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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
When Ann Walmsley was asked to take part in a book club in a men’s prison, she was initially anxious: after a violent mugging a few years before, could she really cope being surrounded by violent criminals? Luckily, curiosity got the better of her, and she signed up for eighteen months of meetings with heavily tattooed inmates, talking about books ranging from The Grapes of Wrath to The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time. But this wasn’t your typical book club – there was no wine and cheese, plush furniture or superficial chat about recent holidays. Classic works of fiction and non-fiction became springboards for frank discussions about loss, anger, redemption and loneliness, and for the men a prized oasis in which to regain a sense of humanity. In this heart-warming example of the rehabilitative power of reading, follow Graham the biker, Frank the gunman, Ben and Dread the drug dealers, and the robber duo Gaston and Peter as they share ideas and reveal their life stories. The Prison Book Club is unlike anything you’ve read before.
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.
Whether set in ancient Egypt, Feudal Japan, the Victorian Age, or Civil War-era America, historical fiction places readers squarely at the center of fascinating times and places, making it one of the most popular genres in contemporary publishing. The definitive resource for librarians and other book professionals, this guideProvides an overview of historical fiction’s roots, highlighting foundational classics, and explores the genre in terms of its scope and styleCovers the latest and most popular authors and titlesDiscusses appeal characteristics and shows how librarians can use a reader's favorite qualities to make suggestionsIncludes lists of recommendations, with a compendium of print and web-based resourcesOffers marketing tips for getting the word out to readersEmphasizing an appreciation of historical fiction in its many forms and focusing on what fans enjoy, this guide provides a fresh take on a durable genre.

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