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4.08  ·  Rating details ·  14,166 Ratings  ·  1,873 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, 442 pages
Published January 2010 by Grasset (first published 2009)
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Manuel It is the book itself. The author constantly speaks to the reader. At the start that goes on for some chapters. I don't remember it being too long but…moreIt is the book itself. The author constantly speaks to the reader. At the start that goes on for some chapters. I don't remember it being too long but I've never listened to an audiobook so I don't have parameters of how much time it should take.(less)
Andrew My UK English 2012 edition has no page numbers; but as there are 257 ‘chapters’, some with more than 1 on a page, there seems little need for them!

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Jeffrey Keeten
Jul 10, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ww2
”This is what I think: inventing a character in order to understand historical facts is like fabricating evidence. Or rather, in the words of my brother-in-law, with whom I’ve discussed all this: It’s like planting false proof at a crime scene where the floor is already strewn with incriminating evidence.

 photo heydrich_zpsfyy8klq1.jpg
I don’t know how to describe him any other way except that he has a punchable face.

This is a book with a plot ensnared in the arduous process of conceiving a historical novel. Laurent Binet is
Steven  Godin
May, 4th, 1942 - the Heydrich residence. After filling their bellies with Venison steaks, Heydrich, Himmler and Goebbels are sat around the table playing cards, Lina Heydrich brings in a tray on which sits a large bottle of brandy, three glasses and a box of cigars. 'Don't wait up for me Reinhard dear, I am off to the theatre, Have fun boys'. Heydrich switches on the gramophone, and Schubert is a feast on the ears, the evening is in full swing. Both Himmler and Goebbels are blind drunk within th ...more
Let me tell you a story. A true story. A story that you might know, but only in 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 means

No, it’s not invented ! What would be the point of inventing “ Nazism “ ?

Laurent Binet’s novel HHhH is actually two stories in one. Firstly, it's an exciting thriller and suspenseful novel about the assassination of Protector of Bohemia and Moravia, Himmler’s right hand or brain according to the title of the novel, Reinhard Heydrich. Novel is packed with well-known names from Nazi high echelons, in brief retrospectives Binet recaps events which led to Hitler’s accession to power, growth of a
One night while he was researching this book, Laurent Binet dreamt he was writing the key chapter. In the dream, he begins with a description of a black Mercedes sliding through the streets of Prague like a racer snake, slipping behind a building here, emerging from a tunnel there, but moving all the while towards the sharp bend between Vyšehradska street and Trojička street where two armed men await its arrival.

That same black Mercedes has a star role in the final version of the book too. It sh
Aug 22, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
To HHhH, το οποίο χάνοντας την αυθεντική του ευγλωττία στα ελληνικά μεταφράζεται Ο Χαίντριχ είναι ο Εγκέφαλος του Χίμλερ, είναι ένα βιβλίο γύρω από την απόπειρα δολοφονίας ενός σημαντικού προσώπου του ΓΡάιχ - του ξανθού κτήνους, του Χασάπη της Πράγας, του Ράινχαρντ Χάιντριχ, αρχηγού των μυστικών υπηρεσιών των Ναζί. Του Χάιντριχ από τον φερώνυμο τίτλο φυσικά. Ο υποψιασμένος αναγνώστης θα ξέρει λογικά πως δεν είναι ένα μυθιστόρημα. Είναι δηλαδή ιστορικό βιβλίο; Τα πράματα μάλλον δεν είναι τόσο απλ ...more
Cindy Knoke
Jul 03, 2012 rated it it was ok
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
May 09, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Oct 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
So, what is this exactly? It has won awards for fiction and the author calls it a novel, except when he says, “If this were a novel . . .”

The author intrudes, is a character: he is an author researching and writing about the May 27, 1942 assassination attempt by two Czechoslovakian parachutists against Reinhard Heydrich aka The Blond Beast, the Acting Reich Protectorate, the Hangman of Prague, the most dangerous man in the Third Reich. The title comes from another descriptor: Himmlers Hirn heiß
Jan 26, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2013
First, I wrestled with a considerable amount of guilt for reading this in English. I could 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, the i
Το Άσχημο Ρύζι Καρολίνα
Είναι κάτι πολύ παραπάνω από ιστορικό μυθιστόρημα. Ζωντανεύει την διαδικασία της ιστορικής έρευνας και συνάμα αναδεικνύει όλες εκείνες τις σκοτεινές λεπτομέρειες που κρύβονται πίσω από τα σπουδαιότερα ιστορικά γεγονότα. Βαθιά φιλοσοφημένο, χωρίς ωστόσο να κουράζει. Περιμένω πολλά αυτόν τον συγγραφέα στο μέλλον.

