I found this book much more surprising revealing than I had anticipated. I was ready to dislike Ambassador Dod and his daughter from page 1, but was surprised by how, despite their many failings, this look inside their lives in Germany during 1938 - 1939 provided a totally different perspective. As their naivete diminished I gained an appreciation for how difficult it must have been for the Ambassador and how daunting a task he had to face.
The book is well written and entertaining while informative of the horrible events of that era. The narrator did a good job. I highly recommend it in every aspect.
This is a fascinating and well documented history of the US ambassadors' and his family's evolving view of pre World War II Germany. To watch Ambassador Dodd move from his obvious initial limitations to being taken seriously as a player in the foreign service to being a soothsayer about subsequent events was worth the listen. Added to that was the jouney of his rebellious adventurous daughter Martha from being a vapid socialite to a woman of some substance. All of this on the backdrop of Nazi Germany while "the emperor fiddled and Rome burned".
Martha fascinated me. She lead with her heart and other not to mentioned parts of the anatomy. Yet in doing so, she revealed to us many truths about the inner workings of the Nazis, SS and Russians during this important time in history.
A Grand Culture ruined by a small minded yet grandiose megalamaniac.
the details of their lives in Berlin in the 30's
Memorably sad, when the ambassador is removed for his principled public stand against the Nazi excesses.
His intonation can be singsong at times. His voicing of the quotations is very good, but the singsong detracts somewhat from the narration ("singsong" may be the wrong word but that is the best I can come up with to describe the intonation of his sentences)
See Nazi Berlin through the eyes of an American girl
A vivid account of one of the interesting stories that took place during this fascinating time and place - Germany and the beginnings of the Nazi takeover. A wonderful read, and extremely well read by Stephen Hoye.
Everyone in my book group was excited for this one, because the subject seemed so interesting. The problem is, in spite of how much was going on in the world at this time, NOTHING happens in the book. The people the author chooses to focus on are ultimately inconsequential and do nothing of consequence. So to try to make up for his protagonists' lack of importance, he includes vast amounts of detail and dozens of characters, few of whom end up being relevant or even particularly interesting. The book could have been half as long if the author had just focused on things that were actually important, instead of providing detailed descriptions of the weather, or a complete listing of every item in the ambassador's china cabinet (particularly grueling in an audiobook, where you can't skim).
Also irritating is the author's tendency to try to create suspense by ending every chapter with a portentous cliff-hanger-y tease: "Had they known at the time what was to come, they might have felt differently about it..." You can almost here the corny "Dunh dunh DUUNNNNNHH" sound cue. Really amateurish.
I really enjoyed this book. It was such an interesting glimpse of life in the Nazi era and how things got so bad without any intervention. And no matter what you think of the story, Erik Larson does an incredible amount of research, and it certainly shows. I was sad when the story ended, because I wanted to learn more about what happens afterwards.
The reader did a fine job. The story was comprehensive and told in Larson's style.
The most interesting aspect was the subject matter from a different point of view. The least interesting was that there was not much intrigue, but it was very good historical story.
Clear and dramatic
I love to read, the books need to be fairly complicated or interesting in their own way. I belong to a book club that selects great books.
This book was a good read and informative about Hilter's era. It is a read not to be missed.
I like the presentation style of History. I'm not going to be citing anything from this book for a paper, but it does paint a very understandable view of what went on during this time in history. The only thing that disappointed me was that it was not as gripping as "Devil in the White City." I wanted to have a "jaw dropper" in every chapter, and it just wasn't there. I enjoyed the information, and it left me to think about a lot, but I pushed myself to finish it.
This story of William Dodd, America's unlikely ambassador to Germany at the dawn of Hitler's rise, offers a nearly-cinematic look at the life of the diplomatic and wealthy classes in Berlin in the mid-'30s. Of particular interest is the story of Martha Dodd, the twenty-something daughter, whose tolerant parents and somewhat moneyed upbringing in the American '20s made her a free-spirited romantic and political naif who embraces the European experience. Bright and idiotic, fascinating and frustrating, I can't imagine why someone hasn't made a film about her. But really, the entire story deserves to be told - and Stephen Hoye gives it a grounded yet compelling reading. If you've ever wondered how Hitler managed to fool the German people long enough to gain absolute power, this book is a revelation. It is particularly interesting and chilling to note just how the privileged classes on both sides of the Atlantic engaged in delusional thinking for as long as possible.