Heroism, resistance and its consequences: HHhH by Laurent Binet

HHhH is the story of Operation Anthropoid: the plot to assassinate the truly vile Reinhard Heydrich, the architect of the genocide of the Jews and Roma, by the Czechoslovak government in exile in collaboration with the in-country resistance.

In spite of being very familiar with the story from other books and movies, I found this one of the most exciting books that I have read in a long time: truly gripping, action packed and ultimately a story of devastating tragedy.

In homage to this Czechoslovakian epic the French author, Laurent Binet, has

Memorial to Czech parachutists, Including Gabcik and Kubis, killed in battle with SS

Memorial to Czech parachutists, Including Gabcik and Kubis, killed in battle with SS

adopted a very “Kunderian” style, weaving in and out of the story himself, as the Czech writer Milan Kundera often does, with his personal reflections upon it and concerns on how he can do the story and his heroes, Kubis and Gabcik (along with the hordes of other resistants and Czech civilians who made the operation possible and paid with their lives), justice.

Many readers may find this approach irritating and something of a turn-off (I didn’t, finding it engaging and interesting in and of itself), but the substance of the story is still compelling. Binet calls this the story of the single greatest act of resistance in the course of the Second World War. It is hard to argue with that and this book is a fine tribute.

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One thought on “Heroism, resistance and its consequences: HHhH by Laurent Binet

  1. Pingback: A Man Without Breath, by Phillip Kerr | aidanjmcquade

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