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4.03 of 5 stars 4.03  ·  rating details  ·  7,319 ratings  ·  1,141 reviews
Deux parachutistes tchécoslovaques envoyés par Londres sont chargés d’assassiner Reinhard Heydrich, chef de la Gestapo, chef des services secrets nazis, planificateur de la solution finale, protecteur de Bohème-Moravie, surnommé "le bourreau", "la bête blonde", "l’homme le plus dangereux du IIIe Reich". Après des mois de préparation, il est finalement abattu dans sa Merced ...more
Paperback, 441 pages
Published January 2010 by Grasset (first published 2009)
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16th out of 100 books — 460 voters
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Let me tell you a story. A true story. A story that you might know, but only in the passing.

This story took place in World War – II. To be exact, it was a mission. No, not a mission. Destiny, rather, of our heroes. Amongst numerous missions that were carried out in the War, this one should rank within the top 10 most important ones, in my opinion (And I have read about all the major ones).

So, let me tell you about this book.

Laurent Binet, the author, has named it HHhH.

What does "HHhH" mean?

It m
Cindy Knoke
I am addicted to reading about the history of WWII and I really wanted to like this book.
Binet's book however frustrated me. The constant insertion of the author into the text and his continuous use of the word "I" was incredibly distracting. Who was this book about precisely, the author or Heydrich? The purported topic, Heydrich was interesting, the author's pathos? Not so much.
His short chapter format consisting of 257 chapters, some of which were only a few sentences long, resulted in a cho
MJ Nicholls
Binet has written the world’s first (and please God the last) metafictional Nazi thriller. As one who baulks at the WW2 novel (how passé is “the war??”—been there, done that, babe), Binet’s self-commenting novel-about-a-novel is a refreshing addition to the legions of prize-winning tomes about lesser-known Nazis and atrocities. Heydrich is the topic—a high-ranking Nazi who could have been up there with Himmler and Goebbels on the mass-murdering-psychopaths-whose-names-are-forever-etched-into-his ...more
What is HHhH? Himmlers Hirn heisst Heydrich, or Himmler's brain is called Heydrich.

This acronym, as chilling as it was, was not the author's first choice - he would have preferred Operation Arthropoid, the name of the covert action which occupies the majority of the book. But it was rejected as sounding like a Robert Ludlum, when this is a more meditative and sardonic bit of historical fiction.

Of course history is not always so neat and clean as it is in thrillers. There are still missing piece
I have had my fill of books about Nazis, but this clever little title was irresistible. And thank heaven it was since this story about the assassination of Reinhard Heydrich is absolutely brilliant. It was sort of a travelogue-type history in the manner of Tony Horowitz, although most of the travel in this book is through the author’s mind as he ruminates on the nature of historical biographies in general, wrestles with self-doubt as to whether he is up to the task of writing something original ...more
Jul 27, 2013 Tfitoby rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Tfitoby by: Daniel Juckes
Shelves: lit, translation
“This scene is not really useful, and on top of that I practically made it up. I don't think I'm going to keep it.”

No other quote from this wonderful piece of post-modern literature could quite as effectively capture the tone and style of the content. HHhH is two narratives in one, a piece of creative non-fiction telling the story of Operation Anthropoid - the plot to assassinate Reinhard Heydrich - alongside which runs the journal of the Czech professor obsessed with commemorating the brave men
First, I wrestled with a considerable amount of guilt for reading this in English. I could at have read this in French, but it would have been much longer and harder. I know enough about translation to be uncertain of how closely what I read resembled the original. But in the end, it was better to have read this than to have missed this because of my own stupid pride about works in translation. (This sort of personal interjection is actually rather influenced by the style of the book).

Second, th
Knihu cizince zabývající se naší vlastí čte člověk jaksi jinak: citlivě reaguje na věcné chyby, pozorně sleduje dojmy a hodnocení, je předem maličko naježen. Jen si vezměte, kolik emocí vyvolal Szczygiełův Gottland. Binet se na rozdíl od kriticky uvažujícího Poláka Čechům asi zavděčí, vždyť Praha je podle něj nejkrásnější město světa a Gabčík s Kubišem „strůjci jednoho z největších odbojových činů lidských dějin a nesporně největšího odbojového činu druhé světové války“. Řeč je o atentátu na Hey ...more
Diane S.
This was a very differently written type of historical fiction; a stream of consciousness novel where a narrator who happens to be writing a book about the assassination of Heydrich lets the reader in on all his thought processes, feelings, and personal life. In the beginning I found this fascinating as the narrator imparts many little known facts (at least by me) of Heydrich's early life and marriage, the forming of the Nazi party, Hitler, the Night of Long Knives and the forming of his securit ...more

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 whic
Peter Idone
I have no problem with an author injecting himself into his novel as an attempt to write a pure and vital work of historical fiction or any fiction for that matter-post modern or otherwise(otherwise being an infranovel as Binet describes what he's writing in Section 205) Unfortunately I found this author too whining in tone and not at all as clever when described by reviewers in the NYT, the Guardian, etc. It was a disappointment and I'm almost sorry to have to say this.There were passages that ...more
Himmlers Hirn heist Heydrich. Himmler's brain is called Heydrich.

