David Cesarani

‘Poster Boy of the Third Reich’

Hitler’s Hangman: The Life and Death of Reinhard Heydrich


Yale University Press 336pp £20 order from our bookshop

At the start of his biography of Reinhard Heydrich, Robert Gerwarth, professor of modern history at University College Dublin, muses on the challenge of writing about an individual who is ‘repellent’ and ‘strangely distant’. He opts for the strategy of ‘cold empathy’, engaging his subject with ‘critical distance’ while attempting to assess his behaviour in context rather than in the light of what we know it led to. This approach, in contrast to the sensational popular biographies, produces some genuine surprises.

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