In the Garden of Beasts: Love, Terror, and an American Family in Hitler's Berlin

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In the Garden of Beasts: Love, Terror, and an American Family in Hitler's Berlin

Format:  Paperback,

448 pages

Publisher: Random House Inc

Publish Date: May 2012

ISBN-13: 9780307408853

ISBN-10: 030740885X

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Book Information

The following content was provided by the publisher.
Erik Larson, bestselling author of "Devil in the White City, " delivers a remarkable story set during Hitler's rise to power.
The time is 1933, the place, Berlin, when William E. Dodd becomes America's first ambassador to Hitler's Nazi Germany in a year that proved to be a turning point in history.
A mild-mannered professor from Chicago, Dodd brings along his wife, son, and flamboyant daughter, Martha. At first Martha is entranced by the parties and pomp, and the handsome young men of the Third Reich with their infectious enthusiasm for restoring Germany to a position of world prominence. Enamored of the "New Germany," she has one affair after another, including with the suprisingly honorable first chief of the Gestapo, Rudolf Diels. But as evidence of Jewish persecution mounts, confirmed by chilling first-person testimony, her father telegraphs his concerns to a largely indifferent State Department back home. Dodd watches with alarm as Jews are attacked, the press is censored, and drafts of frightening new laws begin to circulate. As that first year unfolds and the shadows deepen, the Dodds experience days full of excitement, intrigue, romance--and ultimately, horror, when a climactic spasm of violence and murder reveals Hitler's true character and ruthless ambition.
Suffused with the tense atmosphere of the period, and with unforgettable portraits of the bizarre Goring and the expectedly charming--yet wholly sinister--Goebbels, "In the Garden of Beasts" lends a stunning, eyewitness perspective on events as they unfold in real time, revealing an era of surprising nuance and complexity. The result is a dazzling, addictively readable work that speaks volumes about why the world did not recognize the grave threat posed by Hitler until Berlin, and Europe, were awash in blood and terror.

Specifications

Publisher: Random House Inc
Publish Date: May 2012
ISBN-13: 9780307408853
ISBN-10: 030740885X
Format: Paperback
Number of Pages: 448
Shipping Weight (in pounds): 0.86
Product in Inches (L x W x H): 6.75 x 4.5 x 1.25
Walmart No.: 9780307408853

Chapter outline

Das Vorspielp. xvii
The Man Behind the Curtainp. 3
Into the Woodp. 7
House Hunting in the Third Reichp. 51
Lucifer in the Gardenp. 91
How the Skeleton Achesp. 155
Disquietp. 207
Berlin at Duskp. 261
When Everything Changedp. 301
Epilogue The Queer Bird in Exilep. 357
Coda "Table Talkp. 365
Sources and Acknowledgmentsp. 367
Notesp. 377
Bibliographyp. 423
Photo Creditsp. 435
Indexp. 437

Reviews

Review by Library Journal (2011-04-01)

Best-selling author Larson (The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair That Changed America) turns his considerable literary nonfiction skills to the experiences of U.S. ambassador to Germany William E. Dodd and his family in Berlin in the early years of Hitler's rule. Dodd had been teaching history at the University of Chicago when he was summoned by FDR to the German ambassadorship. Larson, using lots of archival as well as secondary-source research, focuses on Dodd's first year in Berlin and, using Dodd's diary, chillingly portrays the terror and oppression that slowly settled over Germany in 1933. Dodd quickly realized the Nazis' evil intentions; his daughter Martha, in her mid-20's, was initially smitten by the courteous SS soldiers surrounding her family, but over time she, too, became disenchanted with the brutality of the regime. Along the way Larson provides portraits based on primary-source impressions of Hermann Goring, Joseph Goebbels, Heinrich Himmler, and Hitler himself. He also traces the Dodds' lives after their time in Germany.

Verdict: Larson captures the nuances of this terrible period. This is a grim read but a necessary one for the present generation. Those who wish to study Dodd further can read Robert Dallek's Democrat & Diplomat.

-Ed Goedeken, Iowa State Univ. Lib., Ames

(c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Awards and Recognitions

  • Washington State Book Award, 2012 (United States)
  • Publishers Weekly Best Books of the Year, 2011 (United States)
  • New York Times Notable Books of the Year, 2011 (United States)

Book description

Erik Larson, bestselling author of Devil in the White City, delivers a remarkable story set during Hitler’s rise to power.

The time is 1933, the place, Berlin, when William E. Dodd becomes America’s first ambassador to Hitler’s Nazi Germany in a year that proved to be a turning point in history.

    A mild-mannered professor from Chicago, Dodd brings along his wife, son, and flamboyant daughter, Martha. At first Martha is entranced by the parties and pomp, and the handsome young men of the Third Reich with their infectious enthusiasm for restoring Germany to a position of world prominence. Enamored of the “New Germany,” she has one affair after another, including with the suprisingly honorable first chief of the Gestapo, Rudolf Diels. But as evidence of Jewish persecution mounts, confirmed by chilling first-person testimony, her father telegraphs his concerns to a largely indifferent State Department back home. Dodd watches with alarm as Jews are attacked, the press is censored, and drafts of frightening new laws begin to circulate. As that first year unfolds and the shadows deepen, the Dodds experience days full of excitement, intrigue, romance—and ultimately, horror, when a climactic spasm of violence and murder reveals Hitler’s true character and ruthless ambition.

    Suffused with the tense atmosphere of the period, and with unforgettable portraits of the bizarre Göring and the expectedly charming--yet wholly sinister--Goebbels, In the Garden of Beasts lends a stunning, eyewitness perspective on events as they unfold in real time, revealing an era of surprising nuance and complexity. The result is a dazzling, addictively readable work that speaks volumes about why the world did not recognize the grave threat posed by Hitler until Berlin, and Europe, were awash in blood and terror.

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