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audreyhawkins

audreyhawkins

In the Garden of Beasts: Love, Terror, and an American Family in Hitler's Berlin - Erik Larson Larson gives us a chilling look at 1933-34 in Nazi Germany through the eyes of the American ambassador and his family. Larson paints the Dodds, especially the daughter Martha, as innocents, showing how they were equal parts seduced by the handsome vigor of the Aryan ideal and bemused by Hitler's growing truculence. There's a lot of insider scuttlebutt about the diplomatic circles in Berlin, as well as about the State Department and the boys club that ran (runs?) it. Larson has crafted a thrilling story out of what was surely a mountain of research in old letters and State Department memos, as well as private diaries. My one complaint is that he covers the last three years of Dodd's tenure in Berlin in twenty pages, without warning you that the pith of his story is over.