Again I have been very fortunate enough to review Mark Yerger's latest manuscript on the German Cross in Gold Holders of the SS and Police and I think it's only fair that I share my feedback to the forum.
This relates to the famous Wiking Division, with excellent information on the awardees named Adolph to Kempcke which I believe must be volume 7 in this outstanding series (NB: volume 6 is still to be published hopefully within the next few months). Wiking contained about the largest number of GCiG holders within the divisions of the Waffen-SS and contained the greatest diversity of foreign personnel. Therefore Mark had a lot to research and investigate to make this particular study complete.
As always Mark's books far exceed expectations and this volume will certainly be no exception. The introduction provides a very good overview of the division, it's composition and it's battles. Before we move into bios of the awardees we are supplied with information on the division titles, combat elements, divisional commanders and general staff officers (Ia). Furthermore towards the end we're provided with information on the Wiking Division Honor Clasp winners and Close Combat Clasp in Gold winners. And as with previous volumes Mark provides us updates, additional information and applicable corrections to those previous volumes. As is so rightly stated by Mark: "the addendum area continues to be significant and detailed, relieving the readership of buying constantly updated editions of prior volumes".
Anyone with a good knowledge of the history of the Wiking Division, it's elements at the time (eg: SS-Sturmbrigade Wallonien) and it's soldiers would be aware that this division fought in a number of the most critical battles on the Eastern Front. The division fought very well and this is because the division had excellent commanders (eg: Steiner, Gille, etc.) and outstanding combat officers/soldiers (eg: Dieckmann, Dorr, Hack, etc.). The research Mark shares details these personalities very well via the subject of the award of the German Cross in Gold. Mark not only manages to be probably the first person to share information on unknown soldiers but also manages to unearth new information on the very well known soldiers of this famous division (eg: new up to date information on Gille).
With this, still to be published, 7th volume of the series I find it amazing what Mark has again achieved. I have never personally met this great man but I believe the secret to his success is that he is driven by a real passion in the subject and equally importantly he must have outstanding networking skills. The ability to successfully network is a crucial skill to obtain information and Mark probably does this better than anyone. For example Mark has actually been in contact with a number of his subject matter (eg: the high award winners) and he is in continual contact with fellow bona-fide experts in the field (eg: George Nipe, Jess Luckens, John Moore, Roger Bender and of course Ignacio Arrondo who assists Mark with this series). Most importantly Mark utilises primary sources; something which many so-called professional historians/authors do not !
Along with Mark's work ethic and I also assume he is a perfectionist he has again produced a master-piece.
Patience is indeed a virtue - but I can't help being very impatient to see to see the future volumes in this magnificent series being published. But like a good wine we sometimes need to wait that bit longer to taste the best.
Mark, if you happen to read this can you provide us any updates?