Micro-history uses the close study of a tiny slice of events to shed light on larger themes. "Hitler's First Victims" takes us to the years just before WWII to study the establishment and running of Dachau, a camp outside of Munich used to concentrate, control and punish political dissidents.
It was a time when the rule of law, as practiced by the book's hero, Bavarian prosecutor
was almost perfectly balanced with the ruthless, lawless "justice" (i.e., brutality, arbitrariness and terror) that was the Nazi's stock in trade. It was a time when a concentration camp "suicide" might actually be investigated by local authorities, and perpetrators at least threatened credibly with punishment. Watching the defenders of the old systems be outmaneuvered by the likes of Josef Himmler (then in charge of police in Munich) or slowly knuckle under to the vicious new realities was to see ordinary people silently assenting, via opting for the own survival, with the Nazi's murder machine.
"Hitler's First Victims" gives a glimpse into the machinations of Hitler as he attempted to wrest total power from president Hindenburg. The road to the Third Reich was made of such grand scheming as well as the petty and seemingly insignificant murder of a few local dissidents in the grip of an barbarous prion commandant.
A story brilliantly researched and quite clearly told.