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In the Garden of the Beasts

16 May

garden of the beasts

I figured out how to download ebooks from the library on to my iPad. I’d delighted to have so many books available. The down side is you can only have them for two weeks before they go “poof!” as Erik Larson‘s engaging In the Garden of the Beasts just did. I’m guessing I can take it out again.

So this is a quick review of a book I’m half way through. In the Garden of the Beasts chronicles the life of the Dodd family in Nazi Germany. Franklin Delano Roosevelt had a hard time filling the German ambassadorship in the 1930s. No one wanted to go. Eventually, FDR chose William E. Dodd, a history professor at the University of Chicago. Dodd was a frugal, down-to-earth academic who spoke German fluently. Not a bad choice.

The book is fascinating as it describes Dodd and his family, mainly his daughter who has several lovers while in Berlin. As ambassador Dodd must deal with the conflict of an in circle who doesn’t feel he’s up to his post and Hitler, who’s gaining power. I was not aware of all the beatings American tourists suffered during this era. While non-Germans were exempt from saluting Nazi’s, those who didn’t were often beaten.

Dodd meets and socializes with all the big names from history: Hitler, Göring, Goebbels and others. Larson researched the book well. Diaries and correspondence breathe life into the work, which reads like a novel. Read In the Garden of the Beasts and you’ll learn how history really happens, day by day.

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Posted by on May 16, 2013 in history

 

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