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Group Book Discussion > (Aug/Sept 2011) - In the Garden of Beasts: Love, Terror, and an American Family in Hitler's Berlin - Erik Larson

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message 2: by LynnB (new)

LynnB I'm on the waiting list for this. Has anyone read it yet?


message 3: by Lisa (new)

Lisa (lbhick) | 986 comments I'm about halfway into the book. I'm not find it compelling reading at the moment.


message 4: by LynnB (new)

LynnB Lisa wrote: "I'm about halfway into the book. I'm not find it compelling reading at the moment."

Hmmm. That's not a good sign. I hope it picks up. Some of his other books have been very good.


message 5: by Nancy (new)

Nancy | 348 comments There are 149 holds for this book at my library so I'm thinking it'll be a while. A friend read it and loved it.


message 6: by Cathy (new)

Cathy | 468 comments Nancy wrote: "There are 149 holds for this book at my library so I'm thinking it'll be a while. A friend read it and loved it."

Hi Nancy,

I received this book as a Goodreads giveaway winner. It is an uncorrected proof and not suitable or able to be donated and sold at the local library. I did read it and liked it and it presently resides in my bedroom collecting dust.

If you would like to send me an e-mail message with your full name and address I would be happy to mail it from my home in PA to you. When you are done with it you can pass it along or do whatever you would like with it. Please let me know if you are interested.


message 7: by Dee (new)

Dee (deegirl) | 3 comments I absolutely loved this book! I thought it was well written and left me with so many thought provoking questions. It was also very informative of the climate of the time, and the politics. I found it cery interesting and kept my attention straight through the end. I also looked up several of the people and found Larson to be right on the mark.


message 8: by LynnB (new)

LynnB Just got this one at the library today, so it's next up after I finish my current books.


message 9: by Lisa (new)

Lisa (lbhick) | 986 comments I'm still working on this. I was reading it during long waits in the hospital waiting room (both parents have had surgery, plus one ER visit over the past couple of weeks). I like the book, but think it was not conducive reading for the hospital setting. Decided I needed some good fiction, too much reality at the moment. I will probably pick it back up next week.


message 10: by LynnB (new)

LynnB Lisa wrote: "I'm still working on this. I was reading it during long waits in the hospital waiting room (both parents have had surgery, plus one ER visit over the past couple of weeks). I like the book, but t..."

Both my parents had heart attacks last year and I remember those long waits in the hospital. You definitely need something to take you "away" instead of something heavier like this book! Hope things are going better for everyone now after surgery.


message 11: by Lisa (new)

Lisa (lbhick) | 986 comments Thanks, Lynn! Dad made out great with his surgery for prostrate cancer, but then developed a blood clot in his leg. He had prior issues with blood clots a little over a year ago and had only recently been taken off blood thinners. The clot has gotten smaller, so things are definitely looking up for him. Mom also did well with her surgical repair of a fissured tendon in her ankle. It's just a slow recovery process. She is basically out of commission for 4 to 6 weeks, then she starts physical therapy. Fortunately, I brought my Nook with me, so I could alternate books until I found something to suit my mood.


message 12: by Judy (new)

Judy | 4 comments I am almost done with this book and have really enjoyed it if you can enjoy something that documents a true horror. I agree that it is not hospital reading. My daughter had a double mastectomy due to breast cancer 3 weeks ago and I read a good mystery while sitting at the hospital. I've read this one since it became clear that she would do well.


message 13: by LynnB (last edited Aug 24, 2011 08:21AM) (new)

LynnB Dee wrote: "I absolutely loved this book! I thought it was well written and left me with so many thought provoking questions. It was also very informative of the climate of the time, and the politics. I foun..."

I really liked it, too. I gave it 4 stars. There was so much that I didn't know about Hitler's rise to power. It has always amazed me that governments didn't jump in earlier to stop him, but I understand now (unhappily) how it happened.


message 14: by Nancy (new)

Nancy | 348 comments As I was reading this book, in the back of my mind I kept thinking about how when you are watching a suspenseful TV show or movie and the hero is about to open a door or go into a dark house where the viewer knows the villain is hiding and you want to scream "don't go in!". Well, I wanted to yell back through time, "don't trust him! He's a monster the likes of which you can't even begin to imagine" I think that is what will stay with me the most. Hindsight is easy but so many people were willing to ignore so much evil until it was too late. That such unimaginable evil could even exist,I find chilling.

I have also read The Devil in the White City Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair that Changed America by Erik Larson and I really like the way the author takes a small snippet of history and illuminates it by focusing mainly on one person who was front and center at the time. It makes what could be dry into something very readable.


message 15: by Cathy (new)

Cathy | 468 comments I also agree with many of Nancy's thoughts. Larson allowed the reader of this book a rendering of a portion of history where a mad man was able to rise to great power and position. It was interesting that this was the emphasis of this book as developed through the experiences of the Dodd family. A readable, but dark unveiling of the naivete of the German people who embraced Hitler. I have enjoyed many fictional books involving this period of history, but found this non-fictional work interesting, disturbing, and a satisfactory read. Four stars.


message 16: by Lisa (new)

Lisa (lbhick) | 986 comments It's chilling to read about how Hitler came to power and the warning signs of his depravity were ignored or politely explained away. Ambassador Dodd appeared to be a sensible, conservative, patriotic man. His lack of training in the diplomatic field, in my opinion, made him focus more on the issues at hand rather than on the game of wining and dining. Unfortunately, his warnings went unheeded.

It was interesting to read about the fast and loose morals of Dodd's daughter Martha set against the grim backdrop of Hitler's Germany. She seemed to be a young woman play-acting at being an alluring woman of substance. I think her story or stories helped to illustrate how easy it was for many people to see only the small picture. So many of us are guilty of seeing only what is in front of us and how it affects us, we can't grasp the larger picture.

I gave this 3 stars.


message 17: by Nancy (new)

Nancy | 348 comments I read Cathy's copy of this book and since she doesn't want it I'd be glad to pass it on to another member who hasn't had the chance to read it yet. Let me know


message 18: by Linda (new)

Linda | 865 comments I'm about 70 pages into this book and have found it captivating since the first page. This is the third Larson book that I have read and really like his style and nuance.


message 19: by Barb (new)

Barb | 75 comments I just got this from the library so I am starting it over the weekend, just need to finish The Lotus Eaters. Based on all of your comments, I am looking forward to reading it!


message 20: by Teresa (new)

Teresa I gave to my Dad for Father's Day shortly after it's publication and my parents loaned it to me after they finished it. It is a true account of the ambassador & his family assigned to Berlin during Hitler's rise to power. We obviously know the outcome but to read about the city and some of the events preceding the second World War was a new viewpoint for me. I wondered why more people did not speak out against the blatant prejudices enforced by the Nazis and eventually the outright killing of innocent people. This author attempts to recreate some of the events and politics of this time through his extensive research surrounding the ambassador's family. Well done!


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Books mentioned in this topic

In the Garden of Beasts: Love, Terror, and an American Family in Hitler's Berlin (other topics)
The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair That Changed America (other topics)