ABOUT THE BOOK
Erik Larson paints a compelling picture of 1933 Berlin, a time when Adolf Hitler was rising but did not yet hold absolute power and, in fact, few expected his government to survive. Larson explores the rise of Nazism from the perspective of the newly arrived U.S. ambassador and his family. William E. Dodd, a circumspect professor and unlikely candidate for Americas first ambassador to Nazi Germany, struggles with the protocol and conflicting demands of his heart, his nation, and his duty while his daughter, Martha, finds the social scene vibrant and thrilling. In time, they come to see the ugly truth about Hitler and his plans but even then their efforts to raise the alarm are largely discounted back home.
MEET THE AUTHOR
With degrees in journalism and history from the University of Southern California, Arwen Bicknell has worked on newspaper copydesks across the country for more than 20 years. In her free time she writes novels and tries to get them published. You can read her blog at arwenbicknell.com.
EXCERPT FROM THE BOOK
Protocol and promiscuity. These are the two angles from which Larson chooses to explore the power-grabbing days of Adolph Hitler leading up to the Night of the Long Knives, when Hitler purged his enemies and laid the last bit of groundwork to seize complete power in Germany. Tired of being overworked at the University of Chicago and in search of a sinecure, mild-mannered professor William E. Dodd historian, Jeffersonian Democrat and would-be author of the definitive work on the antebellum South instead lands in a job he is woefully ill-equipped to perform. Tapped to serve as the U.S. ambassador in Berlin, he packs up his family and together they all make the journey into a foreign land and an even more foreign culture: that of the diplomatic and political elite.
Larson does a good job of balancing the diplomats headaches and blunders with the effusive enthusiasm of his socialite daughter, who manages to land as lovers several of the leading U.S. and German luminaries, from Carl Sandburg and Max Delbruck to Gestapo chief Rudolf Diels and Soviet spy Boris Winogradov. While the characters naivete is believable, that doesnt necessarily mean they are entirely likeable. William Dodds assessment of the situation appears credible, if sweetly foolish. Martha Dodd, on the other hand, comes off as almost obstinately flighty and shallow, and the fact that she turned her allegiances from Hitlers Nazis to Stalins Communists without appearing to have learned anything simply bolsters that impression.
Quicklet on Erik Larson's In the Garden of Beasts: Love, Terror, and an American Family in Hitler's Berlin
Erik Larson's In the Garden of Beasts: Love, Terror, and an American Family in Hitler's Berlin
+ About the Book
+ About the Author
+ An Overall Summary
+ Commentary and Summary
+ ...and much more
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