In the Garden of Beasts Online Download by Erik Larson
Click Here to Download the Book The time is 1933, the place, Berlin, when William E. Dodd becomes America’s first ambassador to Hitler’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 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.
Reviews It is summer 1934 in pre-World War II Germany, where Adolph Hitler is completing his second year as chancellor. U.S. Ambassador William E. Dodd writes a telling passage about the differences between the treatment of animals and people: “At a time when hundreds of men have been put to death without trial or any sort of evidence of guilt, and when the population literally trembles with fear, animals have rights guaranteed them which men and women cannot think of expecting.” That one sentence on Page 336 of Erik Larson’s “In the Garden of Beasts: Love, Terror, and an American Family in Hitler’s Berlin” brought me to a halt, to read it again. The sentence ends a chapter that goes to the heart of Hitler’s strike on June 30, 1934, into his own military wing, the Storm Troopers, to put down a brewing uprising, which, in reality may not have existed, but which Hitler had been guided to believe. Hundreds, if not more than a thousand, people were rounded up and shot, hanged or whipped to their deaths. Voices against the Nazis were silenced. This book, copyright 2011, is a must read. It is put together based mostly on historical records and diaries. Dodd, a University of Chicago history professor in his 60s, was not the first choice of President Roosevelt’s to fill the ambassadorship to Germany in 1933, the year Hitler became chancellor. It was a time when America was leaning isolationist, Germany owed it lots of money in the aftermath of the Great War, and, in Germany, the undercurrent of feeling was that Hitler could be controlled — that he wouldn’t last. Larson weaves the reader through the four years of Dodd’s years in Germany. You learn about his family, including a wild daughter who sleeps with many in the diplomatic corps. — including Germans, French and Russians. She believes in Hitler’s Germany and is in love with a Soviet Embassy staffer, who, history will unveil, may have been at times in love with Martha Dodd but also was acting as part of an effort to lure her into being a spy. Amid the family storyline, I was swept away by the intrigue of jealousies and deceit that marked the government and military wings of the pre-war Nazi leaders. You also get a taste of the gradually expanding Nazi movement against Jewish people, and how that hatred
brewed within Germany and was debated — and mostly downplayed — within the United States. Dodd, himself, is both loved and scorned. Among those who disliked him the most were many Nazis and many inside the State Department back home. He walks a fine line trying to balance American values in the growing face of tyranny. While at times he comes off naive, history shows that he nailed what was to come. In a “personal and confidential” note to the U.S. Secretary of State on Sept. 19, 1936, Dodd wrote from Berlin: “With armies increasing in size and efficiency every day; with thousands of airplanes ready on a moment’s notice to drop bombs and spread poison gas over great cities; and with all other countries, little and great, arming as never before, one can not feel safe anywhere.” The response mostly in Washington and much of the West remained that Hitler could not last, and Dodd was growing paranoid. “In the Garden of Beasts” is about the stage-setting for World War II. It is most unsettling and should be ready by anyone with an interest in the Holocaust and the second World War.
This is an account of William E. Dodd, American Ambassador to Germany, 1933-1937, a confusing and terrifying time to be in Hitler's Germany. Sixty-four year old history professor Dodd is in that place that many reach in their sixties, wondering if life has passed him by and if this is it. "FOR SOME TIME NOW, Dodd had been unhappy in his position at the university. Though he loved teaching history, he loved writing it more, and for years he had been working on what he expected would be the definitive recounting of early southern history, a four volume series that he called The Rise and Fall of the Old South, but time and again he had found his progress stymied by the routine demands of his job. Only the first volume was near completion, and he was of an age when he feared he would be buried alongside the unfinished remainder." Franklin Roosevelt offered Professor Dodd the ambassadorship after three others turned it down, ostensibly due to the violence and unrest taking place in Germany since Adolf Hitler had become chancellor. Dodd reluctantly accepted and moved his family, wife Mattie (Martha), twenty-four year old daughter, Martha, and twenty-eight year-old son, Bill (William, Jr.) to Berlin, ignoring the conflicting reports coming out of Germany at the time. At that time American ambassadorships were mostly held by rich cronies of `ole boys clubs, mostly from Harvard. William Dodd was neither rich nor a Harvard graduate, and proposed something unheard of at the time--that he run the embassy and live on the $17,500 yearly salary of an ambassador. While other ambassadors' were using their own monies to live high and throw lavish and frequent parties, William Dodd disapproved. America was in the throes of a depression, and Dodd believed that it was an ambassador's duty to set a good example by living within his means. This dedication to frugalness, and Dodd's lack of inclusion in what was termed "A Pretty Good Club" by its members that included Secretary of State, Cordell Hull, and the undersecretary, William Phillips--Dodd's direct boss--not only set the tone for his ambassadorship, but also started a chain of events that almost guaranteed Dodd's apparent "failure." The horror of the machinations of Hitler and the Nazis and the utter unconcern and inaction of the people in power around the world was sickening and sometimes fascinating. Everyone believed that no country on earth would allow a person that appeared alternately a monster and a buffoon to continue to wield so much power. Dodd, as a Jeffersonian Democrat, continued, almost to the last minute, to believe that the leaders of Germany could be approached with reason and logic, two traits completely lacking in the mad and evil mind of Adolf Hitler. Once Dodd realized who he was dealing with, his warnings went almost completely unheeded by an America dominated by isolationist. At fifty-five chapters, I set a goal for myself of reading three chapters per day to keep from feeling intimidated. However, that goal almost immediately fell by the wayside, as I was completely engrossed in the story and unable to stop at three chapters. This book is an excellent read for anyone interested in what can so easily go wrong with power when people look the other way.
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