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Cleveland Park Library

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Review: In the Garden of Beasts by Eric Larson

Book Cover: In the Garden of Beasts by Erik LarsonIn the Garden of Beasts needs no recommendations. Most likely, if you have heard anything about it at all, it was positive. Erik Larson has a way of intertwining people and events that makes his books very absorbing and readable.

At first, I did not want to read about the evil regime of Hitler and his Gestapo, but this book was high on the holds list.  As soon as a copy was checked in, it was assigned to another patron.  Eventually I acquired a copy and could not put it down until I was finished.  The story is focused on the period that William E. Dodd, a history professor, was ambassador to Germany -- along with the escapades of his lovely and promiscuous daughter, and some key Gestapo officers.  

If you enjoyed The Devil in the White City, Thunderstruck, or any other book by Erik Larson, you know how he can relate real historical events in a way that keeps the reader more than involved in the outcomes.  I am not a history buff, but I find his books understandable. I highly recommend this book for its very detailed and intimate account of the beginnings of Hitler and his Gestapo and William E. Dodd’s time of service in Berlin, as well as how that came to be. 
-- Hanife Conry