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In the Garden of Beasts
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About the Author

ERIK LARSON is the author of the national bestsellers Thunderstruck, The Devil in the White City, and Isaac's Storm. ErikLarsonBooks.com

Reviews

Larson (Devil in the White City) delivers another spellbinding and lively history in this exploration of Adolf Hitler's rise to power as seen by U.S. Ambassador to Germany William E. Dodd and his daughter, Martha. Larson contrasts Dodd's family life with the larger political and cultural shifts occurring in the years leading up to WWII. And he provides new insights into U.S. foreign policy via a close examination of Dodd's letters and writings. Stephen Hoye provides compelling narration and reads with a commanding voice that is deep but never intrusive. His narration is deliberate and forces listeners pay close attention to the author's prose. He also captures Martha's emotion and excitement as she falls in-and eventually out of-line with the Nazi Party and engages in several affairs. The narrator's tone and delivery match Larson's prose, never condemning Martha's actions, but simply presenting her view of the world. At times, Hoye's narration slows, but his emphasis, inflection, flawless pronunciation, and energy will keep listeners engaged until the very end. A Crown hardcover. (May) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

Best-selling author Larson (The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair That Changed America) turns his considerable literary nonfiction skills to the experiences of U.S. ambassador to Germany William E. Dodd and his family in Berlin in the early years of Hitler's rule. Dodd had been teaching history at the University of Chicago when he was summoned by FDR to the German ambassadorship. Larson, using lots of archival as well as secondary-source research, focuses on Dodd's first year in Berlin and, using Dodd's diary, chillingly portrays the terror and oppression that slowly settled over Germany in 1933. Dodd quickly realized the Nazis' evil intentions; his daughter Martha, in her mid-20s, was initially smitten by the courteous SS soldiers surrounding her family, but over time she, too, became disenchanted with the brutality of the regime. Along the way Larson provides portraits based on primary-source impressions of Hermann Goring, Joseph Goebbels, Heinrich Himmler, and Hitler himself. He also traces the Dodds' lives after their time in Germany. VERDICT Larson captures the nuances of this terrible period. This is a grim read but a necessary one for the present generation. Those who wish to study Dodd further can read Robert Dallek's Democrat & Diplomat.-Ed Goedeken, Iowa State Univ. Lib., Ames (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER
NEW YORK TIMES NOTABLE BOOK OF THE YEAR
WASHINGTON POST NOTABLE BOOK OF THE YEAR
NPR BEST BOOK OF THE YEAR
O, THE OPRAH MAGAZINE BEST BOOK OF THE YEAR
USA TODAY 10 BOOKS WE LOVED
PUBLISHERS WEEKLY BEST NONFICTION BOOK OF THE YEAR
KIRKUS REVIEWS BEST NONFICTION BOOK OF THE YEAR
NEW YORK TIMES, JANET MASLIN'S TOP 10 BOOKS OF THE YEAR
SEATTLE TIMES BEST BOOK OF THE YEAR
THE WEEK BEST NONFICTION BOOK OF THE YEAR
GLOBE AND MAIL VERY BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR
AMERICAN BOOKSELLERS ASSOCIATION INDIE BOOK OF THE YEAR

"By far his best and most enthralling work of novelistic history....Powerful, poignant...a transportingly true story." --New York Times "Reads like an elegant thriller...utterly compelling... marvelous stuff. An excellent and entertaining book that deserves to be a bestseller, and probably will be."
--Washington Post

"The most important book of 2011." --O, The Oprah Magazine "A dazzling amalgam of reportage....Reads like a suspense novel, replete with colorful characters, both familiar and those previously relegated to the shadows. Like Christopher Isherwood's Berlin Stories or Victor Klemperer's Diaries, IN THE GARDEN OF BEASTS is an on-the-ground documentary of a society going mad in slow motion." --Chicago Sun-Times "Fascinating...A master at writing true tales as riveting as fiction." --People (3 1/2 stars) "Larson has meticulously researched the Dodds' intimate witness to Hitler's ascendancy and created an edifying narrative of this historical byway that has all the pleasures of a political thriller....a fresh picture of these terrrible events."
--New York Times Book Review "Larson, a master of historical nonfiction, has written a fascinating book that, although carefully researched and documented, reads like a political thriller...highly recommended to anyone interested in the rise of the Third Reich and America's role in that process." --Jewish Book World "Larson's strengths as a storyteller have never been stronger than they are here, and this story is far more important than either "The Devil in the White City" or "Thunderstruck." How the United States dithered as Hitler rose to power is a cautionary tale that bears repeating, and Larson has told it masterfully."
--Cleveland Plain Dealer "Larson has done it again, expertly weaving together a fresh new narrative from ominous days of the 20th century." --Associated Press "Mesmerizing...cinematic, improbable yet true." --Philadelphia Inquirer "Compelling...the kind of book that brings history alive." --USA TODAY "[G]ripping, a nightmare narrative of a terrible time. It raises again the question never fully answered about the Nazi era--what evil humans are capable of, and what means are necessary to cage the beast." --Seattle Times "A stunning work of history." --Newsweek "Tells a fascinating story brilliantly well." --Financial Times

