We are currently making improvements to the Audible site. In an effort to enhance the accessibility experience for our customers, we have created a page to more easily navigate the new experience, available at the web address www.audible.com/access .
 >   > 
In the Garden of Beasts Audiobook

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

Regular Price:$31.50
  • Membership Details:
    • First book free with 30-day trial
    • $14.95/month thereafter for your choice of 1 new book each month
    • Cancel easily anytime
    • Exchange books you don't like
    • All selected books are yours to keep, even if you cancel
  • - or -

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)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.0 (4570 )
5 star
 (1642)
4 star
 (1713)
3 star
 (923)
2 star
 (192)
1 star
 (100)
Overall
4.1 (3705 )
5 star
 (1449)
4 star
 (1307)
3 star
 (725)
2 star
 (156)
1 star
 (68)
Story
4.2 (3703 )
5 star
 (1617)
4 star
 (1375)
3 star
 (519)
2 star
 (130)
1 star
 (62)
Performance
Sort by:
  •  
    Pete Dallas 12-10-12
    Pete Dallas 12-10-12 Member Since 2012
    HELPFUL VOTES
    7
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    60
    12
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Larson's best work"
    Any additional comments?

    In the Garden of the Beasts was the most interesting and entertaining out of the 3 Larson books I have read, which include Devil in the White City & Thunderstruck. This book kept you moving from story line to story line with less lulls than the other books by Larson. The story itself and the writing are his most compelling, this will be hard to top.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    ROSEBUD san francisco 11-30-12
    ROSEBUD san francisco 11-30-12 Member Since 2011
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    2
    1
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "TIGHTLY WRITTEN TALE"
    Would you consider the audio edition of In the Garden of Beasts to be better than the print version?

    n/a


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

    IN THE GARDEN OF BEASTS


    Any additional comments?

    This is a well researched, tightly written story of the horror.
    As the saying goes, "you can't make this s... up" and Larson and Hoyle do a superb job giving this Frankenstein life.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Brandy 11-20-12
    Brandy 11-20-12 Member Since 2016
    HELPFUL VOTES
    11
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    44
    35
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    3
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "An Uneasy Service"

    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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Judy Engelman Scottsdale, Arizona United States 11-15-12
    Judy Engelman Scottsdale, Arizona United States 11-15-12 Member Since 2017
    HELPFUL VOTES
    3
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    5
    5
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "A gem of perspecitive on a horrifying time"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    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".


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    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.


    Have you listened to any of Stephen Hoye’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    No


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

    A Grand Culture ruined by a small minded yet grandiose megalamaniac.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    J. Howlett 11-14-12
    J. Howlett 11-14-12 Member Since 2014
    HELPFUL VOTES
    6
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    160
    5
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "A different view of a story we think we know"
    What did you love best about In the Garden of Beasts?

    the details of their lives in Berlin in the 30's


    What was one of the most memorable moments of In the Garden of Beasts?

    Memorably sad, when the ambassador is removed for his principled public stand against the Nazi excesses.


    What aspect of Stephen Hoye’s performance would you have changed?

    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)


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

    See Nazi Berlin through the eyes of an American girl


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Joan McArthur Toronto 11-09-12
    Joan McArthur Toronto 11-09-12 Member Since 2015

    Joan McArthur

    ratings
    REVIEWS
    2
    1
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Really gripping!"

    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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Two Rabbits New York, NY USA 11-09-12
    Two Rabbits New York, NY USA 11-09-12 Member Since 2008
    HELPFUL VOTES
    25
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    17
    16
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    1
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Interesting topic, dull book"

    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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mary 11-06-12
    Mary 11-06-12
    HELPFUL VOTES
    31
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    11
    3
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Incredibly well-researched book!"

    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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    heather ritchie Brookeville, MD, United States 10-29-12
    heather ritchie Brookeville, MD, United States 10-29-12 Member Since 2012
    HELPFUL VOTES
    1
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    81
    1
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Good but lags in places"
    What made the experience of listening to In the Garden of Beasts the most enjoyable?

    The reader did a fine job. The story was comprehensive and told in Larson's style.


    What was the most interesting aspect of this story? The least interesting?

    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.


    What about Stephen Hoye’s performance did you like?

    Clear and dramatic


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    no


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    E Azevedo WALNUT CREEK, CA, United States 10-15-12
    E Azevedo WALNUT CREEK, CA, United States 10-15-12 Member Since 2006

    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.

    HELPFUL VOTES
    15
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    195
    55
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    2
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Well documented!! and well written"

    This book was a good read and informative about Hilter's era. It is a read not to be missed.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Report Inappropriate Content

If you find this review inappropriate and think it should be removed from our site, let us know. This report will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.

Cancel

Thank you.

Your report has been received. It will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.