In The Garden of Beasts

In The Garden of Beasts : Love and terror in Hitler's Berlin

3.8 (118,961 ratings by Goodreads)
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It's Berlin, 1933. William E. Dodd, a mild-mannered academic from Chicago, has to his own and everyone else's surprise, become America's first ambassador to Hitler's Germany, in a year that proves to be a turning point in history. Dodd and his family, notably his vivacious daughter, Martha, observe at first-hand the many changes - some subtle, some disturbing, and some horrifically violent - that signal Hitler's consolidation of power. Dodd has little choice but to associate with key figures in the Nazi party, his increasingly concerned cables make little impact on an indifferent U.S. State Department, while Martha is drawn to the Nazis and their vision of a 'New Germany' and has a succession of affairs with senior party players, including first chief of the Gestapo, Rudolf Diels. But as the year darkens, Dodd and his daughter find their lives transformed and any last illusion they might have about Hitler are shattered by the violence of the 'Night of the Long Knives' in the summer of 1934 that established him as supreme dictator. Suffused with the tense atmosphere of the times, and with brilliant portraits of Hitler, Goebbels, Goering and Himmler amongst others, Erik Larson's new book sheds unique light on events as they unfold, resulting in an unforgettable, addictively readable work of narrative more

Product details

  • Hardback | 464 pages
  • 161 x 240 x 38mm | 737g
  • Transworld Publishers Ltd
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • Integrated B & W photos
  • 0857520423
  • 9780857520425
  • 426,717

About Erik Larson

Erik Larson is a prize-winning journalist and narrative historian. His books include Isaac's Storm, Thunderstruck and the number one bestseller, The Devil in the White City, which won an Edgar Award and was shortlisted for the Crime Writers' Association Gold Dagger Non-Fiction Award. He lives in more

Review quote

"Larson's best and most enthralling work of novelistic history... rich with incident, populated by fascinating secondary characters, tinged with rising peril and pityingly persuasive... powerful, poignant... a transportingly true story" THE NEW YORK TIMES "Fascinating... using letters and diaries, Larson - a master at writing true tales as riveting as fiction - creates a nuanced, eyewitness account of a father and daughter whose eyes thankfully opened as the horrors closed in" PEOPLE "Reads like an elegant thriller... utterly compelling... an excellent and entertaining book that deserves to be a bestseller" -- Philip Kerr WASHINGTON POST "Compelling... the kind of book that brings history alive to readers and proves why Larson's Isaac's Storm and The Devil in the White City were such hits" USA TODAY "Larson has meticulously researched the Dodds' intimate witness to Hitler's ascendancy... has all the pleasures of a political thriller: innocents abroad, the gathering storm... a fresh picture of these terrible events" THE NEW YORK TIMES BOOK REVIEWshow more

Review Text

"Larson has meticulously researched the Dodds' intimate witness to Hitler's ascendancy... has all the pleasures of a political thriller: innocents abroad, the gathering storm... a fresh picture of these terrible events"show more

Flap copy

The year is 1933 and the city, Berlin. William E. Dodd has just been appointed America's first ambassador to Hitler's Germany and is about to witness a turning point in history. A mild-mannered professor from Chicago, Dodd brings his family with him, including his vivacious daughter, Martha. She is captivated by not only the pomp and the parties but also the handsome young men of the Third Reich whose enthusiasm for restoring Germany to world prominence proves infectious. Enamoured of the 'New Germany', she has a succession of affairs, including with the first chief of the Gestapo, Rudolf Diels. But evidence of Jewish persecution mounts, the press is censored and drafts of frightening new laws begin to circulate and Martha's father telegraphs his growing concerns to a largely indifferent U.S. State Department. As that tumultuous 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 extraordinary atmosphere of the time and bringing a compelling, eyewitness perspective to events - with revealing portraits of some of the Nazi regime's most infamous individuals: from the bizarre Göring to the unexpectedly charming yet wholly sinister Goebbels - Erik Larson's brilliantly-researched, dazzlingly-told new history speaks volumes about why the world failed to recognize the threat posed by Hitler until Berlin, and Europe, were awash in blood and more

Rating details

118,961 ratings
3.8 out of 5 stars
5 24% (28,848)
4 41% (49,315)
3 26% (31,370)
2 6% (7,518)
1 2% (1,910)
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