Sunday, May 29, 2011

In the Garden of Beasts

Beacon. Among the least desirable jobs in the world in 1933 was that of American ambassador to Germany as Hitler came to power. Erik Larson tells the story of the man who took that job in his new book, In the Garden of Beasts. University of Chicago history professor William Dodd accepted Franklin Roosevelt’s offer of the ambassadorship in the hope that he would be able to complete the book he was writing about the American South. Not a wealthy man, his frugality grated on the members of the foreign service elite club. Dodd’s independence and outspokenness made him shine as a beacon of American values in the midst of the evil growing in Germany. Dodd’s daughter, Martha, features prominently in this book, and her vivacity enlivens the book immensely. Fans of history, Larson, and those readers who like history to come alive will all enjoy this finely written, animated and gripping story.

Rating: Four-star (Highly Recommended)
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