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1 Beaverton World History- Germany Nazi

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

by

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

 

Awards

Staff Pick

The rise of the Third Reich as observed by William Dodd, America's first ambassador to Hitler's Germany, and his free-spirited daughter is the chilling topic of Erik Larson's impressive new book. With his gift for narration, Larson has once again created a work of history that reads as compellingly as a great work of fiction.
Recommended by Michal D., Powells.com

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

Erik Larson has been widely acclaimed as a master of narrative non-fiction, and in his new book, the bestselling 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 surprisingly 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 Goring 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 readable 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.

Review:

"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. He surveys Berlin, circa 1933-1934, from the perspective of two Americans: Roosevelt's ambassador to Germany, William Dodd, an academic historian and Jeffersonian liberal who hoped Nazism would de-fang itself (he urged Hitler to adopt America's milder conventions of anti-Jewish discrimination), and Dodd's daughter Martha, a sexual free spirit who loved Nazism's vigor and ebullience. At first dazzled by the glamorous world of the Nazi ruling elite, they soon started noticing signs of its true nature: the beatings meted out to Americans who failed to salute passing storm troopers; the oppressive surveillance; the incessant propaganda; the intimidation and persecution of friends; the fanaticism lurking beneath the surface charm of its officialdom. Although the narrative sometimes bogs down in Dodd's wranglings with the State Department and Martha's soap opera, Larson offers 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. Photos. (May)" Publishers Weekly (starred review) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

Review:

"Larson is a marvelous writer...superb at creating characters with a few short strokes." New York Times Book Review

Review:

"Excellent....suspenseful, [has] the feel of a John le Carre novel.” Kirkus Reviews (Starred Review)

Review:

"A brilliant and often infuriating account of the experiences and evolving attitudes of the Dodd family during Hitler’s critical first year in power. With the benefit of hindsight, of course, the Dodds seem almost criminally ignorant, but Larson treats them with a degree of compassion that elevates them to tragic status." Booklist(Starred, Boxed Review)

Review:

"Chillingly portrays the terror and oppression that slowly settle over Germany in 1933." Library Journal

Book News Annotation:

In this readable narrative, author Larson (The Devil in the White City, Thunderstruck) offers a real-life, eyewitness perspective inside the Nazi hierarchy as Hitler came to power. William E. Dodd, a mild-mannered professor from Chicago, became the first US ambassador to Hitler's Germany in 1933. Dodd, his wife, their son, and their 24-year-old daughter Martha lived in Germany for about five years. Drawing on Martha's diaries and letters, much of the book centers on Martha's romantic affairs with high-ranking Nazi officials and her eventual heroism as she realized Hitler's true character. Meanwhile, her father William Dodd informed the US State Department of increasing Jewish persecution, with little response from the State Department. The book sheds light on why it took so long for the world to recognize the threat posed by Hitler. Annotation ©2011 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)

About the Author

Erik Larson is the author of the national bestsellers Thunderstruck, The Devil in the White City, and Isaac's Storm. You can find him online at www.eriklarsonbooks.com.

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 38 comments:

Smooches26, January 30, 2013 (view all comments by Smooches26)
Mr. Larson has an amazing talent for retelling factual history like it is a fictional story. I have an interest in history but always find the books so drab and boring. Erik Larson's books are my solution; I can't put them down once I start reading them.
"In the Garden of Beasts; ..." is no exception. The reality of life for ambassador Dodd and his family engulfs you. Feeling and witnessing the society of parties, censorship, intimidation, grand schemes, and of course, the unspeakable violence. "Watching" as the individuals realize the severity of their choices and how they cope with living among such chaos is fascinating. The book helps the reader understand the answer to the question of how Hitler developed into such a grandiose public figure. History should be taught in this way.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
Joseph Landes, January 30, 2012 (view all comments by Joseph Landes)
In the Garden of Beasts is an incredibly gripping story about the rise of the Nazi war machine in Germany through the eyes of United States Ambassador William Dodd who was posted to Berlin from 1933-1937 and his apparently somewhat promiscuous daughter Martha who became a special agent for the Russians during that time. The story is gut-wrenching in places and in particular when they describe how Hitler began massacring not only the Jewish people but also his own leadership when he felt threatened by them. I finished the book challenged around my feelings for Ambassador Dodd. At times I felt he could have done more to broadcast with a stronger voice the plight of the Jews in Germany while others times I felt that he simply did not have the composition or stomach to do that. Overall a very good book and a good take on the American lack of response to Hitler and the Holocaust.


