Two men have been enlisted to kill the head of the Gestapo. This is Operation Anthropoid, Prague, 1942: two Czechoslovakian parachutists sent on a daring mission by London to assassinate Reinhard Heydrich – chief of the Nazi secret services, ‘the hangman of Prague’, ‘the blond beast’, ‘the most dangerous man in the Third Reich’. His boss is Heinrich Himmler but everyone in the SS says ‘Himmler’s brain is called Heydrich’, which in German spells “HHhH”.
All the characters in “HHhH” are real. All the events depicted are true. But alongside the nerve-shredding preparations for the attack runs another story: when you are a novelist writing about real people, how do you resist the temptation to make things up?
“HHhH” is a panorama of the Third Reich told through the life of one outstandingly brutal man, a story of unbearable heroism and loyalty, revenge and betrayal. It is improbably entertaining and electrifyingly modern, a moving and shattering work of fiction.
I can honestly say that I have never read anything like this book. Chances are that you haven’t read anything like it either.
This book doesn’t just tell you the story of these two assassins who tried to kill Reinhard Heydrich, it tells you EVERYTHING!!
It shows you the life of Heydrich, it paints a picture of the history of Prague, it tells you about Czechoslovakia and how it was divided, conquered and invaded by Hitler.
Do you know how the Second World War started? I thought I did, but then I started thinking about it and I realized that I didn’t have a clue. If you don’t know, you can’t possibly imagine it, it’s too absurd but read this book and you’ll find out.. in detail.
This book is non-fiction written as fiction. Everything you read it true, the people, the events and that’s part of what makes this such an amazing book.
The other part is the writer. In between the story and history, Laurent Binet tells you how he wrote this book. I do mean, he tells YOU. I felt like I was part of the story as I was reading it, almost as much as the writer is part of the story.
Last but not least, the writing itself is sublime. I wanted to mark whole pages but I got my copy from the library and they probably wouldn’t appreciate me underlining all the sentences I loved.
I’ll have to buy this book. There’s no way around it. I want to reread it right now! (But I can’t since I have so many other books to read and review if I want to make this project work..)
I absolutely loved this book!
If you like reading and learning about the Second World War, you have to read this one.
I will gladly put it on my map alongside the other WW II books I’ve read.