“Haunting, doggedly researched.”
“A fascinating read. This is a tale of police procedural, in an era
before computers and databases, of those
hunting the worst humans this world had to offer.”
From the New York Times reporters who first uncovered S.S. officer Aribert Heim’s secret life in Egypt comes the never-before-told story of the most hunted Nazi war criminal in the world.
Dr. Aribert Heim worked at the Mauthausen concentration camp for only a few months in 1941 but left a devastating mark. According to the testimony of survivors, Heim euthanized patients with injections of gasoline into their hearts. He performed surgeries on otherwise healthy people. Some recalled prisoners’ skulls set out on his desk to display perfect sets of teeth. Yet in the chaos of the postwar period, Heim was able to slip away from his dark past and establish himself as a reputable doctor and family man in the resort town of Baden-Baden. His story might have ended there, but for certain rare Germans who were unwilling to let Nazi war criminals go unpunished, among them a police investigator named Alfred Aedtner. After Heim fled on a tip that he was about to be arrested, Aedtner turned finding him into an overriding obsession. His quest took him across Europe and across decades, and into a close alliance with legendary Nazi hunter Simon Wiesenthal. The hunt for Heim became a powerful symbol of Germany’s evolving attitude toward the sins of its past, which finally crested in a desire to see justice done at almost any cost.
As late as 2009, the mystery of Heim’s disappearance remained unsolved. Now, in The Eternal Nazi, Nicholas Kulish and Souad Mekhennet reveal for the first time how Aribert Heim evaded capture–living in a working-class neighborhood of Cairo, praying in Arabic, beloved by an adopted Muslim family–while inspiring a manhunt that outlived him by many years. It is a brilliant feat of historical detection that illuminates a nation’s dramatic reckoning with the crimes of the Holocaust.
“He was hardly as famous as Josef Mengele, but Aribert Heim was every bit as vicious. And, like Mengele, this doctor-torturer-murderer eluded his hunters until the very end. The Eternal Nazi finally reconstructs Heim’s dark odyssey—from his sadistic practices in Mauthausen to his life in hiding as a convert to Islam in Cairo. Part detective story, part meditation on how family loyalties obstructed those seeking justice, this book is a remarkable achievement.”
Andrew Nagorski, author of Hitlerland: American Eyewitnesses to the Nazi Rise to Power
“With exacting detail and a rich cast of characters, The Eternal Nazi chronicles the feverish, zigzagging hunt for the barbarous Dr. Heim. A journalistic masterpiece and a thrilling read.”
Neal Bascomb, author of Hunting Eichmann
“This is a deeply reported, fascinating tale of obsession and the heavy burden of family and national guilt. Nick Kulish and Souad Mekhennet take us on a gripping search for the handsome Nazi doctor who became one of the world’s most elusive war criminals.”
Evan Thomas, author of Ike’s Bluff
“Aribert Heim’s chilling story as a free man in Egypt made me wonder what was more appalling: his heinous activity as an SS doctor, or the fact that like most former Nazis he was never punished for his crimes. Thoroughly investigated and written in riveting style, this is a fascinating and thought provoking book.”
Tom Segev, author of Simon Wiesenthal: The Life and Legends
“[A] steady flow of Yossarian-flavored absurdity.”
“Compelling…Uses humor to illuminate the deadly absurdities of war…
a deft command of tone—from the slapstick to the tragic.”
Jimmy Stephens makes the worst mistake of his career as a gossip columnist when he wrongly accuses a big star of cheating on his wife. Lawsuits are pending, and Jimmy’s imperious new editor blackmails him into taking the place of the paper’s only front-line war correspondent. Shipped off to the desert and embedded with a group of foul-mouthed but fraternal Marines, Jimmy provides a bewildered but unfiltered view of the invasion of Iraq that is alternately hair-raising, hilarious, and heartbreaking.
“As someone who donned a gasmask and tried but failed to embed with the U.S. Marines in Kuwait, I can say with gusto that Nicholas Kulish gets it exactly right: The high-testosterone, the needless WMD fears, the ineluctable forward drive of the whole ill-conceived operation. Kulish’s funny, engaging novel makes clear that the gargantuan mess we’ve made in Iraq all started with an impressionable and largely incompetent reporting corps who saw the invasion not as a tragic mistake but as a rollicking good adventure.”
Hampton Sides, bestselling author of Blood and Thunder and Ghost Soldiers
“Last One In is a war story told with wit and sympathy. Sharply written and instantly engaging, it is a very funny book that is part of a distinctive literary tradition: the grunt’s comedy. Like Shakespeare’s Pistol or the Good Soldier Svejk, Last One In is embedded down with the grunts—the grunts of the media as well as the military—down where politics and ideology are less important than surviving.”
Arthur Phillips, author of Prague and The Egyptologist
“Like Tim O’Brien’s Going After Cacciato or David O. Russell’s film Three Kings, Nicholas Kulish’s witty, fast-paced and sympathetic novel set at the beginning of the war in Iraq brings home both the terror and the absurdity of combat in a way that nonfiction rarely can.”
Adam Langer, author of Crossing California and The Washington Story
“Last One In hits on the kind of truth everyone should hear: The emotional truth. At times absurd, funny, and frightening, it is at all times unforgettable. The characters and descriptions are so vivid, I feel like I’ve spent time in a Humvee with four marines heading for Baghdad.”
Paulina Porizkova, author of A Model Summer