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Kensington Reader, January 23, 2012 (view all comments by Kensington Reader)
" In the Garden of the Beasts," is a gripping non-fiction book that reads like a spy novel. The time is 1933 when a big mistake is made in sending a very middle class, non-diplomatic man and his family to Berlin to serve as ambassador. Of course we know what is going to happen, but he doesn't and makes a mess of his ambassadorship by his admiration for Hitler and having his single daughter date S.S. men. It was a scandal by itself, and in retrospect you might say how could they have been so stupid?
Eric Larson is also the author of "Devil in the White City," another true story that is written like fine fiction.
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View all 38 comments

Product Details

ISBN:
9780307408846
Author:
Larson, Erik
Publisher:
Crown Publishing Group (NY)
Subject:
General True Crime
Subject:
Holocaust
Subject:
Biography-Historical
Copyright:
Publication Date:
20110531
Binding:
HARDCOVER
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Pages:
464
Dimensions:
21.5 x 15.5 x 7.5 in 16 lb

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Related Subjects


Biography » Historical
Biography » Political
Featured Titles » General
Featured Titles » History and Social Science
History and Social Science » Crime » General
History and Social Science » Europe » Germany » Nazi Germany
History and Social Science » World History » General
History and Social Science » World History » Germany » General
History and Social Science » World History » Germany » Nazi Germany

In the Garden of Beasts: Love, Terror, and an American Family in Hitler's Berlin Used Hardcover
0 stars - 0 reviews
$10.95 In Stock
Product details 464 pages Crown - English 9780307408846 Reviews:
"Staff Pick" by ,

The rise of the Third Reich as observed by William Dodd, America's first ambassador to Hitler's Germany, and his free-spirited daughter is the chilling topic of Erik Larson's impressive new book. With his gift for narration, Larson has once again created a work of history that reads as compellingly as a great work of fiction.

"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "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. He surveys Berlin, circa 1933-1934, from the perspective of two Americans: Roosevelt's ambassador to Germany, William Dodd, an academic historian and Jeffersonian liberal who hoped Nazism would de-fang itself (he urged Hitler to adopt America's milder conventions of anti-Jewish discrimination), and Dodd's daughter Martha, a sexual free spirit who loved Nazism's vigor and ebullience. At first dazzled by the glamorous world of the Nazi ruling elite, they soon started noticing signs of its true nature: the beatings meted out to Americans who failed to salute passing storm troopers; the oppressive surveillance; the incessant propaganda; the intimidation and persecution of friends; the fanaticism lurking beneath the surface charm of its officialdom. Although the narrative sometimes bogs down in Dodd's wranglings with the State Department and Martha's soap opera, Larson offers 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. Photos. (May)" Publishers Weekly (starred review) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
"Review" by , "Larson is a marvelous writer...superb at creating characters with a few short strokes."
"Review" by , "Excellent....suspenseful, [has] the feel of a John le Carre novel.”
"Review" by , "A brilliant and often infuriating account of the experiences and evolving attitudes of the Dodd family during Hitler’s critical first year in power. With the benefit of hindsight, of course, the Dodds seem almost criminally ignorant, but Larson treats them with a degree of compassion that elevates them to tragic status."
"Review" by , "Chillingly portrays the terror and oppression that slowly settle over Germany in 1933."
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