Erik Larson’s Latest Book

In the Garden of Beasts

Best-selling author Erik Larson returns with an emotional narrative about a family that unknowingly steps into the dangers of a turbulent Germany. Hitler had just become the chancellor, and violence grows as the struggle for power continues. The old Germany was gone and a new reality emerged that carried with it suspicion and the threat of death. Then, enter into the picture a new American ambassador William Dodd who was an idealist and historian with no experience in diplomacy.

Arriving in Germany in 1933 with his wife, son, and daughter, Dodd decided to be objective about the reports of violence in the country especially since he had such fond memories of an earlier Germany from his college days. Martha, his daughter, was twenty four years old and didn’t need to be neutral about her feelings. She was thrilled with the new adventure of the parties, politics, and especially the handsome men.

Being the ambassador brought Dodd into contact with some of the most powerful and dangerous men in Germany including Hitler himself. Martha had a powerful circle of friends as well and had an ever increasing number of affairs that would include a member of the Soviet embassy and the chief of the Gestapo, Rudolf Diels.

In the Garden of Beast: [Love, Terror, and an American Family in Hitler’s Berlin] is an intimate portrait of both a father and a daughter as their experiences in this new Germany impacts their lives. Larson uses diaries and letters to create a history that reads like a novel, and it is well researched with over forty pages of notes. A fascinating account of when the world was at a crossroads with an American family caught in the middle.

Christina Callison has been blogging about books for the library’s website since 2006. She has read hundreds of books that include mysteries, fantasies, horror, thrillers, non-fiction, general fiction, and some science fiction. She continues with her goal of finding new books and authors to recommend.