In the Garden of Beasts, Erik Larson

garden of beasts

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One Response to “In the Garden of Beasts, Erik Larson”

  1. Tim O. Says:

    Summary: Larson recounts the career of the American Ambassador to Germany, William Dodd, particularly the years 1933 to 1937 when he and his family, including his daughter Martha, lived in Berlin. The Ambassador, who earned his PhD. in Leipzig 40 years earlier, was initially hopeful that Germany’s new Nazi government would grow more moderate, including in its persecution of the Jews. Martha, separated from her husband and in the process of divorce, became caught up in the glamour and excitement of Berlin’s social scene and had a series of liaisons, possibly sexual, including among them Gestapo head Rudolf Diels and Soviet attaché and secret agent Boris Vinogradov. She defended the regime to her skeptical friends. Within months of their arrival, the family became aware of the evils of Nazi rule. Dodd periodically protested against it. President Roosevelt was pleased with his performance while most State Department officials, suspicious of his lack of background in their area of expertise, as well as his inability to finance embassy activities from his own wealth, found him undiplomatic and idiosyncratic.

    Evaluation: In the Garden of Beasts, by Erik Larson is a great story. It’s filled with political and family drama. It is almost always tense, a diverse amount of characters. The book is exciting with different political views and views on different people. I recommend this book to anyone interested in politics and World War II.

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