“In the Garden of Beasts” by Erik Larson: Intellectual Day Book Review

Erik Larson the bestselling author of The Devil in the White City” really out does all his previous work with his tale of “Love, Terror, and an American Family in Hitler’s Berlin. The book historic novel gives an enthralling glimpse into the rise of Nazi Germany in 1933-1934 told through the amazing imagery of Larson’s unique writing ability.

A “historic novel” if you are unfamiliar with the term is best described as a historical account with references mixed in with fictional characters our circumstances. Another well known historical novel is “War and Peace”. In the Garden of Beasts, when published in 2011 was universally praised and was awarded countless awards including New York Times Notable Book of The Year and NPR Best Book of the Year. O, The Opera Magazine, called it “the most important book of 2011.

The tale introduces you to William E. Dodds, soon to become the United States Ambassador to Germany and his wife Martha and children William Jr. and Martha, and their move from the simple life of a University Professor to the bustling life of a foreign diplomat living in Berlin during the assencion of Adolph Hitler and the National Socialist Party. Dodds is not your typical ambassador in weath, or social status, or desire for either. He is however, deeply committed to his task at hand, and despite internal attempts to criticize or oust him completely by “The Pretty Good Club” of career politicians in the State Department, he is forced to make the tough decisions demanded of his station with selflessness and a strict devotion to true American Ideas.

The story progresses from Hitler’s power grab as chancellor to the full on take over of the German Government and is a fasinating, play by play account of his assension to furer.

“It as if he had entered the dark forest of a fairy tale where all the rules of right and wrong were upended. (page 328)

Through no less than half a dozen historical references, journals, and documents, Erik Larson is able to piece together a thrilling account of America’s first ambassador to Hitler’s Germany.





Samuel Barnes

Samuel Barnes is an Author at Intellectual Day, as well as, Founder and CEO of Assimilation Software a software and web development technology firm.

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