In the Garden of Beasts

In the Garden of Beasts

[love, Terror, and An American Family in Hitler's Berlin]

Downloadable Audiobook - 2011
Average Rating:
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The telephone call that forever changed the lives of the Dodd family of Chicago came at noon on Thursday, June 8, 1933, as William E. Dodd sat at his desk at the University of Chicago. Now chairman of the history department, Dodd had been a professor at the university since 1909, recognized nationally for his work on the American South and for a biography of Woodrow Wilson. He was sixty-four years old, trim, five feet eight inches tall, with blue-gray eyes and light brown hair. Though his face at rest tended to impart severity, he in fact had a sense of humor that was lively, dry, and easily ignited. He had a wife, Martha, known universally as Mattie, and two children, both in their twenties. His daughter, also named Martha, was twenty-four years old; his son, William Jr.--Bill--was twenty-eight.
Publisher: Westminster, Md. : Books on Tape, 2011
Edition: Library ed
ISBN: 9780307914606
0307914607
Branch Call Number: Online Audio Book
Additional Contributors: Hoye, Stephen
OverDrive, Inc

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TechLibrarian Aug 26, 2017

I listened to this audiobook a few years ago. At the time I only thought it was so-so--it's quite suspenseful, as the plot and tension build slowly. I could appreciate that it was all meticulously researched using primary sources, and this gave great insight into the characters. I've been thinking about it lots over the past few weeks, as current events seem eerily similar. Thus, I thought I'd write a review and add it to my list of recommended reads. I think it's important that everyone understand this history.

c
Chapel_Hill_SusanM
Mar 28, 2016

I hadn't read Erik Larson before (I know, I know), and I am happy to say this guy lives up to the hype. It's a compelling story with plot and intrigue and characters you care about, but it also avoids one of my pet peeves - made up conversations between historical figures. Plus, the subject matter is at once alarming and thought-provoking - it seems like a pretty straight line from the anti-Semitism of the US to the complacence about Hitler's rise to power to the Holocaust, but hindsight is 20/20, right? I also wish there were no implications for the current day, but that wish is part of the dangerous complacence, isn't it? The point is, this book provoked FEELINGS, which I was not expecting. Also, I would like a whole book on Martha Dodd, the ambassador's daughter. Dang, she got into some stuff.

p
pdxalexa
Jan 16, 2016

Great book that lived up to its hype in its day. Well read by the narrator. Captured the turn of the worm in pre-WWII Berlin. The fear in the air was palpable.

a
Annsonline
Sep 19, 2013

I've read extensively on the topic of Hitler's Germany and found that this book - unlike most of the others - provided a very human face to the history of the times. I thoroughly enjoyed the book and found it well written and a great read.

NuMD97 May 18, 2013

Outstanding. Simply outstanding. The level of research, is very thorough. William E. Dodd, being one of the first American ambassadors to Nazi Germany, is enough to pique the interest of even the most casual observer of history. We know full well how it turned out, but to see how it all began and how Ambassador Dodd predicted the beginnings of the coming World War is something to behold. Not a first choice selected by President Franklin Roosevelt, not even a second or third one, but the only one who presciently saw Hitler's temporizing plan to ready his country for war. And no one listened. Dodd is certainly not a hero in the conventional sense, with foibles of his own. He is developed into three dimensions for the reader, by the literary craftsmanship of the author. Larson brings the unfolding of pre-World War II events, enrichingly to life. Well worth the read, or as a talking book.

t
TrekBebe
Apr 30, 2013

So much information in this novel! Very compelling time period and story, but I was intimidated by the number of characters and details. If you were well-versed in history, you'd enjoy it more.

m
MaryKPriem
Feb 09, 2013

The author is a former police detective who applies his skills to historical records and finds the most amazing true stories. Yes, everything in his books is carefully researched and true. This book reads like a novel and provides valuable insights into the rise of Nazi Germany.

bnotash70 Nov 25, 2012

The true ( I think) story of the American Ambassador under Roosevelt to the 3rdnReich, and his family, in Berlin. During the ascent to power of Hitler and the Nazis.

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