In the Garden of Beasts by Erik Larson (Book Review)

In the Garden of Beasts: Love, Terror, and an American Family in Hitler's BerlinIn the Garden of Beasts: Love, Terror, and an American Family in Hitler’s Berlin by Erik Larson

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

“I walked across the snowy plain of the Tiergarten—a smashed statue here, a newly planted sapling there; the Brandenburger Tor, with its red flag flapping against the blue winter sky; and on the horizon, the great ribs of a gutted railway station, like the skeleton of a whale. In the morning light it was all as raw and frank as the voice of history which tells you not to fool yourself; this can happen to any city, to anyone, to you.” — Christopher Isherwood, Down There on a Visit

Bookshelves: history, wwii, nazi-hate, current-social-issues, investigative-journalism, jewish-history, germany, sleep-with-the-light-on, non-fiction

Either you already know how bad trump is or you don’t want to know, so I’ll skip the rant. I did, however, make my highlights in this ebook public, which I seldom do. Read what I’ve highlighted at the Goodreads link below, if you want to see the obvious similarities between Hitler and the Nazi regime and our present administration and Dur Trumpenfuhrer. And keep in mind this book was published well before our current presidential debacle.

In the Garden of Beasts tells of the U.S. Ambassador to Germany, William E. Dodd, with a lot of focus on his daughter Martha and her string of Nazi boyfriends, from his posting in 1933 until Hitler’s brutal consolidation of power with the Night of the Long Knives (Nacht der langen Messer, or Operation Hummingbird) in 1934.The book is not as gripping as either Isaac’s Storm or Dead Wake, and that is likely due to the angle from which it’s written. We see events through Dodd’s eyes, a man who seems woefully unqualified and shockingly ineffectual at whatever he might have been trying to accomplish. The action in the book felt quite passive to me, atrocities snowballing all around while everyone-not-a-Nazi is helpless and nobody listens to Cassandra. It’s easy to forget that Hitler may have been stopped before the horror was fully realized, had any other powers including the United States, Britain, or France taken a hard stance. And it’s easy to see how easily we can slide into a cesspool just like it if we’re not careful.

And what did it all come down to, at least for America? You got it–money. Germany owed a lot of money to rich and influential Americans, so God forbid we stand up to a fascist killer and his “Jewish problem,” because then Germany might get pissy and default on their American loans.

Fucking money. Fuck money. Fuck Hitler, fuck Nazis, and fuck trump and all his evil minions too.

Click here to see my review on Goodreads, with e-book text highlights.


Author: Deborah Lee

I like trees, dreaming, magic, books, paper, floating, dreaming, rhinos, rocks, stargazing, wine, dragonflies, trains, and silence to hear the world breathe.

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