In the Garden of Beasts
Book cover of In the Garden of Beasts
|Media type||Print (hardcover and paperback)|
|LC Class||E748.D6 L37 2011|
Larson recounts the career of the American Ambassador to Germany, William Dodd, particularly the years 1933 to 1937 when he and his family, including his daughter Martha, lived in Berlin. The Ambassador, who earned his Ph.D. in Leipzig 40 years earlier, was initially hopeful that Germany's new Nazi government would grow more moderate, including in its persecution of the Jews. Martha, separated from her husband and in the process of divorce, became caught up in the glamor and excitement of Berlin's social scene and had a series of liaisons, possibly sexual, including among them Gestapo head Rudolf Diels and Soviet attaché and secret agent Boris Vinogradov. She defended the regime to her skeptical friends. Within months of their arrival, the family became aware of the evils of Nazi rule. Dodd periodically protested against it. President Roosevelt was pleased with his performance while most State Department officials, suspicious of his lack of background in their area of expertise, as well as his inability to finance embassy activities from his own wealth, found him undiplomatic and idiosyncratic.
The title of the work is a loose translation of Tiergarten, a zoo and park in the center of Berlin.
The other historical figures who appear in Larson's account include:
- American officials
- German officials
- André François-Poncet, French ambassador to Germany
- Other Americans
- Other Germans
Awards and honors
A film adaptation of the book is planned under likely direction of Academy Award winner Michel Hazanavicius, with Tom Hanks as William Dodd and possibly with Natalie Portman as his daughter Martha.
- Janet Maslin (May 19, 2011). "Perched in Berlin With Hitler Rising". New York Times Book Review. Retrieved May 1, 2012.
- Erik Larson, In the Garden of Beasts: Love, Terror, and an American Family in Hitler's Berlin, Crown Publishers, ISBN 0307408841, 43, 66, 79-80
- Staff writer (April 29, 2012). "The Sojourn Wins Inaugural Chautauqua Prize". The Post-Journal. Retrieved May 1, 2012.
- "15 best nonfiction books of 2011: CSMonitor picks". Christian Science Monitor. Retrieved February 24, 2013.
- "Michel Hazanavicius To Direct 'In The Garden Of Beasts'?". Retrieved March 2, 2013.