The Man with Miraculous Hands: The Incredible Story of Himmler’s Physician Who Saved Thousands of Lives
By: Joseph Kessel
The incredible story of Heinrich Himmler’s physician who saved thousands of lives.
With a new introduction by bestselling author Norman Ohler, which addresses Kersten’s flawed legacy.
In 1938, before the outbreak of the Second World War, Dr Felix Kersten an avuncular Finnish physician was introduced to Heinrich Himmler, the chief architect of the Holocaust. Seemingly the only person who could cure Himmler of his crippling stomach cramps, Kersten worked on Himmler’s vanity and gratitude Kersten to save the lives of thousands of people, and was celebrated across Europe, culminating in Joseph Kessel’s 1961 bestseller, The Man with Miraculous Hands.
And yet, Kersten’s historical legacy is not flawless, and a new introduction by bestselling author Norman Ohler, deals with the historical legacy of Kersten’s more exaggerated claims, and asks directly why a man who had done so much good would risk damaging that reputation.
Soon to be a major motion picture starring Woody Harrelson, The Man with Miraculous Hands is an extraordinarily revealing portrayal of the deranged atmosphere in Himmler’s court where paranoia and vicious rivalries reigned. Shedding a new light on the darkest days of the twentieth century, the story of Kersten’s life gives us a new way of viewing the history of the Second World War, one that goes beyond the simple idea of heroes and villains.
‘For one man to have stemmed that appalling tide to any degree was no mean achievement. His story makes for an engrossing read. And, like all such accounts it forces the reader to ask themselves an uncomfortable question: Perhaps he could have done more – but how much would you have done?’
‘Jospeh Kessel…published this account of Kersten’s life after he had become Himmler’s medical adviser and confidant. He based it entirely on Kersten’s own account, and the result is as racy as any spy novel. Whatever the historical exactitude of the book, it is a wonderful read, and the portrait of Himmler has the ring of ghastly truth.’
- The Oldie
‘At no small risk to his personal safety, Kersten throughout the war years had dominated Himmler to the extent of saving hundreds of thousands of human lives.’
- History of War
‘A fantastic book … This edition of the book is a particularly important read, to provide some sense of incredulity to a captivating story.’
- Get History