In the Garden of the Beasts: Love, Terror and an American Family in Hitler's Berlin

By Gole, Henry G. | Parameters, Winter 2011 | Go to article overview

In the Garden of the Beasts: Love, Terror and an American Family in Hitler's Berlin


Gole, Henry G., Parameters


In the Garden of the Beasts: Love, Terror and an American Family in Hitler's Berlin

by Erik Larson

New York: Crown, 2011

448 pages $26.00

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

Erik Larson, an experienced and highly successful writer, has done it again: In the Garden of the Beasts is near the top of The New York Times bestseller list. Briskly told in short chapters, it focuses on Ambassador William E. Dodd and his twenty-four-year-old daughter Martha in Berlin. Rich in detail reflecting extensive research, it begins with their arrival in July 1933 and ends on 30 June 1934, the Night of the Long Knives, when Hitler purged his party of insufficiently obedient elements by having Ernst Roehm and other old SA (Sturmabteilung, the brown-shirted Nazi paramilitary army) Kameraden murdered. While at it, he also eliminated other political enemies, among them two army generals. Appalled at the barbarism, Dodd never again spoke to Hitler and had as little contact with top Nazis as possible. He had earlier refused to attend the Party Days in Nuremberg that celebrated Hitler and the Nazis, an admirable stance. But how useful is an ambassador who refuses to speak to the government to which he is accredited?

The Dodd family--four members, but wife Mattie and adult son Bill are minor figures in the book--remained in Berlin for four and a half years. Larson explains: "It is their first year that is the subject of the story to follow, for it coincided with Hitler's ascent from chancellor to absolute tyrant." What was it like to dine, dance, and joke with Goebbels and Goering? Larson attempted to recreate what it was like to have witnessed that year firsthand, and he has succeeded.

Dodd was not the first choice of newly inaugurated President Franklin D. Roosevelt's to be Ambassador to Germany. In fact, Larson writes, "No one wanted the job." When approached by Roosevelt to take up the post, Dodd asked for time to think about it. He was reluctant to accept, dubious about his own effectiveness, and, at best, willing to give Hitler and his gang benefit of the doubt. These facts had to be considered: he was not rich; he had little political influence; he was associated with deceased President Woodrow Wilson's internationalism, anathema to isolationists; he was professor of history at the University of Chicago and designated as President of the American Historical Association; his priority was completing another volume of his Old South, a history, and was in his middle sixties; he was a devoted family man concerned with the futures of his adult children. On the other hand, he had access to the President, lunched privately with him, and directly exchanged letters; he had earned his Ph.D. with a dissertation on Jefferson at Leipzig University in 1900, knew Germany, and spoke the language; and the president held open the possibility of returning in a year. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

In the Garden of the Beasts: Love, Terror and an American Family in Hitler's Berlin
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.