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In the Garden of Beasts by Erik Larson
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In the Garden of Beasts (edition 2011)

by Erik Larson

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4,0842391,241 (3.83)214
Member:katastrophe32
Title:In the Garden of Beasts
Authors:Erik Larson
Info:Crown Publishers (2011), Textbook Binding
Collections:Your library
Rating:****
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In the Garden of Beasts: Love, Terror, and an American Family in Hitler's Berlin by Erik Larson

Recently added bychive, JimFreeman, private library, e-zReader, Posingasme, rnbwpnt, HenryJOlsen, wise1mr
  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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English (229)  French (3)  Dutch (1)  German (1)  Danish (1)  Spanish (1)  Norwegian (1)  Italian (1)  All languages (238)
Showing 1-5 of 229 (next | show all)
There are so many well done reviews of this book, I thought I would just leave my thoughts.

I was impressed at how many details were captured from diaries and letters about Mr Dodd and his daughter, Martha. We don't really write down our thoughts about people we meet today as they did then. I feel like something has been lost, that biographers of the present and future will have a harder time of it.
I felt a sort of kinship with Mr Dodd, as all he really wanted to do was go to a quiet farm and write his book. Instead he took a very extroverted posting, ambassador to Berlin, in a very turbulent time in history. He didn't really have either the personality or the funds needed to do the job effectively. If it was possible to be effective at all, during Hitler's rise to power.
I did not care for Martha Dodd at all. Her casual relationships with bankers, Nazis, Communists (and sometimes all at the same time) left me thinking so much less of her as a person. I realize that Larson used her to keep the narrative spicy and interesting. I would have much preferred the interesting part to be about Hitler and the city of Berlin and not just Martha's loose morals.
I wish we had more about Mrs Dodd. I would have liked to know how she fared in Berlin's society. Her every day interactions, running the household, etc.

All in all, a little disappointed. I really loved Larson's The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair that Changed America and I really wanted this one to live up to that. ( )
  VictoriaPL | May 16, 2016 |
A well written biography of the US ambassador to Berlin during Hitler's rise to power. It provides a unique perspective that is well worth reading. ( )
  M_Clark | Apr 26, 2016 |
I picked this one up after hearing Eric Larson speak at a conference recently. He is an engaging speaker, and I'm pleased to report the book follows his precedent.

His main characters here are Ambassador Dodd and his daughter, Martha. He clearly shows how the family lived and who they associated with, with many familiar names from the history books. ( )
  ajsteadman | Apr 20, 2016 |
This is about William Dodd, an academic who became the American ambassador in Berlin from 1933 to 1938. At the time of his appointment by Roosevelt
Dodd was a professor at the University of Chicago. He moved his family and settled in for what he anticipated would be a pleasurable, low key assignment. He was not a typical, wealthy career diplomat and was surprised at the amounts of personal wealth which former ambassadors had spent. He launched a campaign of frugality which angered his bosses in the Pretty Good Club. This group in turn distrusted and betrayed him because of his coat cutting approach. It was during this time that Hitler and his cronies were ascending to the top of Germany's government and Dodd became a critic of US and European isolationism vs the regime. Dodd's daughter Martha is a central character because of her many friendships/trysts with famous writers, Nazis, Soviets and other glitterati. Without her story, this book would have been very dull.
The Night of the Long Knives in June 1934 is well told and very frightening. Dodd leaves Berlin in late 1938 and retires to his farm. His predictions of the rise of naziism, pogroms of Jews, the invasion of Poland, and the start of WW2 portray him as a thoughtful and insightful ambassador. ( )
  MaggieFlo | Apr 13, 2016 |
I enjoyed it but not as much as "Devil in the White City", which I would give four stars or "Isaac's Storm", which I would give five stars. Other readers have complained about Erik Larson concentrating on William Dodd's daughter Martha at the expense of Dodd's son Bill Jr. and wife Martha. My assumption is that the reason for this is that the latter two wrote less about the time period than William and his daughter. Larson frames his narrative around the rise and fall of the SA (Stormtroopers): empty promises to Dodd by Nazi leaders to rein in abuses by the SA, the schisms between the SA leader Ernst Rohm and Hermann Goring, etc. All in all an interesting perspective on the rize of Adolf Hitler and his inner circle of Goring and Joseph Goebels. However, I, as I assume many readers, were expecting more narrative of the beginnings of the holocaust. I venture that the lack of such content led to the disappointment of many readers. If you have at least casual interest in learning more about the diplomatic efforts and strains between the U.S. and Germany during the rise of Adolf Hitler you may find this book interesting. If not, not so much. ( )
  Kyle_Winward | Apr 8, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 229 (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 editionsconfirmed
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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