HITLER’S HANGMAN: THE LIFE OF HEYDRICH by Robert Gerwath

Until 1942, the year of his assassination Reinhard Heydrich was the chief of the Nazi Criminal Police, the SS Security Service and the Gestapo. He played a significant role in the planning of the “Final Solution” and was responsible for many of the atrocities implemented by the Nazi hierarchy until his death. In this new biography, HITLER’S HANGMAN: THE LIFE OF HEYDRICH by Robert Gerwath, the Director of the Center for War Studies at the University College Dublin,the reader is presented with the most complete study of this perpetrator of evil that has been written to date. Heydrich was the “complete” ideological Nazi. One who grew up in a privileged middle class family and the narrative and analysis follows his career progression to the point of becoming one of Hitler’s most trusted policy makers. Gerwath presents the inner workings of the Gestapo and other Nazi police organs. The reader witnesses the complexities of the Nazi secret police, the personal conflicts and power struggles and the resulting affects on its victims. It is a study that explores the personal and public character of its subject and leaves no doubt that the Holocaust was greatly facilitated by the former overlord of Bohemia and Moravia. His assassination (the topic of a fascinating new novel, HHH by Laurent Binet) by a Slovak and a Czech recruited by the British secret service in 1942 did the world a service by ending the cruelty of the “butcher of Prague.” The book is designed for the general reader as well as an academic audience and is very well written and well worth the time if one is interested in this type of subject matter.

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