In the garden of beasts : love, terror, and an American family in Hitler’s Berlin

From Eileen Effrat
author: Larson, Erik
In the garden of beasts : love, terror, and an American family in Hitler’s Berlin
It’s July 1933 and Hitler is now German Chancellor. William E.Dodd, the new U.S. Ambassador, arrives in Berlin with his wife, son, and flamboyant 25 year old daughter, Martha. Determined to give the “new regime” the benefit of the doubt, his political awakening begins slowly, as  U.S. citizens are attacked for  not returning the Nazi salute or being Jewish. He watches as political dissidents are arrested and murdered and Jews stripped of their civil liberties.  Larsen uses manuscripts, diaries,and letters to describe the day-to-day experiences of the family.  What I found disturbing were the naïve shenanigans of his daughter, who eventually becomes a spy for the Soviet NKVD. For a vivid portrayal of the daily life of Berliners in Nazi Germany from 1933-1937 and an insightful look at the political infighting of the Nazi leadership, this is an extremely readable narrative filled with revealing anecdotes and superb character sketches.