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Erik Larson

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

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<b>Erik Larson, <i>New York Times</i> bestselling author of <i>Devil in the White City, </i> delivers a remarkable story set during Hitler's rise to power.<br /></b> <br />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. <p></p>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 &quot;New Germany,&quot; she has one affair after another, including with the suprisingly honorable first chief of the Gestapo, Rudolf Diels. <p></p>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. <p></p>Suffused with the tense atmosphere of the period, and with unforgettable portraits of the bizarre G&ouml;ring and the expectedly charming--yet wholly sinister--Goebbels, <i>In the Garden of Beasts</i> 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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Erik Larson, New York Times 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.Erik Larson, New York Times 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.

Specifications

Publisher
Crown
Book Format
Paperback
Original Languages
English
Number of Pages
480
Author
Erik Larson
Title
In the Garden of Beasts
ISBN-13
9780307408853
Publication Date
May, 2012
Assembled Product Dimensions (L x W x H)
7.92 x 5.19 x 1.21 Inches
ISBN-10
030740885X

Customer Reviews

Average Rating:(3.9)out of 5 stars
5 stars
27
4 stars
58
3 stars
28
2 stars
3
1 star
1
Most helpful positive review
Average Rating:(5.0)out of 5 stars
The story of the new A...
The story of the new American ambassador to Germany and his family,just as Hitler comes into power, interesting glimpse into Berlin, the Nazis, growing anti-semitism and escalation of Jewish persecution. It is fascinating and, of course appalling how Hitler and the Nazis gained more and more power,unchecked. Ambassador William Dodd's fears fall on deaf ears. This account gives a good glimpse into life in Berlin, growing tensions, increasing atrocities, the family life of the Dodds and diplomacy, social life including many prominent Nazis. Many prominent Nazis were also brutally murdered in a paranoic purge. Everyone lived in extreme fear, you could be jailed or killed because of often false accusations I will never understand how this great evil was allowed to happen.
Most helpful negative review
Average Rating:(1.0)out of 5 stars
I got this book throug...
I got this book through the goodreads.com first reads giveaway. I was excited to get it because I heard such good things about Erik Larson's other works, and I am truly interested in finding out more about the Nazis, Germany, and Hilter. Now I cannot say that this wasn't a good book for someone else, but I myself did not like it. In fact I didn't make it 50 pages in. If I don't like a book I try to make it to at least 50 pages in to see if it improves, but this book was very VERY dry. It isn't that I don't like nonfiction books either because I've read a few, but I don't even feel like Erik Larson tried to tell a story, it was like reading a textbook. It was just one thing after another with no interesting (in my opinion) tidbits at all. I recently started reading another nonfiction book "The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks" by Rebecca Skloot and I just love the book. I can't put it down.So unfortunately this was the first book that I received from the First Reads giveaway that I didn't enjoy. I am either going to donate my copy to my local library or perhaps see if someone is looking to trade on the other part of this website.
Most helpful positive review
Average Rating:(5.0)out of 5 stars
The story of the new A...
The story of the new American ambassador to Germany and his family,just as Hitler comes into power, interesting glimpse into Berlin, the Nazis, growing anti-semitism and escalation of Jewish persecution. It is fascinating and, of course appalling how Hitler and the Nazis gained more and more power,unchecked. Ambassador William Dodd's fears fall on deaf ears. This account gives a good glimpse into life in Berlin, growing tensions, increasing atrocities, the family life of the Dodds and diplomacy, social life including many prominent Nazis. Many prominent Nazis were also brutally murdered in a paranoic purge. Everyone lived in extreme fear, you could be jailed or killed because of often false accusations I will never understand how this great evil was allowed to happen.
Most helpful negative review
Average Rating:(1.0)out of 5 stars
I got this book throug...
I got this book through the goodreads.com first reads giveaway. I was excited to get it because I heard such good things about Erik Larson's other works, and I am truly interested in finding out more about the Nazis, Germany, and Hilter. Now I cannot say that this wasn't a good book for someone else, but I myself did not like it. In fact I didn't make it 50 pages in. If I don't like a book I try to make it to at least 50 pages in to see if it improves, but this book was very VERY dry. It isn't that I don't like nonfiction books either because I've read a few, but I don't even feel like Erik Larson tried to tell a story, it was like reading a textbook. It was just one thing after another with no interesting (in my opinion) tidbits at all. I recently started reading another nonfiction book "The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks" by Rebecca Skloot and I just love the book. I can't put it down.So unfortunately this was the first book that I received from the First Reads giveaway that I didn't enjoy. I am either going to donate my copy to my local library or perhaps see if someone is looking to trade on the other part of this website.
The story of the new American ambassador to Germany and his family,just as Hitler comes into power, interesting glimpse into Berlin, the Nazis, growing anti-semitism and escalation of Jewish persecution. It is fascinating and, of course appalling how Hitler and the Nazis gained more and more power,unchecked. Ambassador William Dodd's fears fall on deaf ears. This account gives a good glimpse into life in Berlin, growing tensions, increasing atrocities, the family life of the Dodds and diplomacy, social life including many prominent Nazis. Many prominent Nazis were also brutally murdered in a paranoic purge. Everyone lived in extreme fear, you could be jailed or killed because of often false accusations I will never understand how this great evil was allowed to happen.
I got this book through the goodreads.com first reads giveaway. I was excited to get it because I heard such good things about Erik Larson's other works, and I am truly interested in finding out more about the Nazis, Germany, and Hilter. Now I cannot say that this wasn't a good book for someone else, but I myself did not like it. In fact I didn't make it 50 pages in. If I don't like a book I try to make it to at least 50 pages in to see if it improves, but this book was very VERY dry. It isn't that I don't like nonfiction books either because I've read a few, but I don't even feel like Erik Larson tried to tell a story, it was like reading a textbook. It was just one thing after another with no interesting (in my opinion) tidbits at all. I recently started reading another nonfiction book "The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks" by Rebecca Skloot and I just love the book. I can't put it down.So unfortunately this was the first book that I received from the First Reads giveaway that I didn't enjoy. I am either going to donate my copy to my local library or perhaps see if someone is looking to trade on the other part of this website.

