Saira Mohamed Assistant Professor of Law

In the Garden of Beasts: Love, Terror, and an American Family in Hitler’s Berlin
by Erik Larsen

In the Garden of Beasts

In the Garden of Beasts tells the story of William E. Dodd, a history professor who was appointed the U.S. Ambassador to Germany in 1933, and Dodd’s 24-year-old daughter Martha, who accompanied her family to Berlin. Larsen traces the evolution of Dodd’s views on Hitler, from his initial assumption that Hitler wouldn’t be in power long, to Dodd’s recognition of the terror and violence unleashed by the Nazi regime. His warnings to the State Department, however, fell on deaf ears. This is a disturbing and captivating portrait not only of Berlin during Hitler’s first year in power, but also of U.S. foreign policy toward Nazi Germany. In the Garden of Beasts is written in clean, polished prose; it reads like a suspense novel, with an overwhelming tone of dread that is only heightened by our knowledge that the stories in it are fact, not fiction.