Lou's Reviews > In the Garden of Beasts: Love, Terror, and an American Family in Hitler's Berlin

In the Garden of Beasts by Erik Larson
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bookshelves: historical-fiction, non-fiction

This story covers the Dodd family and their lives amongst the beast machine of Hitler's Nazi Germany. Rosevelt asked Dodd to become the American ambassador to Hitler's Germany. At that time Germany was in debt to America and owed loads of money and they looked like they were not going to pay so the need for the ambassador arose. Dodd and his wife agreed to the position and so they left for Berlin, he also invited his two grown children Martha and Bill. The lovely Martha appears in the story quite a bit as in the backdrop Hitlers rises to power and his evil spreads we follow her and her relationship with a communist Russian. Martha when she arrived in Berlin found she liked Germany and the people and commented them as being better than the Parisian, obviously this was before Hitler showed his face and colors of evil and his propaganda was widespread. Germany wanted this image wanted Americans to warm to them but as the garden was perceived to be nice the beasts were slowly going about their Arian work, as the stormtroopers developed unknown to the visitors eye a rage and a pot was brewing of turmoil and fascism. The rest is history the persecutions of Jews and all non Arian is well documented the author is trying to give us a pigeon hole on how it was for this family amongst the turmoil and documents the ambassadors interactions with Hitler's Germany. The ambassador was called eventually to Hitlers office and warned in person by Hitler that he was unhappy with Americas media view of him. The story became at times too fact based but is not an easy subject to write about he has successfully not made it solely just about the evil but also about the human struggles.

When i was searching the web for a photo of Dodd I came across interesting info.
” Evidence of continued efforts by powerful U.S. fascists to regain control of the White House is illustrated by a 1936 statement by William Dodd, the U.S. Ambassador to Germany. In a letter to Roosevelt, he stated:
“A clique of U.S. industrialists is hell-bent to bring a fascist state to supplant our democratic government and is working closely with the fascist regime in Germany and Italy. I have had plenty of opportunity in my post in Berlin to witness how close some of our American ruling families are to the Nazi regime…. A prominent executive of one of the largest corporations, told me point blank that he would be ready to take definite action to bring fascism into America if President Roosevelt continued his progressive policies. Certain American industrialists had a great deal to do with bringing fascist regimes into being in both Germany and Italy. They extended aid to help Fascism occupy the seat of power, and they are helping to keep it there. Propagandists for fascist groups try to dismiss the fascist scare. We should be aware of the symptoms. When industrialists ignore laws designed for social and economic progress they will seek recourse to a fascist state when the institutions of our government compel them to comply with the provisions.”

Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos
Martha Dodd

Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos
Photobucket
Visit webpage for Video interview with the author.
There is also to be a movie.
Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos
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Reading Progress

May 14, 2011 – Shelved
June 15, 2011 – Started Reading
June 15, 2011 –
page 100
22.32%
June 20, 2011 –
page 260
58.04%
June 21, 2011 –
page 450
100%
June 21, 2011 – Finished Reading
November 27, 2011 – Shelved as: non-fiction
November 27, 2011 – Shelved as: historical-fiction

Comments Showing 1-13 of 13 (13 new)

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Will Byrnes That was a very illuminating quote you found. Good stuff. Of course there were plenty of red-blooded Americans who would have been more than happy to see a fascist USA. See Father Coughlin. Sadly, I believe there are even more of them around today, although these days they claim to worship free markets and "freedom" instead of the corporate suzerainty they actually promote.


message 2: by Lou (new) - rated it 4 stars

Lou Suzerainty? Need to get the dictionary, I have many books on my shelf non-fiction have not found time to read due to my addictionto fictionbut those books talk alot a put gun running, diamonds, oil and capitalism and hidden agendas I Would rather practise escapism at the moment let the world dissolve just leave me my kindle and books, lol.


Will Byrnes One thing you can count on is that the world will be waiting for you when you get back, unless, of course, it follows in hot pursuit!


♥ Marlene♥ haha that last cat photo. LMAO


message 6: by Lou (new) - rated it 4 stars

Lou Lori wrote: "http://www.dlisted.com/2011/07/29/ope..."

Haha funny, cute cat.


Anne Enjoyed your review. Love the cat pic.
Strange how even today people are trying to communize the US. Don't people learn from History?


message 8: by Lou (new) - rated it 4 stars

Lou Anne wrote: "Enjoyed your review. Love the cat pic.
Strange how even today people are trying to communize the US. Don't people learn from History?"


Lol thanks nice kitty! Communise what's that lol.


Anne To make communist. Or fascist, or socialist. None have worked. Just look at Russia, Cuba, Venezuela, Nirth korea-disasters.


message 10: by Lou (new) - rated it 4 stars

Lou Anne wrote: "To make communist. Or fascist, or socialist. None have worked. Just look at Russia, Cuba, Venezuela, Nirth korea-disasters."

Ah yes true, thanks.


message 11: by Lawyer (new)

Lawyer Will wrote: "That was a very illuminating quote you found. Good stuff. Of course there were plenty of red-blooded Americans who would have been more than happy to see a fascist USA. See Father Coughlin. Sadly, ..."

Oh, can you say Joe Kennedy. Can you say Charles Lindbergh. And the list of industrialists could go on and on.

Been meaning to get to this one, Lou. Thoroughly enjoyed the review.

Mike


Sandy Very good quote indeed. In fact, about the only original piece in Ken Follett's 2nd installment of his new trilogy is this piece of information - that the conservatives of both America and England were quite closely aligned with the Nazis.


message 13: by Anne (new) - rated it 5 stars

Anne Mike wrote: "Will wrote: "That was a very illuminating quote you found. Good stuff. Of course there were plenty of red-blooded Americans who would have been more than happy to see a fascist USA. See Father Coug..."

You forgot Henry Ford. He thought highhly of Hitler.
Yet some of them wokr up quickly. Rudolf Diels, Goering's choice to run the Gestapo only lasted 1 1/2 years as he realized what was going on and it made him sick. Goering fired him and that was when the real baddies, Himmler and Heydrich came along.


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