Eric Larson is back with a novel that flagrantly coincides with the harsh reality of the Hitler run Germany. In the Garden of Beasts is a book on the very first ambassador of America to Germany. The story is set at the time as Hitler was gaining control over Germany, and the gradual unveiling of his wicked intentions. The life of the American family that moved to Germany, and that finds itself in the middle of the onslaught of the Nazi regime. William Dodd leaves for Germany with his wife and children. His daughter, Martha is swept away by the glitter of the various events of Berlin and the plush, indulging in numerous affairs one after another.
Martha has a series of flings that has her involved with men who have a powerful influence in the Third Reich. As the agenda of Hitler regarding Jews starts taking form, the horrific reality of the evil unfolds in front of the eyes of the Dodd family. William Dodd sends innumerable messages to his country, but they only fell in the deaf ears of the officials back home. As the Jews are brutalized by the inhumane Nazis, and as the laws are manipulated depicting subterfuge, William Dodd watches with his eyes open and witnesses the gory ensemble of factual depiction of reality. The impending doom of the second World War, and how it takes form is brilliantly portrayed with the lives of the members of the Dodd family in the foreground.
The author chooses one of the most testing times that history has ever put humanity through. A symbol of chaos and repression, the dreaded times in Germany is witnessed through the eyes of an American family. The development of characters that gradually come to form are pivotal to the effect that the story creates in the minds of people. The different characters that are molded in the frame of unique personalities that color the book with various shades of human behavior. The helplessness of a wise man to bring the truth into its realization in the eyes of his seniors is brilliantly depicted by the William Dodd, a person with sound and diligent disposition. His daughter's role is brilliantly designed, as she moves about her life in different circles of the high society, having affairs, with few of them carrying out major operations for Hitler.
The portrayal of the evil of the Nazis is gruesomely true, and creates a spellbinding effect for the readers to feel the tremors in the hearts of the Jews who were subjected to mindless violence and atrocities in varied forms. In the Garden of Beasts is an honest narration of the ills of the world that we live in, sketched with the help of characters that are linked with cause and effect of the various decadence of the operations of the Nazi front, providing an alternating external and internal view of reality behind the events that unfold, and has the whole world involved in it.