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In the Garden of Beasts by Erik Larson - Reading Group Guide

In the Garden of Beasts by Erik Larson - Reading Group Guide

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Erik Larson has been widely acclaimed as a master of narrative non-fiction, and in his new book, the bestselling author of Devil in the White City turns his hand to a remarkable story set during Hitler’s rise to power.

The time is 1933, the place, Berlin, when William E. Dodd becomes America’s first ambassador to Hitler’s Germany in a year that proved to be a turning point in history.

A mild-mannered professor from Chicago, Dodd brings along his wife, son, and flamboyant daughter, Martha. At first Martha is entranced by the parties and pomp, and the handsome young men of the Third Reich with their infectious enthusiasm for restoring Germany to a position of world prominence. Enamored of the “New Germany,” she has one affair after another, including with the suprisingly honorable first chief of the Gestapo, Rudolf Diels. But as evidence of Jewish persecution mounts, confirmed by chilling first-person testimony, her father telegraphs his concerns to a largely indifferent State Department back home. Dodd watches with alarm as Jews are attacked, the press is censored, and drafts of frightening new laws begin to circulate. As that first year unfolds and the shadows deepen, the Dodds experience days full of excitement, intrigue, romance—and ultimately, horror, when a climactic spasm of violence and murder reveals Hitler’s true character and ruthless ambition.

Suffused with the tense atmosphere of the period, and with unforgettable portraits of the bizarre Göring and the expectedly charming--yet wholly sinister--Goebbels, In the Garden of Beasts lends a stunning, eyewitness perspective on events as they unfold in real time, revealing an era of surprising nuance and complexity. The result is a dazzling, addictively readable work that speaks volumes about why the world did not recognize the grave threat posed by Hitler until Berlin, and Europe, were awash in blood and terror.

To read more about In the Garden of Beasts or Erik Larson please visit Crown Publishing at www.crownpublishing.com
Erik Larson has been widely acclaimed as a master of narrative non-fiction, and in his new book, the bestselling author of Devil in the White City turns his hand to a remarkable story set during Hitler’s rise to power.

The time is 1933, the place, Berlin, when William E. Dodd becomes America’s first ambassador to Hitler’s Germany in a year that proved to be a turning point in history.

A mild-mannered professor from Chicago, Dodd brings along his wife, son, and flamboyant daughter, Martha. At first Martha is entranced by the parties and pomp, and the handsome young men of the Third Reich with their infectious enthusiasm for restoring Germany to a position of world prominence. Enamored of the “New Germany,” she has one affair after another, including with the suprisingly honorable first chief of the Gestapo, Rudolf Diels. But as evidence of Jewish persecution mounts, confirmed by chilling first-person testimony, her father telegraphs his concerns to a largely indifferent State Department back home. Dodd watches with alarm as Jews are attacked, the press is censored, and drafts of frightening new laws begin to circulate. As that first year unfolds and the shadows deepen, the Dodds experience days full of excitement, intrigue, romance—and ultimately, horror, when a climactic spasm of violence and murder reveals Hitler’s true character and ruthless ambition.

Suffused with the tense atmosphere of the period, and with unforgettable portraits of the bizarre Göring and the expectedly charming--yet wholly sinister--Goebbels, In the Garden of Beasts lends a stunning, eyewitness perspective on events as they unfold in real time, revealing an era of surprising nuance and complexity. The result is a dazzling, addictively readable work that speaks volumes about why the world did not recognize the grave threat posed by Hitler until Berlin, and Europe, were awash in blood and terror.

To read more about In the Garden of Beasts or Erik Larson please visit Crown Publishing at www.crownpublishing.com

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Published by: Crown Publishing Group on Apr 27, 2012
Copyright:Traditional Copyright: All rights reserved

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03/03/2014

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Coast-to-Coast Praise for 
In the Garden of Beasts: 
“By ar Larson’s best and most enthralling worko novelistic history. . . . Powerul, poignant . . .a transportingly true story.”— 
 New York Times 
“Tells a ascinating story brilliantly well.” — 
 Financial Times 
“Terric.”— 
 Los Angeles Times 
“A stunning work o history.”— 
 Newsweek 
“Larson has meticulously researched the Dodds’intimate witness to Hitler’s ascendancy and cre-ated an ediying narrative . . . that has all thepleasures o a political thriller.”— 
 New York Times  Book Review 
“Harrowingly suspenseul.”—Vogue.com“Even though we know how it will end . . . thisis a page-turner, ull o fesh and blood peopleand monsters too, whose charms are particularly disturbing.”— 
 Portsmouth Herald 
“Larson’s strengths as a storyteller have neverbeen stronger than they are here. . . . How theUnited States dithered as Hitler rose to power isa cautionary tale that bears repeating, and Larsonhas told it masterully.”— 
Cleveland Plain Dealer 
“Reads like an elegant thriller . . . utterly compelling. An excellent and entertaining book.” —W 
ashington Po
st“A master at writing true tales as riveting asction.”— 
 People 
 “Like slipping slowly into a nightmare, with logicperverted and morality upended . . . It all makesor a powerul, unsettling immediacy.” — 
Vanity Fair 
“Dazzling . . . Reads like a suspense novel, re-plete with colorul characters, both amiliar andthose previously relegated to the shadows. LikeChristopher Isherwood’s
 Berlin Stories 
or Victor
 Klemperer’s Diaries 
,
 In the Garden of Beasts 
is anon-the-ground documentary o a society goingmad in slow motion.”— 
Chicago Sun-Times 
“Gripping . . . a nightmare narrative o a terribletime. It raises again the question never ully an-swered about the Nazi era—what evil humans arecapable o, and what means are necessary to cagethe beast.”— 
The Seattle Times 
 a Guide for readinG GrouPs
#1 New York Times Bestseller
in tHe Garden of Beasts
Lv, t,   amic fmily i hil’ Bli 
by 
erik Larson
, bestselling Author o 
The Devil in the White City 
Broadway Books Trade Paperback 978-0-307-40885-3

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