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30 of 30 people found the following review helpful
on 30 May 2008
There are a lot of ways you could approach the Heydrich assassination, and this book covers most of them. We start with an illuminating description of Heydrich, and how he came to be the man he was. We then get a description of how Czechoslovakia collapsed, and the different personal and political events that shaped the characters and actions of the Czech and German leaders. Then there is a good description of the different levels of political infighting among Czech and British politicians and intelligence officials which lead to the decision to send the assassins, despite the terrible danger of reprisals and the risks of failure.

We then get a very interesting account of the assassins and their background and training, for what everyone expected to be a suicide mission. After their drop into Czechosolovakia, the special troops and the local intelligence network suffer from betrayal and discovery, leading to furious debates by the special operatives over what to do. The ultimate finale is of course, far more violent and tragic than was expected.

Macdonald manages to write a gripping account with very real and living characters, and at the same time to explain the political machinations and context in which it all occurred.
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50 of 51 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon 26 July 2007
The late Callum MacDonald's account is the best available on the assassination of Heydrich, the Nazi "Butcher of Prague". It is meticulously researched, well balanced, perceptive and extremely well written. It traces the origin of the assassination plan to the exiled Czech leader Benes's desire to assert Czech defiance of the German occupation, in the face of the collaborationist tendencies of the government of Hacha and much of the population. The Czechs paid a terrible price for the assassination of Heydrich, including the murder of many innocent people and the wiping out (and thus immortalising) the village of Lidice as part of the predictable Nazi retaliation for Heydrich's death. MacDonald examines the role of SOE in London and traces the course of the assassination plot from the parachute drop near Prague to the nearly botched assassination attempt (the assassin's sten gun jammed but Heydrich fatally stopped his car to pursue the assassins, only to be fatally injured by a bomb thrown at his vehicle). We are then given a detailed and moving account of Nazi retribution and follow the lives of the Czech assassins, holed up in the Cathedral of St Cyril of St Methodius in Prague until their betrayal, gun battle with the Nazis and eventual suicide and martyrdom (do visit the church if you are in Prague, it is a very moving experience).

If you want to read one book on the Heydrich assassination, this is the one. How sad that the gifted author Callum MacDonald died so prematurely; a great loss to History.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 6 April 2013
For many people the story of Heydrich's assassination is probably not that well know. The film 'Operation Daybreak', although a good basis for the story was factually a long way from what really happened. Callum MacDonald has done a first-rate job of providing the details of what led up to the killing being sanctioned and utimately being carried out in a rather botched manner. The early material in the book about Heydrich's background was both interesting and very readable. The mission itself was quite simplistic; parachute the Czech operatives in and leave them to work out the best way top carry out the assassination. It took a few months for them to put together a plan. The aftermath of the killing was catastrophic for the Czech people as the German reprisals resulted in the deaths of literally hundreds of innocent people - including the total destruction of one small town. Was it necessary to kill Heydrich? On balance, the answer has to be 'yes' - despite the repercussions. This book is well worth a read. Not quite in the unputdownable class - but close.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 13 November 2013
I was originally going to read HhHH but was put off by the reviews suggesting it rambled too much and was a little strange and self-indugent. One of the reviewers of that book recommended this one above that book so I bought it instead and am really glad I did. What a great read! It's a shame the cover is a little 'sensational' because this book is none of that but an indepth run through the why's and wherefore's of this 'almost botched' Czech assassination attempt told in an almost story-like way. The heroism and the casual brutality (theirs and ours) come shining through, the mucky undercurrents of political ambition are laid bare, all the sacrifice's made fully revealed. Just a great, if ultimately deeply sad, story of extreme bravery and selflessness on the part of the resistance manipulated by somewhat less than selfless politicians. Has it been made into a film, if not, it's begging for it. Recommended.
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21 of 26 people found the following review helpful
on 29 August 2009
Reinhard Eugen Tristan Heydrich, the butcher of Prague, was the secret power behind the throne in Nazi Germany. A disgraced former naval officer, he found a home in the SS security service, which he shaped into a terrifying weapon. He also chaired the Wansee conference which formalised the details of 'The Final Solution' of the Jewish Problem and from where the Holocaust REALLY began!
Feared by many Nazi leaders, Heydrich had 'the dirt' on all of them, so his assasination by Czech partisans/paratroopers flow in from England shook the Nazi hierachy. He was given a state funeral, but the village of Lidice was flattened in reprisal for his killing and many Czech patriots died because of his assasination. Without Heydrich at its' head, Nazi brutality had lost it's evil genius and driving force. No-one came as close as Heydrich to the title of 'The most thoroughly Evil man in the world.' The Czechs did a great thing!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 20 August 2012
Well written and informative, a glimpse into a terrifying time when assassination was the better of two evils.
The power this man held still continued long after he was gone , revered as a martyr by a madman and his followers.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 19 November 2012
I have been to Prague a number of times and wanted a better understanding of its World War 2 history. This book did not disappoint and gives the reader a comprehensive understanding of Heydrichs psychology and subsequent demise
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 23 May 2013
Great read for my recent trip to Prague and a very moving story well worth taking the time to read and understand the trauma that people went through during the second world war
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on 29 November 2013
A great book a good read and it is very historically accurate.
I am reading it at the moment and I am really enjoying it.
I would like to point out I am not a Nazi just some one who likes history.
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on 27 April 2013
Covers a lot of the politics behind the assassination but does not really detail the character or motivation of the actual SOE agents. All in all an informative read which covers a lot of ground.
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