Description: We are in Prague, in 1942. Two men have been enlisted to kill the head of the Gestapo. This is Operation Anthropoid: two Czechoslovakian parachutists sent by London plan to assassinate Reinhard Heydrich—head of the Nazi secret services, 'the hangman of Prague', 'the blond beast', 'the most dangerous man in the Third Reich'.

Heydrich works for Hitler's most powerful henchman, Heinrich Himmler, but in the SS they say 'HHhH': 'Himmlers Hirn heisst Heydrich'—Himmler's brain is called Hey
Dec 04, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Αν χωρίζετε την βιβλιοθήκη σας σε λογοτεχνία κ μη, καλή τύχη με την ταξινόμηση αυτού του καθηλωτικού βιβλίου που έγραψε ο Binet για μια απ'τις πιο σημαντικές πράξεις αντίστασης ενάντια στο Γ'Ράιχ. Ο νεαρός Γάλλος έχει γράψει ένα πολύ πρωτότυπο βιβλίο ιστορίας που φλερτάρει με το ιστορικό μυθιστόρημα με ένα ιδιαίτερο τρόπο. Το HHhH είναι κάτι σαν προσωπικό ημερολόγιο συγγραφής του Binet καθώς παθιάζεται με το θέμα του κ προχωράει την πραγματολογική του μελέτη.

Ο Binet έχει το πλεονέκτημα ότι δεν α
Fuchsia  Groan
Estoy segura de que a muchos, en algún momento de nuestra trayectoria lectora, nos ha dado por leer novelas sobre el nazismo o ambientadas en la II Guerra Mundial, y supongo que entre las numerosísimas novelas, ensayos, y los valiosísimos testimonios de primera mano que existen, es fácil que llegue un momento en el que se deje el tema de lado, ya sea por saturación, por autoprotección, o por las dos cosas. Y es por esto por lo que, a pesar de que me llamaba poderosamente la atención, he tardado ...more
Jul 09, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  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
Nikos Tsentemeidis
Συγκλονιστικό. Καταφέρνει πολύ απλά και ζωντανεύει την ιστορία. Διαβάζεται χωρίς ανάσα. Θα μπορούσε άνετα να διδάσκεται στα σχολεία.

"Η Ιστορία είναι η μόνη μοίρα που υπάρχει: μπορείς να την ξαναδιαβάσεις και να την ερμηνεύσεις όπως θες, μα δεν μπορείς να την ξαναγράψεις."
Jun 16, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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
Sep 10, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Margaret by: Violet, in her review of The Quest for Corvo.
HHhH, what kind of title is that for a book? Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, the publishers of the 2012 fine English translation (by Sam Taylor) of Laurent Binet’s prize-winning French novel must have known they had a problem on their hands, so the book flap begins by explaining that HHhH is an acronym for a saying, which translated from German means “Himmler’s brain is called Heydrich.” Reinhard Heydrich, aka “The Butcher of Prague” was targeted for assassination by Czechoslovakia’s government in e ...more
The fact that HHhH isn't quite the book I was expecting to read is entirely the fault of the back cover. The last paragraph of the blurb reads:
All the characters in HHhH existed then or still exist now. All the events depicted are true. But alongside the nerve-shredding story of the preparations for the attack runs another story: when you are writing about real people, how do you resist the temptation to make things up?

If you have the Postmodern Klaxon going off in your head, you're not alone -
Jun 29, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
In part this is a bit like the literary equivalent of one of those documentaries about the making of a famous film. On the one hand, the author tells the story of the assassination of Himmler’s right-hand man, Reinhard Heydrich and tells it compellingly well. It’s a fascinating story of an assassination that was botched but nevertheless eventually successful. We learn much about Heydrich and also about his two Czech assassins who were trained in the UK specifically to carry out the assassination ...more
Jan 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2018
Termino este tour de force com lágrimas no rosto. Uma homenagem incrível (!!) aos pára-quedistas heróis, responsáveis pela morte da "besta loira", Heydrich.

