Military history

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

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

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 surprisingly 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.

The Man Behind the Curtain

Part I: Into the Wood

Chapter 1: Means of Escape

Chapter 2: That Vacancy in Berlin

Chapter 3: The Choice

Chapter 4: Dread

Chapter 5: First Night

Part II: House Hunting in the Third Reich

Chapter 6: Seduction

Chapter 7: Hidden Conflict

Chapter 8: Meeting Putzi

Chapter 9: Death Is Death

Chapter 10: Tiergartenstrasse 27a

Part III: Lucifer in the Garden

Chapter 11: Strange Beings

Chapter 12: Brutus

Chapter 13: My Dark Secret

Chapter 14: The Death of Boris

Chapter 15: The “Jewish Problem”

Chapter 16: A Secret Request

Chapter 17: Lucifer’s Run

Chapter 18: Warning from a Friend

Chapter 19: Matchmaker

Part IV: How the Skeleton Aches

Chapter 20: The Führer’s Kiss

Chapter 21: The Trouble with George

Chapter 22: The Witness Wore Jackboots

Chapter 23: Boris Dies Again

Chapter 24: Getting Out the Vote

Chapter 25: The Secret Boris

Chapter 26: The Little Press Ball

Chapter 27: O Tannenbaum

Part V: Disquiet

Chapter 28: January 1934

Chapter 29: Sniping

Chapter 30: Premonition

Chapter 31: Night Terrors

Chapter 32: Storm Warning

Chapter 33: “Memorandum of a Conversation with Hitler”

Chapter 34: Diels, Afraid

Chapter 35: Confronting the Club

Chapter 36: Saving Diels

Chapter 37: Watchers

Chapter 38: Humbugged

Part VI: Berlin at Dusk

Chapter 39: Dangerous Dining

Chapter 40: A Writer’s Retreat

Chapter 41: Trouble at the Neighbor’s

Chapter 42: Hermann’s Toys

Chapter 43: A Pygmy Speaks

Chapter 44: The Message in the Bathroom

Chapter 45: Mrs. Cerruti’s Distress

Chapter 46: Friday Night

Part VII: When Everything Changed

Chapter 47: “Shoot, Shoot!”

Chapter 48: Guns in the Park

Chapter 49: The Dead

Chapter 50: Among the Living

Chapter 51: Sympathy’s End

Chapter 52: Only the Horses

Chapter 53: Juliet #2

Chapter 54: A Dream of Love

Chapter 55: As Darkness Fell

EPILOGUE: The Queer Bird in Exile

CODA: “Table Talk”