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 Dodd’s 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 Seattle Times – “Erik Larson Plumbs Terror in Nazi Germany” by Mary Ann Gwinn
- The Washington Post – “Book Review” by Philip Kerr
- Salon – “Witnessing Hitler’s Rise” by Laura Miller
On the Web:
- Erik Larson’s Website –http://eriklarsonbooks.com/
- The Christian Science Monitor – “Erik Larson Revisits the Dark Side: Interview” by Randy Dotinga
- United States Holocaust Memorial Museum – Includes archival footage of Martha Dodd having tea.
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