In the Garden of Beasts: Love, Terror, and an American Family in Hitler’s Berlin by Erik Larson
The book chronicles William E. Dodd’s appointment as Ambassador to Nazi German in 1933. Not Roosevelt’s first choice for ambassador, the mild-mannered Dodd brings his wife, son and flamboyant daughter, Martha with him to Berlin. At first they are enthralled with the parties, and pomp and ceremony of the “New Germany”. And, Martha is especially captivated by the handsome men of the Third Reich having affair after affair. But as persecution of the Jews mounts, Dodd telegraphs an unreceptive state department of chilling first hand accounts. For a longtime Martha is in denial but slowly the terror becomes to overwhelming to ignore and Hitler’s true character and ambition become clear.
In the Garden of Beasts provides an insider’s view of Hitler’s rise to power and how and why the world and especially the United States looked the other way for so long. The book is exceedingly well written and researched with quotes from Ambassador Dodd, Martha and many other historical figures. I think history buffs would especially enjoy what appears to be a first hand account of history from Dodd’s point-of-view.