In the Garden of Beasts Online PDF 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 I was surprised to read in Larson's wonderful new book that so many bureaucrats in the U.S. State Department would be so candidly anti-Semitic. The "Jewish problem" that Hitler's Germany was having was largely felt by State to be Hitler's problem and his alone; the State Department's chief concern was getting Dodd, their new Ambassador to Berlin, to keep the Hitler regime appeased until Germany's reparations to U.S. banks were paid off. Nothing else seemed to matter to them. Certainly reports from Dodd, Messersmith, and others about state-sanctioned terror and human-rights abuses in 1933-34 Germany were largely dismissed by the Secretary of State and others as naive or exaggerated. Time and again Dodd was reminded to keep his mouth shut about his criticisms of the Nazis and just get the money the banks wanted. Dodd is sometimes exasperatingly naive about what was going on in Germany, but at least he caught on. And he spoke out about the Nazis on their own turf, which infuriated them no end; and his Berlin residence became a retreat to many Germans who felt comfortable speaking candidly there. His daughter Martha couldn't keep her knickers on, but so what? She was young, beautiful, and intelligent. That she had affairs with Carl Sandberg, Thomas Wolfe, the head of the German Gestapo, and the Russian ambassador within just a few years of each other is quite an achievement. Best of all, everything's documented. Rudolf Diels, the head of the Gestapo, kept a journal. So did Dodd, his daughter Martha, and several of the fools at the State Department. Everyone wrote letters and kept the ones they received. I just KNOW this book will be a film sometime in the future. Let's hope it's a good one because it deserves to be.
I was unsure when I picked up this book whether or not I was going to enjoy it, by the end of the first chapter I was still on the fence. Once I made it through the second I was hooked. I expected (and was pleasantly surprised to find myself wrong) to find myself reading yet another biography of an individual involved in WWII
that goes to the inevitable conclusion of The Final Solution and reaction to it. Instead I was drawn into the world of Berlin, the feelings and lives of the characters. I was entranced by the relationships between the characters, the different and distinct way that each person handled the events around them. As opposed to yet another look at the Nazi party, the disarming factor of this book was how far away and detached it all seemed while being immersed in it. I think this book did a better job of describing how it felt to be in Nazi Germany than others, and instead of the writing becoming clinical it was always easy and had a flow that is enviable. I never felt overwhelmed by what I was reading, confused by the different trails of people and plot; a huge achievement for the author who includes so many important players in the war and so many auxiliary individuals of influence you often hear so little about. The writing was truly engaging, so much so that when I made it to the end of the book I was drawn back to it to review what I had read and immerse myself in the writing again. I deeply enjoyed how much care was taken in putting this book together; it is evident in every page. The photographs combined with the descriptive narrative really help you put everything in place in your mind as you read. There was a fantastic focus on the way the United States handled the growing situation, how officials were reacting, and the strange and myriad thoughts and feelings of those who served at the embassy in Germany. I highly recommend this book, especially for those who think they have everything nailed down regarding the aspects of WWII related to the Nazis and the German powers in place at the time. You will not be disappointed.
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