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jgoody

Book Goodies

The act of writing always creates something of value. When I'm reading, it is the various manifestations of that inherent and powerful value that I'm looking to capture and share with my fellow book lovers.  

 

 

From humble days as a bookseller in Colorado, I now live in NYC and work for one of the big publishing houses. I'm always reading a huge variety of books, but you're bound to find more reviews on titles that might not be on every bookstore's shelf quite yet! 

 

And I must also say that it is immensely important to support independent bookstores. Definitely consider shopping with your local bookshop if you don't already!  

If you're looking for one then check out the great store I used to work at:

oldfirehousebooks.com

The Stubborn and Ignorant 1930s (but I kind of get it).

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

I am honestly surprised at how much I ended up enjoying this book.  Part of me suspects that it is because I secretly want to be a history buff and the other part of me is thinking that Erik Larson is just one hell of a writer.  This book gives us the story of William Dodd as the American Ambassador to Germany during the rise of the Third Reich (1930s).  It is a period that isn't focused on as heavily as World War II itself, but I found this book endlessly fascinating.  

 

One thing that struck me is how unwilling EVERYONE seemed to be about believing that Germany was preparing for war.  The government needlessly persecuted, upped weapons manufacturing, and suppressed the media.  These apparently didn't qualify as tell-tale signs of irresponsibility and hostility at the time, but I can kind of see why.  Most people probably wouldn't view Germany as a country that could put together a powerful and threatening force after how close World War II ended up being to World War I.  They were basically a country that owed everyone a ton of $ and on top of that they had lost their pride and dignity.  Despite all of that, though, there were certainly places in this history where SOMEONE couldn't ignore what was being done.  Oh wait, there were people that noticed, but there were ignored by the people with the power to do anything about it.   

 

Back to my thoughts on the story as a book, I felt that Mattie Dodd and Bill Jr. didn't get their deserved time in this book.  It is quite possible that they just didn't do anything during their time in Berlin, and all of the noteworthy activity was left up to Dodd senior and the frugal, party-going Martha, but I would have still been interested in getting to know more about that part of the Dodd family.

 

My other small criticism is that I would have liked to see a little more of Dodd's time as an ambassador.  The book focuses heavily on the beginning of his services and then sums up several years in the last dozen pages.

 

I would recommend this book and I'm heading straight to another Larson title now that I'm done with this one.