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In the Garden of Beasts: Love, Terror, and an American Family in Hitler's Berlin
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August 2018: Espionage > (+Listopia) In the Garden of Beasts / Erik Larson. 3.5 stars

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LibraryCin | 8318 comments 3.5 stars

This book follows the American Dodd family in Berlin in the 1930s, with the focus being 1933 and 1934. William Dodd, a history professor, was the US ambassador to Germany at the time, and his entire family, including his adult children in their 20s, moved to Berlin at this time, so they all experienced life in the German city during the rise of Hitler. The book primarily follows William and his 20-something year old (very promiscuous) daughter, Martha.

The setting is certainly an interesting time and place, but I didn’t like it as much as the other books I’ve read by Larson. I found the descriptions of what was going on in Germany interesting, but there was a lot of politics that I didn’t find as engaging. Overall, though, I still thought the book was good, just not as good as his others, at least for me.


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Good review. I've not read this book and only know the history of US Ambassador Dodd. He was an odd character who was at times anti-Semitic and at other times seem to sympathize with the plight of the Jews. Martha was a Soviet Spy.


LibraryCin | 8318 comments Rachel wrote: "Good review. I've not read this book and only know the history of US Ambassador Dodd. He was an odd character who was at times anti-Semitic and at other times seem to sympathize with the plight of ..."

Yes, he was odd. One of the other Americans (Messersmith) seemed to catch on very early on to what was going on and what may come. Dodd and M didn't get along. Dodd did come around to the dangers but never really did get along with M.


LibraryCin | 8318 comments Rachel wrote: "Martha was a Soviet Spy. ..."

I didn't even really "get" this from the book! I got that her boyfriend (one of them!) was, and little hints that she was doing something, but it was never clear to me exactly what she was all about.


LibraryCin | 8318 comments Oh, and I didn't know anything about the Dodds before this book at all. It was all new to me!


Jason Oliver | 2063 comments I read this and all the information was new to be, but the book has not stuck with me. I rated 3 stars which can means good but forgettable. I vaguely remember something about Martha being a spy but I think it portrayed her as being tricked or duped into spying. I could be wrong, like I said, I don't remember details about the book, just the over view. Not my favorite Larson work either.


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