Berlin, 1933. William E. Dodd, a mild-mannered academic from Chicago, has, to his own and everyone else's surprise, become America's first ambassador to Hitler's Germany in a year that proves to be a turning point in history. Dodd and his family, most notably his vivacious daughter, Martha, observe at first-hand the many changes - some subtle, some disturbing, and some horrifically violent - that signal Hitler's consolidation of power.
Dodd has little choice but to associate with key figures in the Nazi party, and his increasingly concerned cables make little impact on an indifferent U.S. State Department. Meanwhile, Martha is drawn to the Nazis and their vision of a "New Germany". She has a succession of affairs with senior party players, including first chief of the Gestapo, Rudolf Diels. But as the year darkens, Dodd and his daughter find their lives transformed, and any last illusions they might have about Hitler are shattered in the summer of 1934 by the violence of the "Night of the Long Knives" that established him as supreme dictator.
Suffused with the tense atmosphere of the times, and with brilliant portraits of Hitler, Goebbels, Goering, and Himmler, amongst others, Erik Larson's new book sheds unique light on events as they unfold. The result is an unforgettable, addictively readable work of narrative history.
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Fascinating, insightful and deeply sad in places.
A beautifully written, and powerful story.
- Amazon Customer