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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.

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6,1323051,213 (3.82)291
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. 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
    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.
  4. 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)
  5. 20
    Resisting Hitler. Mildred Harnack and the Red Orchestra by Shareen Blair Brysac (marieke54)
  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 (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 291 mentions

English (295)  French (3)  Dutch (2)  German (1)  Danish (1)  Norwegian (1)  Spanish (1)  Italian (1)  All languages (305)
Showing 1-5 of 295 (next | show all)
The story of the Dodd family who resided in Berlin from 1933-1937. William Dodd served as the US ambassador during that time. He was accompanied by his wife and grown daughter and son. He was asked by FDR to serve, but FDR dialed the wrong "Dodd" from his numbers, and hence a college professor serves as ambassador during a crucial time. I didn't really learn anything new about this time period, except about the diplomatic budget the that his daughter was very promiscuous, especially with complete strangers, that could have done her much harm (head of the Berlin Gestapo, etc.). This book didn't measure up to the other books I've read by Larson (The Devil in the White City, Isaac's Storm, Lusitania); especially coming in at 480 pages. It could have just been the subject matter. I was hoping to get a taste of Berlin during this time; but got a stronger taste of diplomacy, but did get a lot of info about Rohm and the SA. ( )
  Tess_W | Apr 16, 2021 |
To be honest, I no longer remember why I got this to begin with, and on reading it, I don't think it manages to get close to the lurid, engaging entertainment that was The Devil in the White City. I think that Larson really wants to sell Dodd and his family as these American castaways in a rapidly deteriorating Germany, but their lives just seem so...unexceptional that one kind of wonders at the end what the point of it all was. Just kind of ok. ( )
  skolastic | Feb 2, 2021 |
I have a difficult time with Larson's books. They are marketed as non-fiction, but I always have some doubt in my mind as to the validity of the facts. He focuses so much on motivations, thoughts, and reactions that I question how he can present it as true. I feel like he might embellish a bit to tell a good story, not what I want in my non-fiction.

I finally had to abandon this one due to the minutiae of details. A laundry list of the china in the Ambassador's house and each item's size did me in.
  JustZelma | Dec 20, 2020 |
Gripping and suspenseful, sometimes I broke into a sweat reading this! ( )
  klnbennett | Oct 7, 2020 |
In the Garden of Beasts: Love, Terror, and an American Family in Hitler's Berlin When I was younger I wasn't much interested in history because I was young.
 
Now that I am older I am filling in the gaps in my education. I guess I have always believed in the idea that "history is written by the victors" and was therefore unreliable.
 
More and more I find myself being drawn to the idea of history through peoples eyes.I came to this book without any idea of what it was about. It was picked simply because it was on the New York Times Bestseller list sometime in the recent past. The story of the posting of the American Consul to Germany prior to WW2. A guy who not first, second or even third choice nor was he rich or connected. An academic by both profession and nature, in 1933 William E Dodd dragged his family off to Berlin to take up the role. Instantly pissing off the existing diplomatic crew by insisting on an economy drive by all concerned. Constantly undermined by his colleagues both at home and abroad he nevertheless did win some people over by his uncompromising stance against the newly formed and growing Nazi Party.It is easy to not understand the actual horror of the Nazis as they did so many big bad things. What I liked about this book was his detailed progressive listing of the big bad things by the many small steps it took to get there. At a time when many visitors to Berlin could not see the oppression of the Jews because it was not really visible as such but implied day and day out. The self-censorship and fear that pervaded this period. It was an insidious, creeping removal of human rights one step at a time by statute, intimidation and terror.Brilliant in the first degree and full of such strange stories and unlikely events. No disappointment here at all, sad, moving and informative. I'm ready for the test right now! ( )
  Ken-Me-Old-Mate | Sep 24, 2020 |
Showing 1-5 of 295 (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 (21 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Larson, Erikprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Cookman, WhtineyCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hoye, StephenNarratorsecondary 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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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.

No library descriptions found.

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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