In the Garden of Beasts: Love, Terror, and an American Family in Hitler's Berlin

Erik Larson, read by Stephen Hoye. Random House Audio, unabridged, 11 CDs, 13 hours, $45 ISBN 978-0-307-91457-6
Larson (Devil in the White City) delivers another spellbinding and lively history in this exploration of Adolf Hitler's rise to power as seen by U.S. Ambassador to Germany William E. Dodd and his daughter, Martha. Larson contrasts Dodd's family life with the larger political and cultural shifts occurring in the years leading up to WWII. And he provides new insights into U.S. foreign policy via a close examination of Dodd's letters and writings. Stephen Hoye provides compelling narration and reads with a commanding voice that is deep but never intrusive. His narration is deliberate and forces listeners pay close attention to the author's prose. He also captures Martha's emotion and excitement as she falls in—and eventually out of—line with the Nazi Party and engages in several affairs. The narrator's tone and delivery match Larson's prose, never condemning Martha's actions, but simply presenting her view of the world. At times, Hoye's narration slows, but his emphasis, inflection, flawless pronunciation, and energy will keep listeners engaged until the very end. A Crown hardcover. (May)
Reviewed on: 07/25/2011
Release date: 05/01/2011
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