Frequent mentions

1-5 of 117 reviews
Average Rating:(5.0)out of 5 stars

The story of the new A...

The story of the new American ambassador to Germany and his family,just as Hitler comes into power, interesting glimpse into Berlin, the Nazis, growing anti-semitism and escalation of Jewish persecution. It is fascinating and, of course appalling how Hitler and the Nazis gained more and more power,unchecked. Ambassador William Dodd's fears fall on deaf ears. This account gives a good glimpse into life in Berlin, growing tensions, increasing atrocities, the family life of the Dodds and diplomacy, social life including many prominent Nazis. Many prominent Nazis were also brutally murdered in a paranoic purge. Everyone lived in extreme fear, you could be jailed or killed because of often false accusations I will never understand how this great evil was allowed to happen.

Helpful?
Average Rating:(4.0)out of 5 stars

I alway find non-ficti...

I alway find non-fiction told in this style hard to totally accept. I understand the need to create dialogue to make the book appealing. Once I got through this bias, I enjoyed this book. It conveyed how difficult it was to conceive of Hitler's insanity while ruling a seemingly civilized country. Although he did not get into detail about the deprivation and terror that German Jews were experiencing, this aspect has been dealt with in other books etc. I found the political infighting and the attitude of our own government to be the most illuminating part of the book. You come to realize that anti-semitism in our own State Department contributed greatly to Hitlers ability to plunge the world into War. Of course our actions during the 30's sometimes were used by the Bush administration to justify their actions in Iraq. I recommend this book as an interesting way for those who wish to know more about how Hitler could have happened. The style made this a better read than a lot of non-fiction. I would like to see this same type of book done about Japan in the 30's as well.

Helpful?
Average Rating:(4.0)out of 5 stars

Lets start with this-...

Let's start with this--Erik Larson could take the phonebook and make it suspenseful. The guy has a talent--one that I truly enjoy--for taking the most mundane detail and making you want to start the next chapter to see where it will take you. So I found myself tearing through this book like I have all of his others. I just kept wanting to know what happened next. That's pretty impressive when you think that his subject matter--Hitler rise to power in 1933-34--has been covered in lots of history books, not to mention Wikipedia (ha!). Larson tells his story through the lives of U.S. Ambassador Dodd and his daughter, Martha, who come to Berlin just in time to witness the whole affair play out. In his customary way, Larson brings to life those long gone with his quick eye for detail and smart prose. I enjoyed meeting most of these people, although I wish there had been more pictures of these people in the book which I think would have helped me keep the large cast straight. My biggest complaint was that when the culminating event was over, I didn't feel like I understood exactly what had happened or why even though there had been foreboding warnings for several chapters. I would have liked a little more explanation of motive--which I found online with a little research--to pull all the threads together. Regardless, this was an enjoyable read and I did learn much about the period that I did not know before. Anxiously waiting for your next book, Mr. Larson!

Helpful?
Average Rating:(4.0)out of 5 stars

A fine re-telling of a...

A fine re-telling of a difficult time in diplomacy. The book shows the rise of Hitler and the Nazis. At first it is a little confusing because of the multitude of names and places, The story does move and allows the reader to wonder as the world sat back and let Hitler do the incredulous things he did. Perhaps if the world leaders had been more forceful, Hitler and his henchmen wouldn't have got as far as they did.

Helpful?
Average Rating:(4.0)out of 5 stars

Followed the reluctant...

Followed the reluctant US Ambassador and Cassandra Mr. Dodd and his family in mid-1930's Berlin. It took a while but he and his wife concluded as early as 1934 that war was inevitable and the hesitant treatment of the Hitler Regime led to WWII. A bit too much about the trampy daughter and the book jumped and ended fast after the "Knight of the Long Knives" but a fast and entertaining read about a time and a place that I lacked specifics on.

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