Berlin, 1933. William E. Dodd, a mild-mannered academic from Chicago, has, to his own and everyone else's surprise, become America's first ambassador to Hitler's Germany in a year that proves to be a turning point in history. Dodd and his family, most notably his vivacious daughter, Martha, observe at first-hand the many changes - some subtle, some disturbing, and some horrifically violent - that signal Hitler's consolidation of power.
Dodd has little choice but to associate with key figures in the Nazi party, and his increasingly concerned cables make little impact on an indifferent U.S. State Department. Meanwhile, Martha is drawn to the Nazis and their vision of a "New Germany". She has a succession of affairs with senior party players, including first chief of the Gestapo, Rudolf Diels. But as the year darkens, Dodd and his daughter find their lives transformed, and any last illusions they might have about Hitler are shattered in the summer of 1934 by the violence of the "Night of the Long Knives" that established him as supreme dictator.
Suffused with the tense atmosphere of the times, and with brilliant portraits of Hitler, Goebbels, Goering, and Himmler, amongst others, Erik Larson's new book sheds unique light on events as they unfold. The result is an unforgettable, addictively readable work of narrative history.
©2012 Erik Larson (P)2012 Random House Audiobooks
I loved this book, it's a quiet one for sure but I loved it. The subjects are fairly ordinary people in an extraordinary time, Dodd is an understated, unassuming and in many ways unremarkable character thrust into a terrible time in history struggling to make an impact on what seems even at the time to be inevitable.
Before reading this book is never really had an appreciation of the complexities and absolute fear faced by members of Hitler's government such as Papen, Diels and Hanfstaengel. Larson does a good job of portraying the quiet horror that sits across the entire government and the seemingly bizarre lack of recognition of what's happening from those outside of Germany.
Say something about yourself!
Stephen Hoye has delivered a most authentic narration of what will become one of the finest books about the rise of a tyrant. It is up there with William Shire' s book about the rise of Hitler
Superb story of the dangerous world of love and terror in pre-war Nazi Berlin written by Erik Larsson the best creative non-fiction writer around!
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