In The Garden Of Beasts: Love, Terror, and an American Family in Hitler's Berlin Love, Terror, and an American Family in Hitler's Berlin (Paperback)
|Author: Erik Larson|
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|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.|
From the Publisher:
“Larson is a marvelous writer...superb at creating characters with a few short strokes.”—New York Times Book Review
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.
From the Hardcover edition.
Erik Larson has written nonfiction books on a variety of topics, but he is probably best known for his 2003 book, THE DEVIL IN THE WHITE CITY, which contained parallel stories about the architect who oversaw the design of the Chicago World's Fair of 1893 and a ruthless serial killer who stalked the city during that time. Larson was born in Brooklyn, New York, and grew up in the suburbs of Long Island. After earning a bachelor's degree in Russian studies at the University of Pennsylvania in 1976, he began working as an editorial assistant at a New York City publishing company. Upon seeing the film ALL THE PRESIDENT'S MEN, Larson was inspired to earn a master's degree at the Columbia School of Journalism, and his subsequent career as a reporter included stints at the Wall Street Journal and Time. In 1992 his first book, NAKED CONSUMER: HOW OUR PRIVATE LIVES BECAME PUBLIC COMMODITIES, was published. Although it was used as the basis for a PBS documentary, NAKED CONSUMER gained little critical or commercial notice for Larson. That changed after the publication of THE DEVIL IN THE WHITE CITY, which spent more than three years on the New York Times hardcover and paperback bestseller lists. Larson had been moved to combine the tale of H.H. Holmes, the serial killer, with that of the World's Fair because of the compelling contrast between the two topics. "This massive act of civic good will and literally in the same place, at the same time, was the opposite. . . . That's what lured me," he has explained. "In fact, I would not have been interested in just doing a book about the Fair. Nor would I have been interested in doing a book just about Holmes. But together . . . That I found kind of magical."
"His newest book, the engrossing IN THE GARDEN OF BEASTS, has a remarkable setting -- Berlin in the mid-1930s as Hitler consolidated his power over every aspect of German life -- but the people he writes about aren't particularly exceptional. That's the point." - Laura Miller 05/15/2011