I have to reason for wanting to read In the Garden of Beasts: Love, Terror, and an American Family in Hitler’s Berlin by Erik Larson. I am a fan of Larson’s writing (like The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair that Changed America and to a lesser extent, Thunderstruck.)
I also love books that cover well-known stories from a different angle. Like my recent read: The Children of Willesden Lane: Beyond the Kindertransport: A Memoir of Music, Love, and Survival by Mona Golabek & Lee Cohen This different angle seems to make a quite old story into something new and interesting.
Okay, back to this book. I have to say that it came up short on both counts. It wasn’t nearly as good as The Devil in the White City mainly because Larson chose much less interesting people to chronicle. We are talking about a United States Ambassador to Germany prior to and during the rise of the Nazi Party. Yeah, it had potential be full of drama, intrigue and even some good old fashioned spy stuff… the problem was that William Dodd was just not that interesting.
Yes, there were interesting tidbits – it just seemed very few and far between.
by Chris Doelle