The first thing I did after the listen was google Martha Dodd, the Ambassador's flighty, flirty daughter. Her social and sexual exploits bring flesh and blood to what could have been another dry, academic account of the rise of Nazism in Germany. Larson skillfully tells the story through letters, documents, diaries written by the protagonists and other real people who lived the events. In this era of instant communication, it's difficult to understand the naivete exhibited by the politicians and leaders when confronted on paper with the evidence of evil occurring in Berlin in the early thirties.
One thought, this story would not have been available if the Dodds had had email...wonder how many other great stories are lost to digital communication?
Very relevant to our times, more so than I ever anticipated seeing in my lifetime. Shows real people, real political dynamics that emasculate people's boldness and needed confrontation of obvious evil. Shows people's reluctance to truly believe human beings are so capable of such depths of evil - a naïveté regarding the potential of human nature. I've ALWAYS wondered how civilized people could allow such evil to arise amongst them. This book, coupled with current events, sheds great light on this dark period of human history. I just earnestly pray we learn from history that you can't appease evil ... You must recognize it for what it is and confront it with boldness regardless of any personal costs. The writing by Erik Larson and the reading by Stephen Hoye are both outstanding!
Great reader, good Lasron story. Not as good as Devil in the White as far as the story, but I did get a great sense for what it was like in 1933-1934 Germany and lead me to re-up on my history of the how such a terrible thing could happen.
This book was one of the best I have listened to. Just when I thought there wasn't anything new to hear about WWII and what led up to it, this book comes along! I felt like it got me more inside the Third Reich than any book or movie so far. A big claim, but that's how I felt as I listened. The author lays it out like a historian. Not to detailed, but yet plenty of factual information, at least for my tastes. The story of the daughter you have to read to believe. Holy smokes.
I read the book last summer and then listened to it in preparation for book club discussion in April. The reading/performance was wonderful, but it did point out some of the book's flaws--Larson gets into minute and irrelevant detail often and takes the reader into a spider hole that doesn't really improve the story much. Mentioning lipstick on a glass is not a detail worth writing or reading about. I think that Larson tried to fill pages in his latest book.
The story is fascinating because it has been overlooked for so long. It is the perfect topic for Larson for this very reason. It seems that he had to over-reach to meet marketing/sales requirements which would be very challenging after his blockbuster The Devil in the White City. Hard to top that!
I would recommend this if you have any interest in Hitler's rise to power and the US relationship to Germany prior to and at the beginning of WWII.
Martha's date with Hitler!
Excellent job with German!
The men and women who had a vision to bring the world fair to Chicago
Chicago World Fair and a Serial Killer - what more can you ask for.
In the Garden of Beasts is an in depth account of William Dodd (and his daughter Martha) in a time of history that I did not know much about. Most history books and movies about Hitler Germany focus on the years 1938-1945 and only the well-known characters, whereas this book is set in the early 1930's from the view of a not so well-known family. From Dodd's diary, you get an interesting perspective of the rise of Hitler in Germany and the role of the U.S. State Department. There is no grand finale to the book, as it only covers William Dodd's service time. It's a prequel to events we already know so much about (the Holocaust, WW2).
I'm a trucker of nearly 25 years. Listening to the radio is a matter of habit for me, but hearing the same songs over and over and OVER again became old. Audio books help those miles roll by faster!
I've wondered how a presumably educated, reasonable nation of people could allow the rise to power such terrible madness. This book answers that question somewhat from a civilian perspective. Good book.
I recently read a bad book about a great man.
If you have the slightest interest in history you will love this book. Oh my god I wish I was a professional critic because I would spend days writing the best critique of this book. I have listened to it 4 times. It has turned me into a WW2 enthusiast. Its one of those books that I am scared they will turn into a movie due to how precious and insightful it is. This is how children should learn history, fall in love with the characters and let a great writer like Larson put you in Berlin and kids will get into books such as this just like they do a great video game. I can't get over how great of a writer Mr. Larson is. Oh my god!!
haven't encountered the print edition
Rudolf Diels. Although he only figured in the book in a minor way, this portrait of a paradoxically moral man in the Nazi regime was very intriguing.
His voice is varied in tone without becoming distracting or overly dramatic
Dodd responding so bluntly to Pappen's question at the Little Press Club dinner, but then bravely and compassionately visiting him when he was placed under house arrest and threatened with death.
Mr. Larsen has a gift for illuminating historical events by focusing on the small details of peoples lives. Although the lengthy accounts of Ambassador Dodd's annoying daughter possibly take up too much of the book, her various relationships with the notables of pre-war Germany depict these individuals in a unique way. Also, the narrative shows how her initial admiration of the Nazi 'revolution