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Erik Larson has been widely acclaimed as a master of narrative non-fiction, and in his new book, the bestselling author of The Devil in the while City turns his hand to a remarkable story set during Hitler's rise to power. In 1933, a year that would prove to be a turning point in history, William E. Dodd becomes America's first ambassador to Hitler's Germany. He brings his family with him to Berlin, where they experience days full of excitement, intrigue, romance, and - ultimately - horror. The ambassador's daughter is at fist entranced by the pomp and parties, and by the young men with their infectious enthusiasm for the 'New Germany'. As evidence of Jewish persecution mounts, however, Dodd telegraphs his concerns to a largely indifferent State Department back home. He watched with growing alarm as Jews are attached, the press is censored, and a climactic spasm of violence and murder reveals Hitler's true character. Suffused with the tense atmosphere of the period, and with unforgettable portraits of historical figures such as Göring and 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 recognise the grave threat posed by Hitler until Europe was awash in blood and terror.
ABOUT THE BOOK Erik Larson paints a compelling picture of 1933 Berlin, a time when Adolf Hitler was rising but did not yet hold absolute power and, in fact, few expected his government to survive. Larson explores the rise of Nazism from the perspective of the newly arrived U.S. ambassador and his family. William E. Dodd, a circumspect professor and unlikely candidate for Americas first ambassador to Nazi Germany, struggles with the protocol and conflicting demands of his heart, his nation, and his duty while his daughter, Martha, finds the social scene vibrant and thrilling. In time, they come to see the ugly truth about Hitler and his plans but even then their efforts to raise the alarm are largely discounted back home. MEET THE AUTHOR With degrees in journalism and history from the University of Southern California, Arwen Bicknell has worked on newspaper copydesks across the country for more than 20 years. In her free time she writes novels and tries to get them published. You can read her blog at arwenbicknell.com. EXCERPT FROM THE BOOK Protocol and promiscuity. These are the two angles from which Larson chooses to explore the power-grabbing days of Adolph Hitler leading up to the Night of the Long Knives, when Hitler purged his enemies and laid the last bit of groundwork to seize complete power in Germany. Tired of being overworked at the University of Chicago and in search of a sinecure, mild-mannered professor William E. Dodd historian, Jeffersonian Democrat and would-be author of the definitive work on the antebellum South instead lands in a job he is woefully ill-equipped to perform. Tapped to serve as the U.S. ambassador in Berlin, he packs up his family and together they all make the journey into a foreign land and an even more foreign culture: that of the diplomatic and political elite. Larson does a good job of balancing the diplomats headaches and blunders with the effusive enthusiasm of his socialite daughter, who manages to land as lovers several of the leading U.S. and German luminaries, from Carl Sandburg and Max Delbruck to Gestapo chief Rudolf Diels and Soviet spy Boris Winogradov. While the characters naivete is believable, that doesnt necessarily mean they are entirely likeable. William Dodds assessment of the situation appears credible, if sweetly foolish. Martha Dodd, on the other hand, comes off as almost obstinately flighty and shallow, and the fact that she turned her allegiances from Hitlers Nazis to Stalins Communists without appearing to have learned anything simply bolsters that impression. CHAPTER OUTLINE Quicklet on Erik Larson's In the Garden of Beasts: Love, Terror, and an American Family in Hitler's Berlin Erik Larson's In the Garden of Beasts: Love, Terror, and an American Family in Hitler's Berlin + About the Book + About the Author + An Overall Summary + Commentary and Summary + ...and much more
In the Garden of Beasts: by Erik Larson | Summary & Analysis Preview: In the Garden of Beasts: Love, Terror and an American Family in Hitler’s Berlin by Erik Larson explores several crucial years in Berlin through the eyes of the US ambassador and his family. Their experiences serve as both a cautionary tale about the insidiousness of evil and a harbinger of the hard realization that the rest of America was forced to make in a few short years. In 1933, George Messersmith, US Consul General in Berlin, awaited the naming of a new ambassador amid increasing brutality, fanaticism, and corruption under the Nazi regime. Messersmith was frustrated that no one back home realized how bad it was. Most US officials figured that Adolf Hitler would become more moderate over time. Their chief concern was getting Germany to pay back $1.2 billion owed to US bond holders in the aftermath of World War I. Hitler talked of paying, but Messersmith thought he was just buying time to re-arm Germany… PLEASE NOTE: This is a summary and analysis of the book and NOT the original book. Inside this Instaread Summary & Analysis of In the Garden of Beasts • Summary of book • Introduction to the Important People in the book • Analysis of the Themes and Author’s Style
