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Documents the efforts of the first American ambassador to Hitler's Germany, William E. Dodd, to acclimate to a residence in an increasingly violent city where he is forced to associate with the Nazis while his daughter pursues a relationship with Gestapochief Rudolf Diels.
Amazon.com Review Amazon Best Books of the Month, May 2011: In the Garden of Beasts is a vivid portrait of Berlin during the first years of Hitler’s reign, brought to life through the stories of two people: William E. Dodd, who in 1933 became America’s first ambassador to Hitler’s regime, and his scandalously carefree daughter, Martha. Ambassador Dodd, an unassuming and scholarly man, is an odd fit among the extravagance of the Nazi elite. His frugality annoys his fellow Americans in the State Department and Dodd’s growing misgivings about Hitler’s ambitions fall on deaf ears among his peers, who are content to “give Hitler everything he wants.” Martha, on the other hand, is mesmerized by the glamorous parties and the high-minded conversation of Berlin’s salon society—and flings herself headlong into numerous affairs with the city’s elite, most notably the head of the Gestapo and a Soviet spy. Both become players in the exhilarating (and terrifying) story of Hitler’s obsession for absolute power, which culminates in the events of one murderous night, later known as “the Night of Long Knives.” The rise of Nazi Germany is a well-chronicled time in history, which makes In the Garden of Beasts all the more remarkable. Erik Larson has crafted a gripping, deeply-intimate narrative with a climax that reads like the best political thriller, where we are stunned with each turn of the page, even though we already know the outcome. --_Shane Hansanuwat_ Review “Reads like an elegant thriller…utterly compelling… marvelous stuff. An excellent and entertaining book that deserves to be a bestseller, and probably will be.”—_The Washington Post_ “A master at writing true tales as riveting as fiction.”--_People_ (3 1/2 stars) "Larson has done it again, expertly weaving together a fresh new narrative from ominous days of the 20th century."--Associated Press "[L]ike slipping slowly into a nightmare, with logic perverted and morality upended….It all makes for a powerful, unsettling immediacy."--Bruce Handy, _Vanity Fair “Dazzling….Reads like a suspense novel, replete with colorful characters, both familiar and those previously relegated to the shadows. Like Christopher Isherwood’s Berlin Stories or Victor Klemperer’s Diaries, IN THE GARDEN OF BEASTS is an on-the-ground documentary of a society going mad in slow motion."--The Chicago Sun-Times _ “[G]ripping, a nightmare narrative of a terrible time. It raises again the question never fully answered about the Nazi era—what evil humans are capable of, and what means are necessary to cage the beast.”--_The Seattle Times _ "In this mesmerizing portrait of the Nazi capital, Larson plumbs a far more diabolical urban cauldron than in his bestselling The Devil in the White City...a vivid, atmospheric panorama of the Third Reich and its leaders, including murderous Nazi factional infighting, through the accretion of small crimes and petty thuggery."--_Publishers Weekly_(Starred Review) Praise for Erik Larson THUNDERSTRUCK “A ripping yarn of murder and invention.”—_Los Angeles Times_ “Larson’s gift for rendering an historical era with vibrant tactility and filling it with surprising personalities makes...
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
Charles R. Crane acquired his appreciation for Russian culture and life through travel in the country, making a total of twenty-four trips to Russia. Crane developed friendships and professional relationships with many prominent Russians in political, cultural, and artistic spheres. Crane spent a considerable amount of his own time and resources in his attempts to educate Americans about the Russian people. By studying this unusual man, Norman E. Saul explores the world in which he lived and traveled. The relationship between America and Russia has always been a complex and fascinating one, and Saul shines light on a pivotal period in that relationship.
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.
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
Adolf Hitler’s Nazi party is gaining strength and becoming more menacing every day. Dietrich Bonhoeffer, a pastor upset by the complacency of the German church toward the suffering around it, forms a breakaway church to speak out against the established political and religious authorities. When the Nazis outlaw the church, he escapes as a fugitive. Struggling to reconcile his faith and the teachings of the Bible with the Nazi Party’s evil agenda, Bonhoeffer decides that Hitler must be stopped by any means possible! In his signature style of interwoven handwritten text and art, John Hendrix tells the true story of Dietrich Bonhoeffer, a pastor who makes the ultimate sacrifice in order to free the German people from oppression during World War II.

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