Nathaniel 's Reviews > The Killing of SS Obergruppenfuhrer Reinhard Heydrich

The Killing of SS Obergruppenfuhrer Reinhard Heydrich by Callum A. MacDonald
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M_50x66
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Jan 20, 14

Read in April, 2012

Fascinating coverage of the career and assassination of a particularly ambitious and vicious Nazi official whom barely anyone has heard of today. This book makes one realize not only how many hundreds of lives in central Europe may have been saved by Heydrich's death but how far Heydrich's continued existence could have gone toward helping Hitler win the war. The success of Heydrich's assassination also caused Hitler himself to become more paranoid, wasting significant resources on security of top Nazi officials and arguably may have contributed to the deterioration of his mental state and the increasingly erratic command decisions that resulted.

With that said, this book does have its problems. The first part is about Heydrich's rise to power within the regime, from a German perspective, and the second part is about the operation to assassinate him, from a British perspective. These two parts are rather disjointed from each other. The book's greatest flaw, however, is its very stiff and impersonal tone. I understand that this is how historians of MacDonald's generation wrote, especially in the British tradition, but it still gives the sense that you're reading about history in the third person rather than watching a real story come alive in the way that the best historians are able to accomplish.

If the tone doesn't put you off, however, this is probably one of the better books written about Heydrich, a figure who otherwise doesn't get much historical coverage despite the importance of his role in the Nazi regime. The author himself died in 1996 and most of his sources died long before that, so the historical value of books such as these is only likely to increase with time.
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