“Larson is a marvelous writer...superb at creating characters with a few short strokes.”—New York Times Book Review
Erik Larson has been widely acclaimed as a master of narrative non-fiction, and in his new book, the bestselling author of Devil in the White City turns his hand to a remarkable story set during Hitler’s rise to power.
The time is 1933, the place, Berlin, when William E. 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 with their infectious enthusiasm for restoring Germany to a position of world prominence. Enamored of the “New Germany,” she has one affair after another, including with the suprisingly honorable 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 reveals Hitler’s true character and ruthless ambition.
Suffused with the tense atmosphere of the period, and with unforgettable portraits of the bizarre Göring and the expectedly charming--yet wholly sinister--Goebbels, In the Garden of Beasts lends a stunning, eyewitness perspective on events as they unfold in real time, revealing an era of surprising nuance and complexity. The result is a dazzling, addictively readable work that speaks volumes about why the world did not recognize the grave threat posed by Hitler until Berlin, and Europe, were awash in blood and terror.
American born author, Erik Larson, grew up on Long Island and developed an interest in journalistic writing after seeing the movie "All the President's Men". He earned a degree in Russian history from the University of Pennsylvania, graduating summa cum laudee, then a post graduate degree in journalism from Columbia University in 1978.
Larson has written eight books, with six of them having been included on the New York Times Bestseller list. The latest books are: The Splendid and the Vile: A Saga of Churchill, Family and Defiance During the Blitz; Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania; The Devil in the White City (which is being adapted for a mini series produced by Martin Scorsese and Leonardo DiCaprio for hulu); In the Garden of Beasts (Optioned by Tom Hanks); and Isaac's Storm.
Larson lives in Manhattan with his wife, a neonatologist, who has written a book of her own titled, Almost Home. Her husband says it could "make a stone cry". They have three daughters in various professions and live in different locations. They also have the ashes of their beloved dog Molly on a shelf overlooking Central Park.