In the Garden of Beasts by Erik Larson

Most of us have studied World War II, we know of the rise of Germany in the thirties and we know of the atrocities committed by Hitler and his henchmen, Goebbels, Himmler, Goring, Diels , Eichmann and the like. We certainly are familiar with the unbelievable details of the Holocaust. But what was it like to live in the Germany of the 30s? What was it like to be a foreigner in Berlin? Erik Larson has written the definitive non-fiction story of Berlin at that point of history. The focus of the story is the family of William Dodd, a professor from Chicago, who Roosevelt appoints to be the American ambassador to Germany. Dodd takes his entire family with him , his wife, Mattie and his grown children, Bill and Martha.

And what they see is at first totally confusing. On the outside is the facade of a modern, charming Berlin but the reports that they receive of the horrors and the brutalities visited on the residents that don’t adhere to the philosophy of the Third Reich is beyond belief……especially the treatment of Germany’s Jewish citizens.Martha is infatuated with the German officers that she meets. She is a bit of a romantic who can’t believe the stories that she hears. Terror has to strike closer to her family before she realizes what is happening in Germany.

As much as may think you know about the Third Reich, you really have a lot more to learn. Please take the time to read this fascinating story of the development of the Third Reich by Erik Larson.

Fun Fact: William Edward Dodd was born in 1869 near Clayton North Carolina.

Find and request In the Garden of Beasts in our catalog.


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