"A cautionary tale not to be missed." --Washington Times

"Highly compelling...Larson brings Berlin roaring to life in all its glamour and horror...a welcome new chapter in the vast canon of World War II literature."
--Christian Science Monitor "Terrific storytelling." --Los Angeles Times "Vivid and immediate...a fascinating and gripping account." --Washington Independent Review of Books "Gripping...a story of stunning impact." --New York Daily News "Larson is superb at creating a you-are-there sense of time and place. In the Garden of Beasts is also a superb book...nothing less than masterful." --Toronto Globe and Mail "Harrowingly suspenseful." --Vogue.com

"Larson has taken a brilliant idea and turned it into a gripping book." --Women's Wear Daily

"A gripping, deeply-intimate narrative with a climax that reads like the best political thriller, where we are stunned with each turn of the page." --Louisville Courier Journal

"Electrifying reading...fascinating." --Minneapolis Star-Tribune "Larson's books are tightly focused and meticulously researched, but they also are rich in anecdote and detail from the homey mundane to the tragic, the absurd and the downright funny. His prose has an austere, compassionate lyricism. His narratives have novelistic pull...his psychological perception and empathic imagination lend flesh to the documents, music to the ballrooms. He gives a throbbing pulse to the foolish and the wise, the malignant and the kind." --The Oregonian

"A masterly work of salacious nonfiction that captures the decadent and deadly years of The Third Reich." --Men's Journal

"Even though we know how it will end -- the book's climax, the Night of the Long Knives, being just the beginning, this is a page-turner, full of flesh and blood people and monsters too, whose charms are particularly disturbing." --Portsmouth Herald

"Larson's latest chronicle of history has as much excitement as a thriller novel, and it's all the more thrilling because it's all true." --Asbury Park Press "Larson succeeds brilliantly...offers a fascinating window into the year when the world began its slow slide into war." --Maclean's "Larson's scholarship is impressive, but it's his pacing and knack for suspense that elevates the book from the matter-of-fact to the sublime." --Pittsburgh Tribune-Review "[A] brilliant tour de force of nonfiction writing...Larson, as always, conjures magic with the details, and often injects a welcome dollop of dark humor...In the Garden of Beasts serves as both a serious, insightful look at history, and a stern warning against national complacency when you're being run by a dictator who is both vicious and undeniably off his rocker." --Dallas Morning News

"Like slipping slowly into a nightmare, with logic perverted and morality upended....It all makes for a powerful, unsettling immediacy." --Vanity Fair "A master of nonfiction storytelling...Larson once again gathers an astounding amount of historical detail to re-create scene after vivid scene...a stunning, provocative immersion...a call to citizens in all nations to investigate the motives of power brokers and government officials, to stand our ground when we see others' moral compasses going awry." --Dallas/Fort Worth Star-Telegram "Excellent." --Salon.com "No other author...has the ability to actually live up to that old adage of making history come alive. What Larson is doing is creating a world that no longer exists on the page...[He] not only succeeds but is able to turn what one would expect to be tedium into page-turning brilliance." --Digital Americana "Narrative nonfiction at its finest, this story drops into 1933 Berlin as William E. Dodd becomes the first U.S. ambassador to Hitler's Germany--a tale of intrigue, romance, and foreboding." --Kansas City Star "One of the most popular history books this year...offers something for both serious students of the 1930s and for lovers of charming stories." --St. Louis Post-Dispatch

"Erik Larson tackles this outstanding period of history as fully and compellingly as he portrayed the events in his bestseller, The Devil in the White City. With each page, more horrors are revealed, making it impossible to put down. In the Garden of Beasts reads like the true thriller it is." --BookReporter.com

"In this mesmerizing portrait of the Nazi capital, Larson plumbs a far more diabolical urban cauldron than in his bestselling The Devil in the White City...a vivid, atmospheric panorama of the Third Reich and its leaders, including murderous Nazi factional infighting, through the accretion of small crimes and petty thuggery." --Publishers Weekly
(Starred Review) "An excellent study, taking a tiny instant of modern history and giving it specific weight, depth and meaning." --Kirkus Reviews (Starred Review) "A brilliant and often infuriating account of the experiences and evolving attitudes of the Dodd family during Hitler's critical first year in power. With the benefit of hindsight, of course, the Dodds seem almost criminally ignorant, but Larson treats them with a degree of compassion that elevates them to tragic status." --Booklist (Starred Review) "Larson writes history like a novelist...conveying quite wonderfully the electrically charged atmosphere of a whole society turning towards the stormy dark." --The Telegraph

Praise for Erik Larson THUNDERSTRUCK
"A ripping yarn of murder and invention." --Los Angeles Times

"Larson's gift for rendering an historical era with vibrant tactility and filling it with surprising personalities makes Thunderstruck an irresistible tale." --The Washington Post Book World "Gripping....An edge-of-the-seat read." --People

DEVIL IN THE WHITE CITY
"[Larson] relentlessly fuses history and entertainment to give this nonfiction book the dramatic effect of a novel....a dynamic, enveloping book."
--The New York Times "A hugely engrossing chronicle of events public and private. Exceedingly well-documented, exhaustive without being excessive, and utterly fascinating."
--Chicago Tribune

"An irresistible page-turner that reads like the most compelling, sleep-defying fiction." --Time Out New York

ISAAC'S STORM
"A gripping account...fascinating to its core, and all the more compelling for being true." --New York Times Book Review

"Superb...Larson has made the Great Hurricane live again." --The Wall Street Journal

"Gripping....The Jaws of hurricane yarns." --Newsday

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