Reviews By Meri

Book review: Stormtrooper Families, written by Andrew Wackerfuss, PhD

Filling a long neglected gap in the history of the Third Reich, Stormtrooper Families: Homosexuality and Community in the Early Nazi Movement by Andrew Wackerfuss is an in depth study of the Nazi Sturmabteilung, or SA, from its origins in the interwar years to its official demise on June 30 – July 2, 1934 and beyond to how this organization and the image of the gay Nazi influence twenty-first century politics. Most books on the Third Reich, and the early Nazi movement in particular, brush over how fraternal bonding and male social interaction was at the heart of the movement. If homosexuality in the Nazi party are mentioned at all , it is merely in reference to Ernst Röhm and how his blatant homosexuality helped lead to the event now known as the Night of the Long Knives. In his book, Mr. Wackerfuss finally shows the dichotomy of the Nazi’s exultation of the familial ideal of devoted wife and children to their soldier father who is a member of the party and the deep bonds of male friendship and soldiering which the Nazi’s encouraged as a way of deepening loyalty to the party.

Though geared toward higher level academic courses, Stormtrooper Families is a much needed addition to the vast collection of books on the Third Reich and its history. It is extensive in scope and delves deep into the social history of the Nazi movement. As a former historian, I can not recommend it more highly to anyone interested in doing an in-depth study of the history of the Nazi movement both before and during the years of the Third Reich.

Reviewed by Meri