In the Garden of Beasts

Reading Time: 2 minutes

by Erik Larsen

The year is 1933.  Newly elected President Franklin Roosevelt must fill the vacant post of Ambassador to Germany.  No one wants the job.  Germany has a newly appointed chancellor, Adolph Hitler, and rumors of state-condoned violence are spreading.

After four men have refused his offer, Roosevelt settles on a little known, unassuming college professor from Chicago, William Dodd.  Dodd is reluctant as well.  He is a historian with a passion for the Deep South, and, after all is sixty-four years old.  After much soul-searching, he and his wife and two grown children set sail for Berlin.

Thus begins the remarkable story of an insider’s view of the rise of the Third Reich.  In the Garden of Beasts is bestselling author Erik Larson’s sixth book. He is best known for Isaac’s Storm, the story of the devastating 1900 Galveston hurricane, and Devil in the White City, set in late nineteenth century Chicago.  Larson is a master of contrasts and juxtaposed story lines.  In his Chicago book, he wrote of the mag