In the Garden of Beasts

In the Garden of Beasts

Love, Terror, and An American Family in Hitler's Berlin

Downloadable Audiobook - 2011
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"Larson is a marvelous writer...superb at creating characters with a few short strokes."—New York Times Book Review Erik 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. The time is 1933, the place, Berlin, when William E. Dodd becomes America's first ambassador to Hitler's 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.
Publisher: New York : Random House Audio, 2011
Edition: Unabridged
ISBN: 9780307914606
Branch Call Number: OverDrive Audiobook
Characteristics: 1 sound file : digital
Additional Contributors: Hoye, Stephen
OverDrive, Inc

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TechLibrarian Aug 26, 2017

I listened to this audiobook a few years ago. At the time I only thought it was so-so--it's quite suspenseful, as the plot and tension build slowly. I could appreciate that it was all meticulously researched using primary sources, and this gave great insight into the characters. I've been thinking about it lots over the past few weeks, as current events seem eerily similar. Thus, I thought I'd write a review and add it to my list of recommended reads. I think it's important that everyone understand this history.

c
Chapel_Hill_SusanM
Mar 28, 2016

I hadn't read Erik Larson before (I know, I know), and I am happy to say this guy lives up to the hype. It's a compelling story with plot and intrigue and characters you care about, but it also avoids one of my pet peeves - made up conversations between historical figures. Plus, the subject matter is at once alarming and thought-provoking - it seems like a pretty straight line from the anti-Semitism of the US to the complacence about Hitler's rise to power to the Holocaust, but hindsight is 20/20, right? I also wish there were no implications for the current day, but that wish is part of the dangerous complacence, isn't it? The point is, this book provoked FEELINGS, which I was not expecting. Also, I would like a whole book on Martha Dodd, the ambassador's daughter. Dang, she got into some stuff.

p
pdxalexa
Jan 16, 2016

Great book that lived up to its hype in its day. Well read by the narrator. Captured the turn of the worm in pre-WWII Berlin. The fear in the air was palpable.

a
Annsonline
Sep 19, 2013

I've read extensively on the topic of Hitler's Germany and found that this book - unlike most of the others - provided a very human face to the history of the times. I thoroughly enjoyed the book and found it well written and a great read.

NuMD97 May 18, 2013

Outstanding. Simply outstanding. The level of research, is very thorough. William E. Dodd, being one of the first American ambassadors to Nazi Germany, is enough to pique the interest of even the most casual observer of history. We know full well how it turned out, but to see how it all began and how Ambassador Dodd predicted the beginnings of the coming World War is something to behold. Not a first choice selected by President Franklin Roosevelt, not even a second or third one, but the only one who presciently saw Hitler's temporizing plan to ready his country for war. And no one listened. Dodd is certainly not a hero in the conventional sense, with foibles of his own. He is developed into three dimensions for the reader, by the literary craftsmanship of the author. Larson brings the unfolding of pre-World War II events, enrichingly to life. Well worth the read, or as a talking book.

t
TrekBebe
Apr 30, 2013

So much information in this novel! Very compelling time period and story, but I was intimidated by the number of characters and details. If you were well-versed in history, you'd enjoy it more.

m
MaryKPriem
Feb 09, 2013

The author is a former police detective who applies his skills to historical records and finds the most amazing true stories. Yes, everything in his books is carefully researched and true. This book reads like a novel and provides valuable insights into the rise of Nazi Germany.

bnotash70 Nov 25, 2012

The true ( I think) story of the American Ambassador under Roosevelt to the 3rdnReich, and his family, in Berlin. During the ascent to power of Hitler and the Nazis.

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