Reinhard Heydrich -- the butcher of Prague, the blond beast, the man with the iron heart – was one of the cruelest and most feared of the high-ranking Nazis. Chief of security and an architect of the final solution, he was named Reichprotector of Bohemia and Moravia, the Czech states annexed by Germany, and charged with crushing Czech resistance and all vestiges of Czech culture, “Germanizing” the desirable population and eliminat
Matt Brady
Reinhard Heydrich. Chief of the German Reich's security and intelligence forces (Basically. I'm glossing over his actual title and responsibilities but that's about the size of it). Key planner of both the Night of the Long Knives and Krystallnacht. Himmler's right-hand man. Architect of the Nazi's Final Solution. Protector (Tyrant is probably the better word) of Bohemia and Moravia. The Blond Beast. The Hangman of Prague. "Heydrich is Himmler's brain," the SS would say, or HHhH in German. A man ...more
Jonathan Norton
First of all let's be clear that Nazism is a terrible and pretty stupid political creed, and that the Nazis did evil things. If you're one of those people who think it is silly to use words like "evil", because the world is awfully complicated, then I suggest you explore the more sophisticated viewpoint of Primo Levi's books, where it is shown that the world is awfully complicated AND ALSO it contains evil actions and events.

I have to make that clear as my position, to avoid any misunderstanding
Nov 13, 2013 Jenne marked it as didnt-finish  ·  review of another edition
I don't know what the title means...but coincidentally it is also the sound I made when I thought about having to read any more of it.
This meta-novel about the assassination of Reinhard Heydrich is good, but not great. The story of the assassination and the story of Heydrich's life more generally are well told and engaging enough, but less engaging are Binet's digressive commentaries on the difficulty of writing historical fiction. Now, that's not to say that these digressions are bad, I'm just not sure they're as radical as Binet seems to think they are. I'm also not sure they're entirely appropriate for a story in which the ...more
HHhH was terrific. It’s hard to recommend to just anyone because it’s best to be a little familiar with the figure of Reinhard Heydrich and his assassination to appreciate the book. But even Wikipedia could equip a reader sufficiently.

As meta-fiction the author is very in the book, which pretty much goes ‘here’s this event I’ve been obsessed with my whole life, which happened in my favorite country on earth, and the two or three guys who are my heroes, who set off to kill Heydrich, the devil in
This should really be a 4 star book - story of Heydrich's assassination is fascinating and told in detail here together with other information on Heydrich's life and how the war affected Czechoslovakia. Heydrich was seen even by Hitler himself as his successor so this was a key event in the war, but the assassination had terrible repercussions for the Czech people.

The problem that I had with the book was the style of writing - it is written as if the author is chatting to you as he writes the b
Part fiction part historical fact HHhH is a book by French author Laurent Binet. The fact part is about operation Anthropoid. Its 1942, Czechoslovakia is suffering from a brutal occupation by the Germans. Two Czech soldiers sent by London are parachuted into Prague to assassinate Reinhard Heydrich aka the butcher of Prague the blond beast the man with the iron heart(Hitlers own pet name for Heydrich)and the hangman. A man said to be feared even by his own boss the very dangerous and ruthless Hei ...more
Historical fiction attracts despite the fact that readers usually know the outcome because it speaks to reasons why and what. At its best, the genre makes people re-evaluate or think deeply about the historical record. At its worse, it causes the reader to throw the book across the room in disgust.

This book is historical fiction, and it is a book about the writing of historical fiction. Supposedly about the assassination of Heydrich, the book is also an exploration of the process of deciding ho
It's extremely rare that you pick up a book and within mere pages know you are holding something special. This book is one of that breed.

Part historical novel, part factual narrative, this book tells the story of the plot to assassinate Heydrich, Himmler's right hand man and architect of the Final solution. Binet chooses to only include details that he is sure occured. He refuses the urge to make stuff up. And that makes this book one of the greatest I have read in a long time.

The prose is fanta
J.M. Slowik
Apr 28, 2013 J.M. Slowik rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: History buffs and writers
"I think I'm beginning to understand. What I'm writing is an infranovel."

