Tuesday, April 24, 2012

What We're Reading

Staff Member: Fay

I Would Recommend: "In the Garden of Beasts: Love, Terror, and an American Family in Hitler's Berlin" by Erik Larson 

"A tremendously well told story! This is about William E. Dodd, America's first ambassador to Hitler's regime in 1933, and his family: his scandalous daughter, Martha, and his wife and son. This book tells vividly the story of the rise of Nazi Germany and their obsession for absolute power and the effect it had on Germany and the Dodd family. Very informative with an insight into the war before it began, with an insider's view of how Hitler came 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. Enamored of the “New Germany,” Martha has one affair after another, including with the surprisingly honorable first chief of the Gestapo, Rudolf Diels. But as evidence of Jewish persecution mounts, 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.

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