Thursday, July 28, 2011

From my Book Shelf - IN THE GARDEN OF BEASTS

by Erik Larson
is a non-fiction that reads like a thriller.
One of the author's aim in writing the book was
to give a sense of what daily life was like
in Berlin just after Hitler's assumption of power.
In 1933, William Dodd, a history professor at
the University of Chicago,
was interested in a government position
which would give him time for writing.
President Roosevelt was having a difficult time filling
the position of ambassardor to Germany.
Others were hesitant to take the position because
Hitler was somewhat of an unknown entity,
the "Jewish question" in Germany was just rearing its head,
and most powers in the U.S. were more concerned with
Germany's debt than current politics.
So, although not Roosevelt's first choice,
Dodd became the unlikely statesman.
Viewing the job as a big adventure,
Dodd goes to Berlin with his wife and
two grown children in tow.
The book is Dodd and daughter, Martha's story.
Martha, an aspiring writer, but better
suited as a party girl, was soon caught up in 
Berlin's social scene.
Early on she is quite enamored with the Nazis.
However, as more and more laws are passed
restricting the freedoms of Jews,
the true stituation slowly becomes evident.

I have always questioned in my mind,
"How did normal German people let this happen?"
Although I wholeheartedly recommend this book,
it really didn't fullly answer the question for me.

Somewhat in the same vein, (except Paris rather than Berlin)
I want to mention SARA'S KEY by Tatiana de Rosnay.
I read this book a couple of years ago, but I just saw
a movie trailer for it this past weekend.
I didn't even know it was being made into a movie.
This is such an engrossing story that I still think about it.
It is NOT an easy, light or "beach read,"
but well worth the effort.

And finally, (my mind is really working in circles tonight),
if you're one of the two or three people who haven't yet
read THE HELP by Kathryn Stockett, (a first novel!!!)
It's a wonderful read, and
the movie is just about to come out for it too.


vicki said...

I just finished listening to In the Garden of Beasts as an audiobook - I thought it was fabulous. I am glad I made the choice to do the audiobook rather than read it - somany difficult names - so many characters - I think it would have been a difficult read. I LOVED the Help - can't wait to see the movie! Already love the soundtrack.

Have a great weekend~~


From the Kitchen said...

I do like Erik Larson--"Isaac's Storm" and "Devil in the White City". I may have to wait on this as I'm distancing myself from the subject for awhile. I am still trying to deal with "Sarah's Key". I will put it on my list of possibles. I didn't realize that "The Help" was being made into a movie. I grew up in the south but never knew any of those Junior League types as described in the book. My mother was in Junior League and I was also. I'm mystified by the portrayal of the J.Lers although I know a lot of what went on otherwise. The house that I grew up in had just such a "roughed in bathroom" on the screened in back porch. My sisters and I thought it was for us so we wouldn't track dirt in. Now I'm not so sure.


Feral Female said...

Oooo book reviews, I love `em! Thanks, I`ll check those tomes out.

Carmie of the Single Nester said...

Ah . . . books. Dontcha love them :) On Monday, I will be posting my favorite summer reads.

Tanna at The Brick Street Bungalow said...

Thanks for the reviews!! I've read The Help, but not the other two. Hope you have a wonderful weekend! blessings ~ tanna

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