Seattle Bookshelf

By James Ross Gardner April 22, 2011 Published in the May 2011 issue of Seattle Met

Erik Larson author of bazillion-copy-selling The Devil in the White City—is back with another harrowing true tale. In the Garden of Beasts: Love, Terror, and an American Family in Hitler’s Berlin (Crown; May 10) is the saga of history professor William E. Dodd, who in 1933 became the unlikely U.S. ambassador to Germany—just as the führer is seizing power. Dodd brings his family to Deutschland, including flirtatious daughter Martha, who finds the Nazis impressive and has an affair with a Gestapo chief. But as violence against Jews ratchets up—and the U.S. State Department shrugs off Dodd’s pleas to intervene—Martha must decide if she can tolerate the Third Reich’s brutality. Readers ultimately bear witness to the blood-soaked Night of the Long Knives, when Hitler’s men executed at least 85 Germans—a climax Larson renders vividly.

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