For the last 25 years, Sunday nights at 8pm on C-SPAN has been appointment television for many Americans. During that time, host Brian Lamb has invited people to his Capitol Hill studio for hour-long conversations about contemporary society and history. In today's soundbite culture that hour remains one of television's last vestiges of in-depth, civil conversation. First came C-SPAN's Booknotes in 1989, which by the time it ended in December 2004, was the longest-running author-interview program in American broadcast history. Many of the most notable nonfiction authors of its era were featured over the course of 800 episodes, and the conversations became a defining hour for the network and for nonfiction writers. In January 2005, C-SPAN embarked on a new chapter with the launch of Q and A. Again one hour of uninterrupted conversation but the focus was expanded to include documentary film makers, entrepreneurs, social workers, political leaders and just about anyone with a story to tell. To mark this anniversary Lamb and his team at C-SPAN have assembled Sundays at Eight, a collection of the best unpublished interviews and stories from the last 25 years. Featured in this collection are historians like David McCullough, Ron Chernow and Robert Caro, reporters including April Witt, John Burns and Michael Weisskopf, and numerous others, including Christopher Hitchens, Brit Hume and Kenneth Feinberg. In a March 2001 Booknotes interview 60 Minutes creator Don Hewitt described the show's success this way: “All you have to do is tell me a story.” This collection attests to the success of that principle, which has guided Lamb for decades. And his guests have not disappointed, from the dramatic escape of a lifelong resident of a North Korean prison camp, to the heavy price paid by one successful West Virginia businessman when he won 314 million in the lottery, or the heroic stories of recovery from the most horrific injuries in modern-day warfare. Told in the series' signature conversational manner, these stories come to life again on the page. Sundays at Eight is not merely a token for fans of C-SPAN's interview programs, but a collection of significant stories that have helped us understand the world for a quarter-century.
As World War II recedes from living memory, there remain untold stories of important behind-the-scenes operatives who provided vital support to the leaders celebrated in historical accounts. Colonel Truman Smith is one of the most compelling figures from this period, but there has never been a biography of this important and controversial man. In Exposing the Third Reich, Henry G. Gole tells this soldier's story for the first time. An American aristocrat from a prominent New England family, Smith was first assigned to Germany in 1919 during the Allied occupation and soon became known as a regional expert. During his second assignment in the country as a military attaché in 1935, he arranged for his good friend Charles Lindbergh to inspect the Luftwaffe. The Germans were delighted to have the famous aviator view their planes, enabling Smith to gather key intelligence about their air capability. His savvy cultivation of relationships rendered him invaluable throughout his service, particularly as an aide to General George C. Marshall; however, the colonel's friendliness with Germany also aroused suspicion that he was a Nazi sympathizer. Gole demonstrates that, far from condoning Hitler, Smith was among the first to raise the alarm: he predicted many of the Nazis' moves years in advance and feared that the international community would not act quickly enough. Featuring many firsthand observations of the critical changes in Germany between the world wars, this biography presents an indispensable look both at a fascinating figure and at the nuances of the interwar years.
A very personal journey through Jewish history (and Cohen’s own), and a passionate defense of Israel’s legitimacy. Richard Cohen’s book is part reportage, part memoir—an intimate journey through the history of Europe’s Jews, culminating in the establishment of Israel. A veteran, syndicated columnist for The Washington Post, Cohen began this journey as a skeptic, wondering in a national column whether the creation of a Jewish State was “a mistake.” As he recounts, he delved into his own and Jewish history and fell in love with the story of the Jews and Israel, a twice-promised land—in the Bible by God, and by the world to the remnants of Europe’s Jews. This promise, he writes, was made in atonement not just for the Holocaust, but for the callous indifference that preceded World War II and followed it—and that still threatens. Cohen’s account is full of stories—from the nineteenth century figures who imagined a Zionist country, including Theodore Herzl, who thought it might resemble Vienna with its cafes and music; to what happened in twentieth century Poland to his own relatives; and to stories of his American boyhood. Cohen describes his relationship with Israel as a sort of marriage: one does not always get along but one is faithful.
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER For fans of Jacqueline Winspear, Laurie R. King, and Anne Perry, whip-smart heroine Maggie Hope returns to embark on a clandestine mission behind enemy lines where no one can be trusted, and even the smallest indiscretion can be deadly. World War II has finally come home to Britain, but it takes more than nightly air raids to rattle intrepid spy and expert code breaker Maggie Hope. After serving as a secret agent to protect Princess Elizabeth at Windsor Castle, Maggie is now an elite member of the Special Operations Executive—a black ops organization designed to aid the British effort abroad—and her first assignment sends her straight into Nazi-controlled Berlin, the very heart of the German war machine. Relying on her quick wit and keen instincts, Maggie infiltrates the highest level of Berlin society, gathering information to pass on to London headquarters. But the secrets she unveils will expose a darker, more dangerous side of the war—and of her own past. “You’ll be [Maggie Hope’s] loyal subject, ready to follow her wherever she goes.”—O: The Oprah Magazine From the Trade Paperback edition.

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