Todd Smalley'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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May 23, 2011

it was ok
bookshelves: non-fiction, audio
Read from May 23 to July 01, 2011

Meh. Fooled again. More convinced than ever that Larson is a one-hit wonder. This book is better than his Marconi book, with less strain trying to meld two storylines, and a truly interesting premise: the rise of Naziism in Germany, as seen by two American insiders, from different points of view. One is the American ambassador to Germany, a principled man, professor rather than politician, arguably out of his league. The other, his daughter, recently-divorced and enjoying all the attention she gets as a young, intelligent, charming, and pretty American woman in Berlin (not to mention the ambassador's daughter). Even her social life is fully infused with the unavoidable politics of the times, and makes for a natural way to add color and personal meaning to the ambassador's diplomatic story. He tells the story carefully, but perhaps too mechanically, and Larson manages to make it more boring than it needs to be
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