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When University of Chicago professor William Dodd took up the post of U.S. Ambassador to Germany in 1933, he hoped for an easy post that would offer him spare time to write a book.
At the time, few in the United States or Europe considered then-Chancellor Adolf Hitler a serious threat. But over the subsequent four years, the Dodd family grew uneasy as they watched Hitler consolidate his power and impose increasingly severe restrictions on Germany's Jewish population.
In his book, In the Garden of Beasts: Love, Terror, and an American Family in Hitler's Berlin, Erik Larson chronicles Dodd's years in Germany, his daughter's flamboyant lifestyle, his clashes with Nazi Party officials and the State Department, and his eventual resignation over the failure of officials back home to respond to the alarm.