The Decorah Public Library history book group will discuss Erik Larson’s “In the Garden of Beasts: Love, Terror, and an American Family in Hitler’s Berlin” Thursday, June 19, at 6:30 p.m. on the second floor of the library.
Books are available for checkout at the front desk.
The time is 1933, the place, Berlin, when William Dodd becomes America’s first ambassador to Hitler’s Germany in a year that proved to be a turning point in history.
A mild-mannered professor from Chicago, Dodd brings along his wife, son, and flamboyant daughter, Martha. At first, Martha is entranced by the parties and pomp, and the handsome young men of the Third Reich.
Enamored of the “New Germany,” Martha has one affair after another, including the first chief of the Gestapo, Rudolf Diels. But as evidence of Jewish persecution mounts, confirmed by chilling first-person testimony, her father telegraphs his concerns to a largely indifferent State Department back home.
Dodd watches with alarm as Jews are attacked, the press is censored and drafts of frightening new laws begin to circulate. As that first year unfolds and the shadows deepen, the Dodds experience days full of excitement, intrigue, romance- and ultimately horror, when a climactic spasm of violence and murder unmasks Hitler’s true character and ruthless ambition.
The history book group meets at 6:30 p.m. on the third or fourth Thursday of each month. Call 563-382-3717 for more information.