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

Front Cover
Crown/Archetype, May 10, 2011 - History - 464 pages
3694 Reviews

Erik Larson, New York Times bestselling author of Devil in the White City, delivers 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 Nazi 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 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.

 

What people are saying - Write a review

User ratings

5 stars
790
4 stars
1585
3 stars
965
2 stars
296
1 star
58

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

User Review  - Natalie - Goodreads

I really enjoyed this. Hitler's rise to power in the 1930s is something that you learn in history classes, so that part was a little redundant, but I'd never heard of Dodd before. I found it ... Read full review

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

User Review  - Mel Laytner - Goodreads

The author takes a road-less-travelled approach to history. I appreciate that a lot. The writing is clear and not academic though not as lyrical as Barbara Tuchman. Nor does it attempt the broad sweep ... Read full review

All 143 reviews »

Other editions - View all

Common terms and phrases

About the author (2011)

ERIK LARSON is the author of the national bestsellers Thunderstruck, The Devil in the White City, and Isaac's Storm. ErikLarsonBooks.com

Bibliographic information