In the Garden of Beasts Download eBook by Erik Larson
Click Here to Download the Book The time is 1933, the place, Berlin, when William E. Dodd becomes Americaâ€™s first ambassador to Hitlerâ€™s Germany in a year that proved to be a turning point in history. Suffused with the tense atmosphere of the period, and with unforgettable portraits of the bizarre GĂśring 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.
Reviews A completely riveting book, dealing mostly with one pivotal year, 1933, during the last few ticks of the clock before Hitler seized total power in Germany. Larson parses every faction of the Nazi Party; every evil personality, every evil viewpoint, every indefensible position, in clear, breathlessly thrilling prose. Roosevelt selects a new Ambassador to Germany, William E. Dodd. As he later finds out, he's not the President's first choice, or his second, or his third. No one wants the job, recognizing that it's a political hot potato. Dodd, a University of Chicago history professor, gets the nod because he happens to know someone in Roosevelt's intimate circle, his main qualification being that he spent some time in Germany when he was a student. By the time he arrives in Berlin, the story turns into something out of John Le Carre. Dodd sees his job as representing, by example, the simple fundamental decency of the American way. The other men in the Foreign Office are all from the same social class, rich, catty and snobby, and behind his back, do their best to undermine his authority. Still, they understand something Dodd fails to see; the Nazis respect shows of power and might, not dignified diplomacy. At the heart of the story is Martha Dodd, the ambassador's daughter, a beautiful and free-spirited young woman. She falls in love with the clean streets, the cheerful, hardworking citizenry, and the pretty Aryan boys, happily befriending and bedding high-placed Nazis, until she comes to realize that beneath the facade of bold banners and shiny uniforms is a political system steeped in conspiracy and terror. The greatness of this book lies in the way it examines the events of that year with fresh and innocent eyes. There was a moment where disaster could have been averted, history altered, if only the right people had been paying attention to the right signals.
While I may have been one of the remaining few who thought that perhaps the average German (during the time leading up to WWII and the actual war) did not really know about the atrocities taking place, this book makes it perfectly clear that THEY ALL KNEW! The concentration camps existed down the street, around the
corner, in so many areas and were publicly discussed by Nazi leaders that everyone HAD TO BE aware of them. The story of the Dodd family's life in Germany, their friendships, encounters with Nazi (and other) leaders and attempts to represent a 'normal American' lifestyle are eye-opening. Don't get me started about Martha (she is the height of 'hoochie-mama-ness' far ahead of her time)! As the daughter of a diplomat, living in a foreign country, she lives her life with no concern for how it reflects on her father, her country or her up-bringing. In fact, it is most apparent that she cares nothing for anyone or anything other than the next attractive/evil/sexually active man who enters her sight! It is not possible to feel any sorrow for her later unhappiness as she and her husband (the one she kept) flee the country and eventually wonder where it would be best to die. Anywhere and much earlier would have been excellent for Martha! The fact that Ambassador Dodd was correct in his evaluation of Hitler and the path he was following is small compensation for the way Dodd was treated by others in the diplomatic field and in the end by Roosevelt. He was last in line to be offered the ambassadorship to Berlin and was consistently treated poorly - especially when he lived within his means! (Do our present day leaders still subscribe to the belief that it is a bad idea to live on what you earn???)It is a shame that his insights were never given the respect they deserved to perhaps prevent the world-wide conflict that was WWII and the deaths that ensued. Well written, well documented and a "can't-put-it-down read"! I enjoyed it from start to finish and was impressed with the photos which were one that have not been in every story about the era! An excellent author again writes a great book!
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