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HHhH bookcover.jpg
English language hardcover edition
AuthorLaurent Binet
TranslatorSam Taylor
GenreHistorical fiction
PublisherGrasset & Fasquelle
Publication date
Published in English
Media typePrint

HHhH is the debut novel of French author Laurent Binet, published in 2010 by Grasset & Fasquelle. The book recounts Operation Anthropoid, the assassination of Nazi leader Reinhard Heydrich in Prague during World War II. The novel was awarded the 2010 Prix Goncourt du Premier Roman.[1]


The novel follows the history of the operation and the lives of its protagonists—Reinhard Heydrich and his assassins Jozef Gabčík and Jan Kubiš. It is interlaced with the author's account of the process of researching and writing the book, his commentary about other literary and media treatments of the subject, and reflections about the extent to which the behavior of real people may of necessity be fictionalised in a historical novel.[1][2][3]


The title is an initialism for Himmlers Hirn heißt Heydrich ("Himmler's brain is called Heydrich"), a quip about Heydrich in SS circles.[4] The title was suggested by Binet's publisher, Grasset, instead of the "too sci-fi" working title Opération Anthropoïde. The editor also requested the cut of about twenty pages criticizing Jonathan Littell's Les Bienveillantes, another novel about the SS in World War II that was awarded the Prix Goncourt in 2006.[5] The Millions published the "missing pages" in 2012.[6]


HHhH has been translated into more than twenty languages.[7] The English translation by Sam Taylor was published in the US by Farrar, Straus and Giroux on 24 April 2012 and in the UK by Harvill Secker on 3 May 2012.

Film adaptation[edit]

Cédric Jimenez directed a film adaptation of the novel, also known as The Man with the Iron Heart. It starred Jason Clarke, Rosamund Pike, Mia Wasikowska, Jack O'Connell and Jack Reynor.[8]

Awards and honours[edit]


  1. ^ a b c "Le prix Goncourt du premier roman attribué à Laurent Binet pour HHhH". Le Monde. 2 March 2010. Retrieved 17 October 2010.
  2. ^ Riglet, Marc (7 May 2010). "HHhH, entre "je" et "nous"". L'Express. Retrieved 17 October 2010.
  3. ^ Sulser, Eleonore (13 February 2010). "Heydrich en personnage de papier". Le Temps. Retrieved 17 October 2010.[permanent dead link]
  4. ^ Binet, L. HHhH, chapter 108.
  5. ^ "L'histoire de HHhH". L'Express. 6 April 2010. Retrieved 17 October 2010.
  6. ^ "Exclusive: The Missing Pages of Laurent Binet's HHhH". The Millions. 16 April 2012. Retrieved 1 May 2012.
  7. ^ Nawotka, Edward (25 November 2013). "It's Okay to Mistake the Author and the Narrator". Publishing Perspectives. Retrieved 29 November 2017.
  8. ^ "Cannes: Jason Clarke, Rosamund Pike, Jack O'Connell Join WWII-Set Drama 'HHHH' (EXCLUSIVE)". Variety. 7 May 2015.
  9. ^ John Williams (January 14, 2012). "National Book Critics Circle Names 2012 Award Finalists". New York Times. Retrieved January 15, 2013.