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In the garden of beasts : love, terror, and…
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In the garden of beasts : love, terror, and an American family in Hitler's… (edition 2011)

by Erik Larson

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
4,4602511,100 (3.83)226
Member:mcgzoo
Title:In the garden of beasts : love, terror, and an American family in Hitler's Berlin
Authors:Erik Larson
Info:New York : Broadway Paperbacks, [2012?], c2011.
Collections:Your library, Read but unowned, Favorites
Rating:*****
Tags:nazi germany, FDR, foreign service

Work details

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

  1. 70
    The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich by William L. Shirer (kraaivrouw)
  2. 30
    Through embassy eyes by Martha Dodd (marieke54)
  3. 20
    I Will Bear Witness: A Diary of the Nazi Years 1933-1941 by Victor Klemperer (BookshelfMonstrosity)
    BookshelfMonstrosity: The published version of Klemperer’s secret wartime diary are a vivid and personal account of day-to-day life in Nazi Germany. Writing with sophistication and insight, he records the stories of ordinary Germans and their hopes and fears during the dark days of the war. This provides interesting points of comparison with Dodd's experiences.… (more)
  4. 20
    Resisting Hitler. Mildred Harnack and the Red Orchestra by Shareen Blair Brysac (marieke54)
  5. 10
    Alone in Berlin by Hans Fallada (BookshelfMonstrosity)
    BookshelfMonstrosity: If you found In the Garden of Beasts moving and want to read fiction about the Third Reich, try Every Man Dies Alone, a haunting novel based on actual events surrounding a couple that attempted to undermine the Nazi regime.
  6. 11
    Red Orchestra. The Story of the Berlin Underground and the Circle of Friends Who Resisted Hitler by Anne Nelson (kraaivrouw)
  7. 02
    The Haunted Wood: Soviet Espionage in America--The Stalin Era by Allen Weinstein (spacecommuter)
    spacecommuter: Erik Larsen's In the Garden of Beasts draws on The Haunted Wood and the notebooks of Alexader Vassiliev as sources. The Haunted Wood mentions Martha Dodd, her romance with Boris Winogradov and her father extensively, and includes additional evidence of Martha's espionage that Larsen mostly omitted from his book.… (more)
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» See also 226 mentions

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Showing 1-5 of 242 (next | show all)
Very dry reading. Took me quite awhile to plod through but a very thorough account of Ambassador Dodd's time in Germany as our American Ambassador in the years prior to WW II. Amb. Dodd was a normal man in the times when Ambassadors were a rather wealthy, foppish bunch. His daughter adds the meat to the story. What a sorry person she was with her sexual exploits and tinkering with communism. Amb. Dodd saw what was happening but in American where another WW would not be welcome refused to believe some of things he was seeing. The anti-semitism in America did no help his cause. ( )
  joannemonck | Mar 24, 2017 |
Erik Larson writes very good non-fiction backed by impeccable research and I was glad to find this at a local library. So far, it is quite readable. ( )
  maryhollis | Feb 20, 2017 |
10/11: updated review:

Larson uses the U.S. Ambassador Dodd and his family as the vehicle to understand what it was like in the days of Hitler's rise to power. The story became bogged down a bit in the middle but this gets a solid 4 stars for the historical significance of pre-war Germany and the prejudices and policies that led to Hitler's rise in power. I learned many things I didn't know and in my opinion everyone should read this book as a warning that "those who don't know history are bound to repeat it". Hitler's rise reminded me of the story of the frog in hot water...A dictator who rises to power so slowly and gradually that the people don't know the full truth until it's too late.

The side story of Dodd's rather racy daughter adds an interesting element to the story.

My club had a good discussion and I'd highly recommend it for book clubs.

( )
  janb37 | Feb 13, 2017 |
As is true with me for most non-fiction....some parts I really enjoyed and other parts were just boring to me. I love a good story but sometimes the facts just get in the way. ( )
  lynnski723 | Dec 31, 2016 |
First of all let me say that I admire the amount of research and effort that Larson puts into each and every book. He obviously has spent a great deal of time meticulously combing through the archives. I just didn't find the subject matter all that interesting and I had a great deal of trouble trying to finish it. Sorry Eric Larson. ( )
  Iambookish | Dec 14, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 242 (next | show all)
William E. Dodd was an academic historian, living a quiet life in Chicago, when Franklin D. Roosevelt appointed him United States ambassador to Germany. It was 1933, Hitler had recently been appointed chancellor, the world was about to change.

Had Dodd gone to Berlin by himself, his reports of events, his diary entries, his quarrels with the State Department, his conversations with Roosevelt would be source material for specialists. But the general reader is in luck on two counts: First, Dodd took his family to Berlin, including his young, beautiful and sexually adventurous daughter, Martha; second, the book that recounts this story, “In the Garden of Beasts,” is by Erik Larson, the author of “The Devil in the White City.” 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 pleasures of a political thriller: innocents abroad, the gathering storm. . . .
added by PLReader | editNY Times, DOROTHY GALLAGHER (Jun 10, 2011)
 

» Add other authors (4 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Erik Larsonprimary authorall editionscalculated
Cookman, WhtineyCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Nudelman, ElinaDesignersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
In the middle of the journey of our life, I came to myself in a dark wood where the straight way was lost. - Dante Alighieri, The Divine Comedy: Canto I (Carlyle-Wickstead Translation, 1932)
Dedication
To the girls, and the
next twenty-five

(and in memory of Molly, a good dog)
First words
Once, at the dawn of a very dark time, an American father and daughter found themselves suddenly transported from their snug home in Chicago to the heart of Hitler's Berlin.
Quotations
"Hardly anyone thought that the threats against the Jews were meant seriously," wrote Carl Zuckmayer, a Jewish writer.
Even the language used by Hitler and party officials was weirdly inverted. The term "fanatical" became a positive trait. Suddenly it connoted what philologist Victor Klemperer, a Jewish resident of Berlin, described as a "happy mix of courage and fervent devotion."
"There has been nothing in social history more implacable, more heartless and more devastating than the present policy in Germany against the Jews..."
An odd kind of fanciful thinking seemed to have bedazzled Germany, to the highest levels of government. Earlier in the year, for example, Goring had claimed with utter sobriety that three hundred German Americans had been murdered in front of Independence Hall in Philadelphia at the start of the past world war. Messersmith, in a dispatch, observed that even smart, well-traveled Germans will "sit and calmly tell you the most extraordinary fairy tales."
After experiencing life in Nazi Germany, Thomas Wolfe wrote, "Here was an entire nation ... infested with the contagion of an ever-present fear. It was a kind of creeping paralysis which twisted and blighted all human relations."
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Book description
William E. Dodd becomes the American ambassador to Germany, where he witnesses first-hand the atrocities of Hitler's regime and watches his daughter fall in love with a Nazi officer.
Haiku summary
They come overmatched Think easy job, not so Leave disheartened (foof2you)

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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.… (more)

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