Like Larson's "Devil in a White City" I struggled with lack of interest in some of the story lines. I enjoyed the thorough history through "slice of life" perspective of the rise of Hitler (a topic that I had not previously studied in my extensive WWII reading). I did not care for the excessive infighting in the diplomatic core. This was also my first foray into audiobooks and found that listening to portions that i was not fully enjoying was much easier than reading through them... I will definitely be using audiobooks for nonfiction reading again... Particularly because it turns my commute and exercise time into learning time.
not at all
performance was dry
the historical aspect was interesting enough to get me to stick with it much longer then I wanted.
I would highly recommend this book to friends - and have - because it shows the possible results of a world that is unwilling to provide leadership, encouragement and support to those who oppose the emergence of a transparently tyrannical and increasingly brutal bigot who is step by step, taking over a country. History has shown time and again that you cannot negotiate with such people and appeasement certainly doesn't work.
What If - other countries/world leaders had provided support, or even encouragement to those within Germany who opposed Hitler in 1934? What If - Western leadership, which understandably was weary of war, had recognized that the only way to avoid war was to stop this war mongering despot who was relentlessly developing a war machine and a national will to war that could only mean one thing.
What If - the world today existed after a little known, poorly educated, finatical bigot and minor figure named Adolf Hitler, fell victom to a coup in 1934. . .
I found myself hoping for this outcome even though the course of this history had already been written.
My favorite character was of course, Ambassador Dodd, who recognized the developing threat, but was unable to overcome the opposition of the elitist elements withing the foreign policy apparatus sufficient to make a difference.
The performance was a little dry, through no fault of Mr. Hoye, but owing to the narrative nature of the book.
It's a book that should be widely read. There are lessons to be learned and we should all try to decide how to apply these lessons to more recent developments in Iran, Syria, etc.
the focus on the love affairs of Ambassador Dodd's daughter, while illuminating some of life in Berlin in the early 1930's, was too much a focus of the book. The writing, and
the pertormance at times, was pedantic and at times almost trite.
The subject, the gradual, invidious influence of the Nazi party in the early 30's and the brutality of the SS and the SA were startling against the backdrop of summer trysts in
the German countryside.
Some focus on the lives of other characters.
Narration seemed stilted.
saddening, cautionary, personal
Martha was my favorite character, probably because I saw more of her than of any of the other characters. She had personality and color. The other characters seemed to be gray.
No single scene comes to mind.
No, I needed relief from the narrative; all at one sitting would have been overwhelming from both an emotional and intellectual point of view.
I listen to all kinds of books, fiction and nonfiction. Frequently tell my wife that the non-fictions I listen to are crazier than the fiction books. Garden of Beasts is no exception. I knew very little about pre WWII Germany and how the U.S. viewed the Nazi regime before war broke out. I learned a lot of history. I can't say I "enjoyed" the read, but I was sucked into it. I would highly recommend it.
I liked the subject matter but the main characters (Dodd and his daughter) were not or should not have been the main focus of this story. I did not feel there was enough info on them to have a novel. It seemed to be forced the way they intermingled within the real main characters (Hitler and the American Government).
The reader was almost monotone and boring.
I did enjoy the 20/20 signs that America and the world ignored that could have stopped Hitler and Germany.
The book really did a great job of making you feel like you were actually there. You could see the streets and feel the tension. It was intoxicating, political and creepy all at the same time.
I really enjoyed how the author made you understand the characters and understand why they made their discussions. It is critical in a book like this to understand the why.
This is my first Stephen Hoye performance, but I doubt my last.
This book showed the Nazis in the early years and even then they made my skin crawl.
What I found most scary was that ambassador Dodd, his daughter, and the rest of his family seemed to ignore what was going on in Germany rather than being surprised by it. This book shows just how quickly a country can be taken over from within.
That is exactly what happens to the reader in In The Garden Of Beasts. You start listening to this book and all of a sudden you are teleported back to 1933 Berlin where Hitler and the Nazis have just taken power. Unlike William L. Shirer's book Rise and Fall Of the Third Reich,
this book has a more personal perspective of life in early nazi Germany. This story revolves around two central characters, William Dodd, a middle of the road liberal who gets appointed ambassador to Germany, and his out of control fun loving daughter Martha.
This book is well written and presented and should be a welcome addition to your collection.