Amazing. I went in expecting a straightforward historical fiction novel about the assassination of Reinhard Heydrich-- the Butcher of Prague-- by a pair of paratroopers, one Czech and one Slovak (an excellent story in its own right). What I did not expect was having the process of writing the novel woven into the novel itself, seamlessly, with Binet-- a teacher by profession-- detailing his neurotic fidelity to known, prova
Het is een boeiend verhaal maar ik begrijp niet waarom dit boek links en rechts is onthaald (als ik het omslag mag geloven) als een meesterwerk. De historische feiten zijn fascinerend en lezenswaard, maar een roman kan ik er in de verste verte niet in ontdekken, laat staan een goede roman. De overpeinzingen van de auteur over het verschil tussen fictie en historiografie waarmee hij zijn relaas lardeert doen me gekunsteld en koket aan. Soms bespeur ik een vage ironie, maar echt heel geestig wordt ...more
Julia Boechat Machado
Himmlers Hirn heißt Heydrich: o cérebro de Himmler se chama Heydrich.

Reinhard Heydrich era conhecido como "a besta loura", "o carrasco de Praga", "o homem mais perigoso do Terceiro Reich", "o homem com o coração de ferro" (essa dita pelo próprio Hitler). Ele foi o instigador da Noite dos Cristais e o responsável pela Solução Final. Em 27 de maio de 1942, ele foi ferido em um atentado, o primeiro contra um oficial do alto escalão nazista, e morreu alguns dias depois.

Laurent Binet é fascinado com

Facts: Laurent Binet is French. This is his debut novel and won the Prix Goncourt for a first novel in 2010; the French equivalent of the Pulitzer Prize. The book I read is translated from French and is on the Tournament of Books list for 2013.

Opinions: Anyone who can write a historical novel set during World War II and do something new is alright with me. Laurent Binet bravely, perhaps recklessly, put himself as author into the story, all very meta-fiction, and created an absorbing read.

It was
Desde luego, libro imprescindible para quien esté interesado en estos temas, pero desigual literariamente hablando. Al principio el lector, principalmente el que ha llegado al libro por su interés en el tema tratado, se ve muy desorientado por la (intencional) mezcla de géneros, entre novela de ambientación histórica y (sin duda muy bien documentada) reconstrucción de corte más o menos académico. Hasta tal punto que, más de una vez, se siente la tentación de acudir a la bibliografía (inexistente ...more
Lu d'une traite et en un mot génial ! Le premier mot qui me vient à l'esprit c'est "honnêteté". L’auteur n'est pas historien, et il le sait, mais il s'est pris d'une passion pour les résistants tchèques responsables de l'attentat contre Heydrich. De fait, il a lu, vu, entendu un maximum de choses sur ceux-ci et a essayé d'en faire un roman, un infra roman comme il le confesse lui-même. C'est brillant. paradoxe du sujet, j'ai souvent souri, j'ai même ris aux éclats une fois, et me suis perdu dans ...more

An upsetting and uplifting book, written with tons of heart, intelligence, and inventiveness, HHhH is the (amazingly true) story of Reinhard Heydrich, the " butcher of Prague" and the two men who parachuted into the city to assassinate him. An incredibly gripping and educational read.
Joe Rowan
Wow. Absolutely incredible. The central story is fascinating, incredibly moving, and all the more gripping for being true, but what struck me is just how many other amazing stories are inextricably woven into the historical narrative. I understand Binet's almost paranoid desire to not let any of them go untold. This brings me onto one of my favourite things about the novel, apart from Binet's ability to inject new life into a very familiar historical period - his decision to write about the proc ...more
A well-crafted piece of historical fiction. Deserving of a long review that dissects the mechanics of the narrative technique (the narrator as author, constructing the history), the plot (which is very simple), and the historical episode being described (which is quite interesting). I walk away with complex emotions about a book that, admittedly, I'd heard a lot about before reading. Nothing to sway me one way or another, but I had seen the awards this book has been nominated for at the same tim ...more
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Son of an historian, he was born in Paris, graduated from University of Paris in literature, and taught literature in Parisian suburb and eventually at University. He was awarded the 2010 Prix Goncourt du Premier Roman for his first novel, HHhH.

Laurent Binet est né à Paris. Il a effectué son service militaire en Slovaquie et a partagé son temps entre Paris et Prague pendant plusieurs années. Agrég
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HhhH Rien ne se passe comme prévu La Vie Professionnelle De Laurent B Multiples: 12 Stories in 18 Languages by 61 Authors

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“This scene is not really useful, and on top of that I practically made it up. I don't think I'm going to keep it.” 4 likes
“Sometimes, after all, there is a bit of justice in this mean, cruel world.” 2 likes
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