Germany's secret state police or Gestapo was the most feared terrorist organization of its time. Even today the very word Gestapo evokes horror in people remotely aware of Nazi Germany. From the rise of Nazism in 1933 to its demise in 1945, the Gestapo was routinely used as an instrument of terror, manipulation, and coercion to destroy millions of people throughout Europe. This comprehensive volume chronicles the year-by-year rise of the Gestapo through the diaries and biographies of the men who masterminded it.

Here you will witness the early struggles for power among Roehm, Goering, Heydrich, and Himmler, the establishment of Aryan eugenic unions and Jewish extermination camps, the brutal methods used by Himmler's elite to envelop Germany in a network so tight that no action or thought escaped their vigilance. The author, Jacques Delarue, is singularly qualified to write such a book. As a member of the French resistance he was arrested, imprisoned, and tortured by the Gestapo. When the war ended he was placed in charge of liquidating the records of the Occupation forces, during which time he interrogated many principal agents of the Gestapo and gained access to much hitherto unpublished material. Out of his experiences comes a work that has the force of an eyewitness account yet remains dispassionate and objective. It is essential reading for anyone wishing to gain both an insight into the workings of a diabolically effective police state and a glimpse into the madness of the Nazi mind.

Jacques Delarue is now a member of the Direction de la Surete Nationale in Paris. The French edition of this book won him the prestigious Prix de la Resistance.