Wednesday, April 18, 2012

In the Garden of Beasts

Title: In the Garden of Beasts
Author: Erik Larson
Genre: Non-Fiction
Sub-genre: History, Nazism, WWII, European History
Pages:  450
Published: 2011
Publisher: Crown Publishing Group
ISBN: 0307408841
Reader's Annotation:A window into the American Ambassador in Germany as Hitler rises to power
Summary: Erik Larson provides a historical look into the lives of William Dodd and his daughter, Martha as he is made America's ambassador to Germany in 1933. Rich with fact, Larson's look provides a window into an American family's perspective to the rise of the Nazis
My Evaluation: Once again Erik Larson is an consummate historian. His research is outstanding. I only know of Dodd by name and not much else so this was an eye-opener. Once it again, Larson proves his point that had the US government listened to Dodd as well as others, 6 million lives would have not been lost to the mad men of Hitler and his cronies. Dodd, a very staunch Jeffersonian, wants a different way for the ambassadorship, especially in Europe but once again the old boys club in Washington at this time, fails to listen to him. Larson's research into Dodd's life as well as Martha's, was amazing. Martha's tryst with NKVD operative is especially astounding considering the atmosphere at the time. However, unlike the other two books of Larson's that I have read, this one was much drier. His other two books had a mystery element to them, as both involved a murder (Devil in the White City and Thunderstruck) so this book was harder to get through than the others.
Rating:  3.8 out of 5
The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair that Changed America by Erik Larson
Thunderstruck by Erik Larson
Catherine the Great: Portrait of a Woman by Robert K. Massie
Nicholas and Alexandra by Robert K. Massie
The Monster of Florence by Preston Douglas
Cleopatra by Stacy Schiff
The Zookeeper's Wife by Diane Ackerman
The Liberators: America's Witnesses to the Holocaust by Michael Hirsh
The Mascot: Unraveling the Mystery of My Jewish Father's Nazi Boyhood by Mark Kurzem
Stones from the River by Ursula Hegi