More than five decades have passed since the war's end and its massive historiography continues to grow and evolve with seemingly no end in sight. It is probably foolish to think that the examination of and reflection on the twentieth century's seminal event will ever reach completion. For example, there is a curious lack of published information concerning the numerous wartime atrocities (i.e., violations of international law such as killing noncombatant civilians, surrendering opponents, and prisoners of war) committed by Nazi Germany's military elite, the Waffen SS. In fact, there are very few books currently in print that examine the nature and commission of war crimes perpetrated by any of the armed forces participating in World War II. The three main book sections-Atrocities, Unit Histories, and Individuals-are adopted to guide readers along the most natural paths of inquiry: What happened and where? What was the unit's record of atrocities? What was the individual's involvement in atrocities? This is probably the most comprehensive reference book on the subject.
James Pontolillo was born in Brooklyn, New York in 1963. He graduated from the Colorado School of Mines (B.S., 1986) with a degree in metallurgical engineering and mineral processing. Since 1988 he has been a research scientist with the U.S. Geological Survey and has authored or co-authored 34 peer-reviewed scientific publications in the fields of coal petrology, organic geochemistry, and data quality. In his private life, he also authored numerous articles and monographs in the fields of history, nutrition, modern folklore, social theory, and natural history for small press, newspaper, and electronic publishing outlets. This is his first ma.jor study within military history.