If you're into military history and you want to start looking at the role of the Waffen SS in World War 2, this is a must. A lot of ambiguity about the role of the military wing of the SS exists, but as this book rightly points out, these men were soldiers, not murderers. They had nothing at all to do with politics, or with the Holocaust, they were brave and skilled young men who laid down their lives for their country. The book follows the initial birth of the Division, 'Das Reich', from the mid 1930's, and into it's first tentative actions during the war. It then follows the men through the hard years in Russia, how due to repeated errors in the German command their strength was reduced and reduced, still performing amazingly in the face of horrific fighting. Then it moves to the Division playing a vital role in Normandy against the Americans, delaying the war by several months, before finally being disbanded in 1945. Lucas delves into the hearts and minds of the soldiers involved, the desperation of the Russian front, the comedy and irony of fighting the raw, yet superior Americans, and the tragedy and heartache of the death of a way of life. This is a rollercoaster ride, sharing the thoughts, escapades and final suffering of the ultimate soldiers in WWII.