review

This offer from frontline books courtesy of Pen and Sword is a substantial hard backed book. The author of this book and two other offerings on Jochen Peiper is Danny S. Parker. Between the covers there are 632 pages of matt paper and in two areas of the title there are a small number of period black & white photographs printed on a nice gloss paper. The book has a good spine with I believe the pages stitched in and so I feel this is a robust book. The font and size of the print has been well selected and so making the book a pleasing and relaxed read.
The contents of this book are as follows:
Chapter 1 - The Goths are Riding Again
Chapter 2 - On the Savage Plain
Chapter 3 - France and Back
Chapter 4 - Operation Peiper
Chapter 5 - The Sword of Damocles
Chapter 6 - Kharkov
Chapter 7 - We Had Better Win this War
Chapter 8 - Zitadelle
Chapter 9 - The Tigers are Burning
Chapter 10 - Italy
Chapter 11 - Dancing on the Volcano
Chapter 12 - Boves
Chapter 13 - The Wrong War
Chapter 14 - Panzer Leader
Chapter 15 - The Oak Leaves
Chapter 16 - Waiting for the Invasion
Chapter 17 - Total Sacrifice
Chapter 18 - Normandy
Chapter 19 - Operation Luttich
Chapter 20 - Falaise to the Seine
Chapter 21 - Escape to the Westwall
Chapter 22 - P.O. Box 1142


Jochen Peiper is one of the names that usually only rings a bell in relation to the Battle of the Bulge, but this man had a varied career during World War two and this book looks in depth at that service. Jochen Peiper should perhaps be best known for his early role as the adjutant to no less than Heinrich Himmler, a man who imbued bloodshed on a scale never before seen in a civilised country while not being willing to get his own hands dirty. It was while serving in this role that I feel having read the book that he met upper echelon figures that guided his mindset as the war progressed.

Peiper also served in the elite SS LSSAH unit or the 1st SS Panzer Division Leibstandarte SS Adolf Hitler. The Leibstandarte SS Adolf Hitler was considered the elite of the elite having started life as the personal bodyguard of Adolf Hitler, but of course when they became a frontline unit they grew in size considerably. Something I like that the author has done in this book is to provide inserts of peoples' words into areas of the text that adds a pleasing dimension to the book.

When fighting in the west Jochen Peiperís men executed a number of American POW's for which he was tried at the end of the war and sentenced to death, a sentence that was not carried out. To my knowledge it has never been proved that he gave an order to execute these prisoners, but as he had fought a brutal war in the east where prisoners were routinely tortured and executed I have no doubt he could have given that order.

Reading through the book presents the reader with a great insight into the actions of this man which I found informative and enabled me to learn more about this soldier who fought on the wrong side and committed crimes in the opinion of some and as a dedicated soldier and hero in the eyes of others. The book presents me with a man that appears to have been generally respected by his men both above and below him and detested due to his actions in the field but people who fought against him.

Conclusion

This book has provided me with a new insight of the man who was Joachim Peiper, both from his actions and how he was considered by those around him. Jochen as he preferred to be called was an interesting character who does in my opinion seem to be a dedicated National Socialist in mindset. I do find myself wondering what the man was like after his release and move to France where he was murdered in the 1970's. I wonder what sort of man he would have been if he had not fought on the Eastern Front and what this would have had on how history remembers him.
SUMMARY
Darren Baker takes a look at 'Peiper's War The Wartime Years of SS Leader Jochen Peiper, 1941Ė44' from Frontline Books courtesy of Pen and Sword. This is one of a series of books covering Jochen Peiper by Danny S Parker.
  Scale: N/A
  Mfg. ID: ISBN 9781526743428
  Suggested Retail: £35.00
  Related Link: 
  PUBLISHED: May 18, 2020
  NATIONALITY: Germany
NETWORK-WIDE AVERAGE RATINGS
  THIS REVIEWER: 87.04%
  MAKER/PUBLISHER: 0.00%

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About Darren Baker (CMOT)
FROM: ENGLAND - SOUTH WEST, UNITED KINGDOM

I have been building model kits since the early 70ís starting with Airfix kits of mostly aircraft, then progressing to the point I am at now building predominantly armour kits from all countries and time periods. Living in the middle of Salisbury plain since the 70ís, I have had lots of opportunitie...

Copyright ©2020 text by Darren Baker [ CMOT ]. All rights reserved.



Comments

Books that look at the man behind the image are always welcome but I'd like to ask one thing: Couldn't the publishers find a nicer picture of Jochen that doesn't make him look as if his face is about to break out or that he'd been holding his breath?
MAY 18, 2020 - 09:59 AM
Really great review Darren, I think I will pick this up. I already have the big book by Patrick Agte but sometimes another authors perspective on a subject can be different. Peiper was a fascinating figure as a representation of the times in which he lived. Thanks again Darren. Best regards......Dale
MAY 19, 2020 - 10:45 AM
I've been reading more about this. I guess there are authors who try to rehabilitate SS commanders and gloss over atrocities against civilians. I'm wondering how this author deals with Peiper and civilians during his time on the Eastern Front?
MAY 23, 2020 - 11:37 AM
The book does not attempt to make excuses for what occurred.
MAY 25, 2020 - 01:44 AM
   

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