Book review

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

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

Following the move of an American ambassador and his family to Berlin in the 1930s, this book provides an insightful look at the diplomatic environment that allowed Hitler to consolidate power.

William Dodd, the reluctant U.S. Ambassador to Germany who really wants to retire to his farm and write a multi-volume history of the American South, is oblivious both of Hitler’s true motives and machinations as well as his own standing within the U.S. diplomatic core and Roosevelt administration.

Most of the action moves along a parallel thread and follows the exploits of Martha Dodd, the ambassador’s daughter, as she moves in and out of Nazi (and Russian) social circles, leaving a trail of lovers along the way.

An enjoyable read, even if it did not ultimately live up to the title.

★★★☆☆