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HHhH

HHhH - Laurent Binet, Sam Taylor Mullens
Jan Book Club Read. 4.5 Stars

HHhH by Laurent Binet is a novel filled with historically correct facts and traces the planning, execution and aftermath of Operation Anthropoid, the resistance’s successful plot to assassinate Heydrich in Prague. The two heroes of the novel are Jozef Gabcik and Jan Kubis, two amazingly brave assassins, but the main character of this novel is the “Butcher of Prague “ Reinhard Heydrich”.
“All the characters in this book are real and all events depicted are true which makes this novel such a compelling read.

I love historical fiction but now and again I like to read a book like this which is so thorough in its historical facts that I am not actually having to check did that actually happen, is it fact or fiction. So for me that was a great book. I had never heard of the horrifying happenings in the town called Lidice and while I had read a lot of books on the Holocaust I had never read about this and it really made me so sad that a town was wiped out so brutally in the name of a Butcher.


While reading this book you become aware of the authors obsession with the story. Binet is desperately aware of the recurring thought that he won’t do justice to the heroism of Gabcik and Kubis, just two men in a vast resistance that stood up to the horrors of Nazism. What must it have took for two men to put themselves in this position and to know what would face them. I think Binet captures this time and events in history very well.
The book is marketed as a novel and much of it has a novelistic style, even though it is dealing with historic figures and events,


The author is obsessively concerned with the challenges of fictionalising a real life narrative and constantly writes about his anguish over whether he should or should not invent situations or dialogue to enhance the story. Throughout the first half of the novel I really wanted him to stop this distracting practice of analyzing his thoughts but I soon got used to his style of writing and his thoughts and while I found that it a little distracting in the first half of the novel it did slightly lighten what could have been a very heavy novel. I also think that the author felt that his personal telling of this anguish with writing the story would appeal to people who might not perhaps read the book otherwise.(Just a thought).It certainly does not take away from the story as the end of this book really will stay with you for a very long time.


This is a book which I would recommend to readers who have an interest in history and World War Two, and want to learn more about Operation Anthropoid and Reinhard Heydrich.