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

by Erik Larson

Crown/Archetype | May 1, 2012 | Trade Paperback

In The Garden Of Beasts: Love, Terror, And An American Family In Hitler's Berlin is rated 3.6 out of 5 by 5.
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.

Format: Trade Paperback

Dimensions: 480 pages, 7.95 × 5.18 × 1.22 in

Published: May 1, 2012

Publisher: Crown/Archetype

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 030740885X

ISBN - 13: 9780307408853

Found in: History

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Reviews

Rated 4 out of 5 by from Hard to look away Larson brings to life a time period in history that is both repugnant and fascinating. Everyday political life in 1930's Berlin is shown in great detail through the eyes of an ordinary and intelligent man and his capricious daughter - the American diplomat William and Martha Dodd. While William is busy trying to push forward the reparations payment schedule to a false front of Nazis, Martha is sleeping her way around the very same people. Her blithe ways as well as her father's reluctance to speak his mind are changed in one afternoon of blood and depravity. Soon the Dodds are fearing for their friends in a city that is waiting for the poilitcal storm to break.
Date published: 2013-06-20
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Fell Flat! An American family moves to Berln and gets caught up in the power and politics of Nazi Germany . I was increasingly frustrated with the main characters slow progression toward change. Jam-packed with history but it lost some of it's lustre in the end.
Date published: 2012-08-17
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Worthwhile Read! Insightful recollection of the state of Germany and the rise of Nazism from the eyes of the American Ambassador and his adventuresome daughter. The book reads like a novel and provides a 'fly on the wall' perspective of the daily march of Germany from democracy to totalitarianism. The last section of the book begins to struggle for pace compared to the start. Still an amazing piece of writing on a historical era that needs to be retold to current and future generations.
Date published: 2012-06-25
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Boring and tedious It was difficult to get through this book which promised so much. I heard the author interviewed on the radio and he sounded very articulate and the book very interesting. However, the writing comprises trite descriptions and does not fulfill the promise of an interesting read (notwithstanding the many rave reviews). The best chapter was Chapter 52, Only the Horses, and this was at page 330 after slogging through so much boring detail. And at times the author seemed to be bored with the material and/or had a ghost writer, because there were times when the long sentences didn't make sense. Very disappointing, but I'll give it 2 stars for an interesting theme.
Date published: 2011-11-05
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A must read Berlin's equivalent in the 1930's of New York's Central Park was the Tiergarten, which literally translated means "animal garden" or "garden of the beasts". In years previously it had been a hunting preserve for royalty, but at the time of this story was 630 acres of trees, walkways and riding paths. Surrounding it were embassies, homes, shopping districts, and government and Nazi institutions. This book, a biography, is the story of the time in Germany of American Ambassador William Dodd, from his arrival on July 13, 1933 to his unwilling departure on December 29, 1937, and of Martha, his daughter. Dodd, chair of the history department at the University of Chicago, was not the first choice for Ambassador - many had turned it down - and an unlikely choice at that. Over time he became estranged from most in the Embassy and also from many back home in the State Department. However in the end, in hindsight, he was proven to have been "a lone beacon of American freedom and hope in a land of gathering darkness." His daughter, Martha, who had left behind a failed marriage, embarked on a series of affairs including with the head of the Gestapo, who was married, and also with a Russian NKVD agent (the predecessor of the KGB) who was also married and who became one of the 3 great loves of her life. Initially sympathetic to Germany, she became a fierce critic. The book is fast-paced and reads much like a mystery novel, helped by the author's frequent hinting of events to come (e.g., "this appraisal was destined for significant revision"). You will find it difficult, if not impossible to put down.
Date published: 2011-07-21

– More About This Product –

In The Garden Of Beasts: Love, Terror, And An American Family In Hitler's Berlin

by Erik Larson

Format: Trade Paperback

Dimensions: 480 pages, 7.95 × 5.18 × 1.22 in

Published: May 1, 2012

Publisher: Crown/Archetype

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 030740885X

ISBN - 13: 9780307408853

About the Book

Larson has been widely acclaimed as a master of narrative non-fiction, and in his new book, the bestselling author of "Devil in the White City" turns his hand to a remarkable story set during Hitler's rise to power.

Read from the Book

CHAPTER 1Means of EscapeThe telephone call that forever changed the lives of the Dodd family of Chicago came at noon on Thursday, June 8, 1933, as William E. Dodd sat at his desk at the University of Chicago.Now chairman of the history department, Dodd had been a professor at the university since 1909, recognized nationally for his work on the American South and for a biography of Woodrow Wilson. He was sixty-four years old, trim, five feet eight inches tall, with blue-gray eyes and light brown hair. Though his face at rest tended to impart severity, he in fact had a sense of humor that was lively, dry, and easily ignited. He had a wife, Martha, known universally as Mattie, and two children, both in their twenties. His daughter, also named Martha, was twenty-four years old; his son, William Jr.--Bill--was twenty-eight.By all counts they were a happy family and a close one. Not rich by any means, but well off, despite the economic depression then gripping the nation. They lived in a large house at 5757 Blackstone Avenue in Chicago’s Hyde Park neighborhood, a few blocks from the university. Dodd also owned--and every summer tended--a small farm in Round Hill, Virginia, which, according to a county survey, had 386.6 acres, “more or less,” and was where Dodd, a Jeffersonian democrat of the first stripe, felt most at home, moving among his twenty-one Guernsey heifers; his four geldings, Bill, Coley, Mandy, and Prince; his Farmall tractor; and his horse-drawn Syracuse plows. He mad
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From the Publisher

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.

About the Author

ERIK LARSON is the author of the national bestsellers Thunderstruck, The Devil in the White City, and Isaac's Storm. ErikLarsonBooks.com

Editorial Reviews

#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLERNEW YORK TIMES NOTABLE BOOK OF THE YEARWASHINGTON POST NOTABLE BOOK OF THE YEARNPR BEST BOOK OF THE YEARO, THE OPRAH MAGAZINE BEST BOOK OF THE YEARUSA TODAY 10 BOOKS WE LOVEDPUBLISHERS WEEKLY BEST NONFICTION BOOK OF THE YEARKIRKUS REVIEWS BEST NONFICTION BOOK OF THE YEARNEW YORK TIMES, JANET MASLIN'S TOP 10 BOOKS OF THE YEARSEATTLE TIMES BEST BOOK OF THE YEARTHE WEEK BEST NONFICTION BOOK OF THE YEARGLOBE AND MAIL VERY BEST BOOKS OF THE YEARAMERICAN BOOKSELLERS ASSOCIATION INDIE BOOK OF THE YEAR“By far his best and most enthralling work of novelistic history….Powerful, poignant…a transportingly true story.” —New York Times“Reads like an elegant thriller…utterly compelling… marvelous stuff. An excellent and entertaining book that deserves to be a bestseller, and probably will be.” —Washington Post“The most important book of 2011.” —O, The Oprah Magazine“A dazzling amalgam of reportage….Reads like a suspense novel, replete with colorful characters, both familiar and those previously relegated to the shadows.  Like Christopher Isherwood’s Berlin Stories or Victor Klemperer’s Diaries, IN THE GARDEN OF BEASTS is an on-the-ground documentary of a society going mad in slow motion.” —Chicago Sun-Times“Fascinating...A master at writing true tales as riveting as fiction.” —People (3 1/2 stars) “Larson has meticulously researched the Dodds’ intimate witness to Hitler’s ascendancy and created an edifying narrative of this historical byway that has all the pleas
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