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In the Garden of Beasts: Love, Terror, and an American Family in Hitler's Berlin | [Erik Larson]

In the Garden of Beasts: Love, Terror, and an American Family in Hitler's Berlin

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. A mild-mannered professor from Chicago, Dodd brings along his wife, son, and flamboyant daughter, Martha. At first Martha is entranced by the parties and pomp, and the handsome young men of the Third Reich with their infectious enthusiasm for restoring Germany to a position of world prominence. Enamored of the “New Germany,” she has one affair after another....
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Publisher's Summary

Erik Larson has been widely acclaimed as a master of narrative non-fiction, and in his new book, the best-selling 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.

A mild-mannered professor from Chicago, Dodd brings along his wife, son, and flamboyant daughter, Martha. At first, Martha is entranced by the parties and pomp, and the handsome young men of the Third Reich with their infectious enthusiasm for restoring Germany to a position of world prominence. Enamored of the “New Germany”, she has one affair after another, including with the suprisingly honorable first chief of the Gestapo, Rudolf Diels. But as evidence of Jewish persecution mounts, confirmed by chilling first-person testimony, her father telegraphs his concerns to a largely indifferent State Department back home. Dodd watches with alarm as Jews are attacked, the press is censored, and drafts of frightening new laws begin to circulate.

As that first year unfolds and the shadows deepen, the Dodds experience days full of excitement, intrigue, romance - and ultimately, horror, when a climactic spasm of violence and murder reveals Hitler’s true character and ruthless ambition.

Suffused with the tense atmosphere of the period, and with unforgettable portraits of the bizarre Göring and the expectedly charming - yet wholly sinister - Goebbels, In the Garden of Beasts lends a stunning, eyewitness perspective on events as they unfold in real time, revealing an era of surprising nuance and complexity. The result is a dazzling, addictively listenable work that speaks volumes about why the world did not recognize the grave threat posed by Hitler until Berlin, and Europe, were awash in blood and terror.

©2011 Stephen Hoye (P)2011 Random House Audio

What the Critics Say

"In this mesmerizing portrait of the Nazi capital, Larson plumbs a far more diabolical urban cauldron than in his bestselling The Devil in the White City... a vivid, atmospheric panorama of the Third Reich and its leaders, including murderous Nazi factional infighting, through the accretion of small crimes and petty thuggery." (Publishers Weekly)

"By far his best and most enthralling work of novelistic history….Powerful, poignant…a transportingly true story." (The New York Times)

"[L]ike slipping slowly into a nightmare, with logic perverted and morality upended….It all makes for a powerful, unsettling immediacy." (Bruce Handy, Vanity Fair)

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    Louise Washington, DC, United States 06-21-11
    Louise Washington, DC, United States 06-21-11 Member Since 2006
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    "Wake me when it is over"

    THis is a fascinating subject - one that has intrigued me for 50 years. I could not wait to get this to listen to on my commute. True story - different and new angle - just fascinating.
    The problem is I am falling asleep. The narrator is the most boring voice (human - or computer) that I have ever had the displeasure to have to hear. It makes it difficult to know if the book is also boring - but I doubt it. My husband bought the hard copy - I give up on the audio and will try the hard copy and let you know.
    Two things - listen to the narrator before you buy
    and
    SOMEONE- authors, publishers - Find narrators with a little - just a tiny ounce of expression.
    Hours trying to listen to a person that makes you want to pour hot wax in your ears....not good!

    1 of 4 people found this review helpful
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    Rupe Berkeley, CA, United States 06-09-11
    Rupe Berkeley, CA, United States 06-09-11 Member Since 2003
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    I'm trapped 1/4 into a book by a fabulous author but everything is drab and slow and there's no character to like and I don't want to give up too early but this is serious slogging!

    1 of 4 people found this review helpful
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    carolyn marietta, ga, United States 06-27-11
    carolyn marietta, ga, United States 06-27-11
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    "BORING!"

    I don't care about how many of each piece of china is in the new home. Had potential for a good story but lost it along the way.

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