I wish I had not wasted my credit on this book. This man could have been reading the newspaper. There is history but no story.
The amount of research that went into this book was amazing. He must of read nearly everything available in American, German, and Soviet sources - including many diaries.
Professor Dodd was the central Character - but his daughter is was far more interesting. She committed nearly every indiscretion imaginable - and some of them several times.
We will never be able to understand the Nazi era, but this at least helps us.
This book is actually two stories. One is about the experiences of the rather ineffectual American ambassador to Germany at the rise of Hitler's regime. This story offers a well written eye-witness narrative of the daily outrages suffered by citizens and visitors alike in pre-war Germany. The environment of hysteria and mistrust and ever-increasing anti-Semitism that gripped Germany following Hitler's rise is presented in chilling and effective detail.
The other part of the book concerns the ambassador's sexually adventurous daughter who seems to have slept with half the diplomatic core and not a few senior Nazi officials as well. While her slow conversion from infatuated defender to horrified critic of the "new" Germany is interesting, it is trivial by comparison to the import of the larger issues the book addresses, yet almost half the book is about her experiences. Her obsession with describing and evaluating the physical appearance of each person she encounters reads like a superficial Victorian novel and I question the auther's decision to go into long details about the overwrought love letters she exchanged with various men. Eventually, I found the passages about the daughter so irritating that I fast forwarded through them so I could get back to the larger goings on between the US and Germany and within the German government.
On the whole it's an interesting book that gives the reader a very good sense of what life was like for the priviliged few of Germany and the diplomatic core trying to restrain the worst excesses of the Hitler's government .
A well narrated book that provides an interesting perspective into people and events during the rise of the NAZI party in Germany up to the start of the war as seen from the US ambassador and his family.
An interesting listen of a American Diplomats family life in Germany and USA's isolation policies at the time.
I only really appreciated this book after I fnished listening to it. For the first half of the book, I kept thinking.....is there a book in here? The second part gets more interesting until finally at the end you relalize the importance of the author's work and the purspose in writing the book.
Erik Larson has set the bar very high for himself. Devil InThe White City and Thunderstruck were wonderful reads as was Isaac's Storm to a lesser extent. In The Garden of Beasts is not very engaging and it's characters are relatively uninteresting. The topic is also very tired.
I would recommend any of his other books over this one. It's really not worth the read.
There was nothing special or engaing about Dodd or his daughter. I had a difficult time keeping up with side stories and characters. Felt as though I needed an org chart.
I loved Devil in the White City and Thunderstruck. They are two of my very favorite books. Here Erik Larson takes three steps backwards and returns to the style of Isaac's Storm, only worse. This entire book can be summed up in one paragraph and save everyone a credit. It is boring. I kept waiting for the point and it never arrived.
This story was well researched and is told with colorful language. VERY interesting account of an American family in pre-war Germany as Hitler took over. Lots of fascinating details about Germany, Hitler, and how the United States (@ home and abroad) viewed Hitler's Germany. The characters were well developed. I had never heard any of these accounts before. Larson sure did his homework. Bravo!
He managed the accents well. Did not over act. Nice pace, easy to understand.
Not extreme, but what I learned from this book is unforgettable.
I am glad my book club chose this to read. Good discussion book.