"...tremo de culpa pensando nas centenas, nos milhares daqueles que deixei morrer no anonimato, mas quero acreditar que as pessoas existem mesmo que não se fale delas."
Jan 28, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2013
“Memory is of no use to the remembered, only to those who remember. We build ourselves with memory and console ourselves with memory.”
― Laurent Binet, HHhH


An interesting narrative about the assassination of Reinhard Heydrich. The title comes from the SS phrase: "Himlers Hirn heisst Heydrich" ("Himmler's brain is called Heydrich"). Instead of telling the story as a straight historical narrative, Laurent Binet weaves himself throughout the main narrative. It becomes in parts a contrived post-mod

Ένα οπωσδήποτε ενδιαφέρον βιβλίο, ειδικά δεδομένου ότι ειναι το πρώτο του Binet.

Θετικά: Μαθαίνεις πολλά για την ιστορία της δολοφονίας του Χαιντριχ αλλά και γενικότερα της εποχής του Β' Παγκοσμίου Πολέμου στην Πραγα μεσω μιας καλής και απλής γραφής, χωρίς να κουράζει και να φορτώνει τον αναγνώστη με πολλές λεπτομέρειες τις οποίες δεν πρόκειται να συγκρατήσει. Επομένως είναι καλό για μη "επαΐοντες" της ιστορίας και της περιόδου αυτής, όπως η αφεντιά μου.

Ένα ακόμη θετικό στοιχείο ήταν η πρωτο
Sam Quixote
HHhH = Himmlers Hirn heist Heydrich, which in English means: Himmler’s brain is called Heydrich.

This is the true story of one of the most evil men who ever lived, Reinhard Heydrich, and Operation Anthropoid (also the original title of the book), the successful plot to assassinate him by the heroic pair, Jan Kubis and Jozek Gabcik.

Heydrich was Head of the Gestapo and one of the most feared men in Hitler’s Third Reich. He was central to the Final Solution (the formal planning behind the Holocaust)
Vassiliki Dass
Jan 20, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Με μια μυθιστορηματική αφήγηση που ενέχει και το συνεχές ρητορικό ερώτημα του πώς περιγράφουμε την ιστορία και σε ποιες ακριβώς ελευθερίες έχει δικαίωμα ο συγγραφέας ώστε να την αποδώσει πιστά μεν αλλά και καλά δε, καταφέρνει ο Μπινέ να κάνει τον αναγνώστη να συμμετέχει πλήρως και εναγωνίως σε ένα τελείως γνωστό ιστορικό γεγονός που σημάδεψε την ιστορία του Β’ Παγκοσμίου. Κι εκεί έγκειται το ταλέντο του, το οποίο αν και οδηγεί σε έκδηλο συναισθηματισμό σε κάποια σημεία που άλλους ξενίζουν, αλλά ...more
Diane S ☔
Mar 21, 2012 rated it liked it
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
Dec 03, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ukrainian, litfic
У Празі у 42-му двоє чоловіків - один чех, один словак - готуються вбити Гайдріха, протектора Богемії і Моравії й архітектора Остаточного розв'язання єврейського питання.
У Празі у 2000-ні молодий французький письменник готується писати про них роман.
Так ці дві сюжетні лінії й чергуються до умовно щасливого фіналу (Гайдріха уб'ють, оповідач напише роман).

Я взагалі не фанатка французької прози в тому форматі, в якому вона фігурує в академічному процесі, себто якраз її різновиду формальних експери
As already indicated by so many other readers, this is not just the historical account of the attack on Reinhard Heydrich, one of the cruelest Nazi top men, in 1942 in Prague. That account is certainly there, and is quite excitingly written and shuddering by the horrible facts that are involved. But Binet presents a much more complex book. The author formally shows how he wrote this book and how he wrestled with various aspects of the historical métier (are my sources reliable, have I presented ...more
Oct 23, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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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
More about Laurent Binet

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“How many forgotten heroes sleep in history's great cemetery?” 14 likes
“Memory is of no use to the remembered, only to those who remember. We build ourselves with memory and console ourselves with memory.” 13 likes
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