“In the Garden of Beasts” by Erik Larson

He’s the same guy who wrote Devil in the White City. I guess he likes juxtapositions in his titles.

It’s about the American Ambassador to Berlin, William E. Dodd, and what he and his family experienced in Germany from 1933-1937 when Adolph Hitler and the Nazis were consolidating power, rebuilding the army and ratcheting-up their persecution campaign. We see the changes in German society, from the freewheeling Weimar Republic days and the change in these Americans’ views of the Nazis.

Ambassador Dodd was a self-made man who grew up poor and rose to a professorship at the University of Chicago. He had spent part of his education in Leipzig, spoke fluent German and was enamored of the German people. Read more