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

by Erik Larson

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
6,8283161,171 (3.82)312
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.
  1. 80
    The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich by William L. Shirer (kraaivrouw)
  2. 30
    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)
  3. 30
    Through Embassy Eyes by Martha Dodd (marieke54)
  4. 20
    Every Man Dies Alone 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.
  5. 31
    Red Orchestra: The Story of the Berlin Underground and the Circle of Friends Who Resisted Hitler by Anne Nelson (kraaivrouw)
  6. 20
    Resisting Hitler. Mildred Harnack and the Red Orchestra by Shareen Blair Brysac (marieke54)
  7. 02
    The Haunted Wood: Soviet Espionage in America--The Stalin Era (Modern Library Paperbacks) 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 312 mentions

English (303)  French (3)  Dutch (2)  German (1)  Danish (1)  Norwegian (1)  Spanish (1)  Italian (1)  All languages (313)
Showing 1-5 of 303 (next | show all)
I loved this book- what a fascinating take on the history we all know so well. The pacing is very good. Larson takes what could have been a confusing mess of details and forms it into a coherent narrative. It is at once intimate and expansive.

This is the first piece of work to let me understand how the holocaust happened. It spoke to me profoundly. ( )
  AlainaZ | Jun 5, 2022 |
Rated: B
Fascinating and detailed history of life in Germany as Hitler came to power. Like all the warning signs concerning at attack on Pearl Harbor, there were early indicators of the world heading back to another world war. How tragic that the United States didn't have more compassion for what was happen to the Jewish population under Hitler's early rise to power. Eric Larson writes with such detail that you are there as a witness. ( )
  jmcdbooks | May 7, 2022 |
This fascinating book reads like a novel, yet it is a history, through and through. Supported by 70 pages of references and notations, the book portrays the years in which Hiltler ceased total control of the Germany government in 1934.
An inexperienced ambassador attempts to bring reason and humanity into a rising dictatorship in which the central figure, Adolf Hitler, is surrounded by self-serving sycophants fueled by hatred and their own personal greed and personal aggrandizement.
This wonderful historical account of a very dark yet history changing year in the history of Germany and the world gives chilling insights into the rise of the Third Reich and the ruthless violence that supported it.
From beginning to end, In the Garden of the Beasts captivate any reader, including especially those who would not ordinarily choose books of history as their reading selection. ( )
  PaulLoesch | Apr 2, 2022 |
This is the third book I have read by Erik Larson and I found it as fascinating as the others. The story takes place mid 1930's as Hitler is gaining control of Germany. It tells the story of a professor who becomes the American ambassador to Germany. His family, a wife and a grown son and daughter, live in Berlin with him. His daughter plays a prominent role in the book. You see through their eyes the changes that occur in Germany and how Hitler and his cohorts gain control. Anyone interested in the period prior to WWII, will find this book invaluable. ( )
  Nefersw | Jan 14, 2022 |
This is a non-fiction book that reads like fiction; it was fascinating enough that I could not stop reading. The down side is shows the United States in the years before World War II as heartbreaking and dangerous in its naiveté, its willingness to ignore reality, its smug self-centeredness, its moral cowardice.... There is no longer any doubt that many people in power knew what was going on inside Germany, but for all the above reasons (and more), they chose to ignore the information- to the peril of the world. ( )
  PattyLee | Dec 14, 2021 |
Showing 1-5 of 303 (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 (15 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Erik Larsonprimary authorall editionscalculated
Cookman, WhtineyCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Eklöf, MargaretaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Herrera, AnaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hoye, StephenNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Nudelman, ElinaDesignersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Ochs, EdithTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Vitangeli, RaffaellaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed

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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)
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.
"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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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.

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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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Penguin Australia

An edition of this book was published by Penguin Australia.

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