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In the Garden of Beasts by Erik Larson

Amazon review:

In the Garden of Beasts

 is a vivid portrait of Berlin during the first years of Hitler’s reign, brought to life through the stories of two people: William E. Dodd, who in 1933 became America’s first ambassador to Hitler’s regime, and his scandalously carefree daughter, Martha. 

Ambassador Dodd, an unassuming and scholarly man, is an odd fit among the extravagance of the Nazi elite. His frugality annoys his fellow Americans in the State Department and Dodd’s growing misgivings about Hitler’s ambitions fall on deaf ears among his peers, who are content to “give Hitler everything he wants.” 

Martha, on the other hand, is mesmerized by the glamorous parties and the high-minded conversation of Berlin’s salon society—and flings herself headlong into numerous affairs with the city’s elite, most notably the head of the Gestapo and a Soviet spy. 

Both become players in the exhilarating (and terrifying) story of Hitler’s obsession for absolute power, which culminates in the events of one murderous night, later known as “the Night of Long Knives.” The rise of Nazi Germany is a well-chronicled time in history, which makes In the Garden of Beasts all the more remarkable. Erik Larson has crafted a gripping, deeply-intimate narrative with a climax that reads like the best political thriller, where we are stunned with each turn of the page, even though we already know the outcome. --Shane Hansanuwat

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  • A former member
    A former member

    Sorry everyone. I was really looking forward to meeting you all and discussing such a thought provoking read. We are house hunting and 2 ideals properties came up that we felt we had to go see tonight. Hopefully I will be out for the may book.

    March 19, 2014

  • Gerry

    This is another quick 7 minute video/powerpoint someone put together on You tube that plots the events leading up to Hitler assuming the Chancellorship in 1933. Melodramatic background music is a bit much, but it's actually serves as a good primer for the book. A sort of Cliffs Notes if you will.

    March 17, 2014

  • Sheryl W.

    A good friend teaches about WW2 & wrote a book on women in Hitler's regime & how they could do the criminal things they did. Gives you further insight into the minds of people at the time. Called "Women & Nazis" by Professor Wendi Sarti.

    2 · March 16, 2014

    • Joanne

      Thanks. Will have a look at that!

      March 16, 2014

  • Gerry

    Found this older documentary on Netflix that is primarily old German news footage from prior and up to 1933 when our book begins. Lends some powerful visual context to some of what's presented in the book. If nothing else, watch the opening speech by Hitler shortly after he takes power in 1933, with an introduction by Goebbels. The Double Headed Eagle

    1 · March 15, 2014

  • Joanne

    Also, another Netflix that you most likely have seen, if not, and you have the time watch this...Imaginary Witness: Hollywood and the Holocaust

    March 15, 2014

  • A former member
    A former member

    Thanks. I just downloaded this.

    March 15, 2014

  • Gerry

    Just finished the book. Startling and captivating read. Really makes one think about how avoidable this catastrophe was, but how blinding politics can be in the face of true evil.

    March 6, 2014

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