Saturday, September 7, 2013


Author: Erik Larson
Category: Historical/Non-Fiction
Pub. Date: 01/01/2011
Publisher: Crown
Format: Kindle
Pages: 368
ISBN#: 0807952428

Erik Larson has been widely acclaimed as a master of narrative non-fiction, and in his new book, the bestselling author of Devil in the White City turns his hand to a remarkable story set during Hitler’s rise to power.
The time is 1933, the place, Berlin, when William E. Dodd becomes America’s first ambassador to Hitler’s Germany in a year that proved to be a turning point in history.
A mild-mannered professor from Chicago, Dodd brings along his wife, son, and flamboyant daughter, Martha. At first Martha is entranced by the parties and pomp, and the handsome young men of the Third Reich with their infectious enthusiasm for restoring Germany to a position of world prominence. Enamored of the “New Germany,” she has one affair after another, including with the suprisingly honorable first chief of the Gestapo, Rudolf Diels. But as evidence of Jewish persecution mounts, confirmed by chilling first-person testimony, her father telegraphs his concerns to a largely indifferent State Department back home. Dodd watches with alarm as Jews are attacked, the press is censored, and drafts of frightening new laws begin to circulate. As that first year unfolds and the shadows deepen, the Dodds experience days full of excitement, intrigue, romance—and ultimately, horror, when a climactic spasm of violence and murder reveals Hitler’s true character and ruthless ambition.
Suffused with the tense atmosphere of the period, and with unforgettable portraits of the bizarre Göring and the expectedly charming--yet wholly sinister--Goebbels, In the Garden of Beasts lends a stunning, eyewitness perspective on events as they unfold in real time, revealing an era of surprising nuance and complexity. The result is a dazzling, addictively readable work that speaks volumes about why the world did not recognize the grave threat posed by Hitler until Berlin, and Europe, were awash in blood and terror.  

My Review:  
First let me start by saying that reading this book was some what enlightening. Why you may ask, well in most ways I do not like reading or even hearing about history. Have never enjoyed it. But for the most part this book took me places that I thought was unforgettable to say the least. 

Author Erik Larson has a way of writing that does not feel like he is telling you about history. It is more like just a story being told of mystery, intrigue, suspense and heroism that took place a long time ago. 

Some of the story does go into more intense telling of things and the descriptions of things that happened I could have done without. You may feel different and actually enjoy actual history all together. 

Cover: is very nice
Plot: was good but more geared toward history buffs. 
Characters: very believable
Ending: actually made me want to hear more about the time period. 

So for the reasons above I am giving this book and author a Breath of Life Rating:

Four Clock Rating:  

Disclosure: I did received the above book in exchange for my honest opinion and review. Opinions are my own and yours may differ. 

About the Author:
 Erik Larson, author of the international bestseller Isaac's Storm, was nominated for a National Book Award for The Devil in the White City, which also won an Edgar Award for fact-crime writing. His latest book, In the Garden of Beasts: Love Terror and an American Family in Hitler's Berlin, has been acquired for publication in 20 countries and optioned by Tom Hanks for a feature film. Erik is a former features writer for The Wall Street Journal and Time. His magazine stories have appeared in The New Yorker, The Atlantic Monthly, Harper's and other publications.

Larson has taught non-fiction writing at San Francisco State, the Johns Hopkins Writing Seminars, and the University of Oregon, and has spoken to audiences from coast to coast. He lives in Seattle with his wife, who is the director of neonatology at the University of Washington Medical Center and at Children's Hospital of Seattle, and the author of the nonfiction memoir, Almost Home, which, as Erik puts it, "could make a stone cry." They have three daughters in far-flung locations. 



Kim Williams Justesen said...

I finished this book a few months ago, and though I am a huge Larsen fan, I found this one to have places that were slow and bogged down with unnecessary details.this period in history is fascinating, and following the antics of Martha was an enjoyable part of the book. I highly recommend it - just skip the slow parts!

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