An extraordinary portrait of life at the heart of Heinrich Himmler’s court at the heart of the Nazi Regime.
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.
Hugest thanks to Elliott & Thompson for sending me a copy to review, I’m extremely grateful.
This book utterly blew my mind! It is the absolutely astonishing true story of Dr Felix Kersten, a Finnish Physician, who was introduced to Heinrich Himmler and was able to treat Himmler’s chronic stomach disorder throughout the Second World War in Germany.
Dr Felix Kersten was a rotund, gentle man who learnt his kraft of Chinese Style massage from Dr Ko, who took him on as a student because he saw the potential in his hands. He studied under him and inherited his practice and became a very sought-after Dr, who could cure all ailments with his miraculous hands.
The book reads like a thriller and had me absolutely gripped, I just could not put it down – the fact that I had never heard this story and how this mild-mannered, polite and jovial Dr Kersten managed to treat Himmler and then, in Himmler’s most vulnerable moments when he was in so much pain, and the only person that could alleviate that pain was Kersten, Dr Kersten was able to manipulate Himmler by playing to his ego, and in doing so saved the lives of many thousands of Jews and other prisoners. he was able to document his meetings with the Reichsfuhrer, and keep them so that in the years after the war Joseph Kessel met him and questioned him about these interactions that happened right in the Devils lair, inside Nazi Germany, indeed inside SS headquarters. And as I’ve said the tale is absolutely extraordinary!
The Man With The Miraculous Hands is an exceptionally well-written book, and I loved the way it felt like a thriller, the tension I felt reading about the events with Himmler and Dr Kersten and the goings on inside Nazi Germany, the thinking of one of the most heinous men in history – Himmler and all the paranoia that was felt by him and Dr Kersten, reads so well – when you think it’s true it is almost mind-blowing!
I have to rate this book with 5 stars, I really like reading about both World Wars and find novels or factual accounts from the German side very interesting. I whizzed through this book in a couple of days! If you like to learn about historical facts and are interested in WW2 this will be a must-read for you.
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