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Being a modeller for quite a few years now, I decided to explore the endless possibilities that the world (through internet) offers, and come up with a series of ways of building, modelling and painting fast (but not hastily), to create the worlds I was seeing in history books since I was little. . .If you care to join me. . . This is the place to be! And, I promise you to find the way (or ways)!!

Thursday, 12 January 2012

Thanos Book Review #1: In the Garden Of Beasts

Good day everyone.
Now that we got into 2012 for good, and with every new year most of us are trying to follow the infamous ''year's resolutions'', I decided that I should start something new in my life as well, like communicating more with people I consider interesting, and share my thoughts, likes and dislikes with them. 

As you' ve probably understood already, I mean you guys, that helped me realize the power of communication, beyond human (scattered with land mines) borders! 

And what best way to start communicating more with you, by sharing my thoughts about a thing I adore: Books!! Last year I managed to read 39 books (it was one of my 2011 resolutions - one book per week - and yes I keep a record - O.C.D is on its way... ), of various types: fiction, non fiction, biographies etc...

Through this blog, I will share my thoughts for books related to our hobby in a way (mostly historical books, or fictional  that are ''into'' historical periods).
I think that they can help us get a broader picture of human history, with their diverse aspects and stories - so as to understand in a way...about our nature.

After this infinite prologue, I think I should start talking to you about the book I finished a few days ago, and I am sure that most of you have heard of it.

The book is written from Eric Larson and is called:

The story of this book, written by Eric Larson (a journalist, historian and author) who has visited Berlin, unfolds the journals of William Dodd, an American historian who served as the United States Ambassador to Germany from 1933 to 1937, during the Nazi era, and the story of his daughter Martha.

In these journal the Ambassador recorded the events day by day the critical first year, from July 1933 (when Hitler was appointed chancellor) until August 1934. Where all seemed very ''normal'' in a first glance, many dark things were happening ''behind the curtains''. That was one of the most impressive things during the first years of the Nazi era. 
For visitors it was easy to travel to Berlin, stay in a nice hotel, make sightseeing walks and go with the feeling that everything was going  by the clock. There was no evidence of violence and signs that Hitler was preparing for war, and Jews were isolated from society.

Through the memoirs of Martha, his daughter, which they did not give the feel of this growing darkness, Larson succeeds in showing the characters of the various senior Nazi officials met with the Dodds, in the parties and banquets which attended.

Appointed by F. D. Roosevelt himself, Dodd was expected to serve as a model of liberal American values​​, and Dodd fulfilled that role in the end. After his return / succession by H.R Wilson, he started the whole campaign in the U.S. against Hitler at a time when the American public did not want even to think of the prospect of engaging in war.  

With this book, Larson achieves mixed results (as the Seattle Times conclude): As a suspense narrative, "In the Garden of Beasts" achieves mixed results: It's hard to warm up to the well-meaning but outmanned Dodd and his feckless, flirtatious daughter. But as a work of popular history, "In the Garden of Beasts" is gripping, a nightmare narrative of a terrible time. It raises again the question never fully answered about the Nazi era — what evil humans are capable of, and what means are necessary to cage the beast.

In my opinion, it was a book that travelled me back in some gloomy times of human history... and I would recommend it without hesitation (regardless of your origin). After all, we can become better if we learn from our mistakes...

( * * * * / in 5 )



  1. As above, sounds like a good read!!

  2. High praise indeed, certainly one I will look out for.

  3. Larson's writing is, as always, spare and clean, but very expressive. We get to know Dodd, a humble and frugal man, whose life's work is a multi-volume ode to the American South called "The Rise and Fall of the Old South"--he is a Shelby Foote of sorts, a tad eccentric, he is very much an American in a luxurious and opulent world, refusing to expend money to entertain the Nazi's he must deal with on a daily basis. Dodd's daughter, Martha, becomes the glamorous vehicle Larson uses to get us from point A to B--at first, dazzled by this "New Germany" and the men who have created it, she gradually is transported into a realm of disbelief and disillusionment, and finally, terror. Martha is an educated, successful, and somewhat liberated young woman, already going through the process of divorcing her first husband when they arrive in Berlin and ready for fun and adventure. She is about 24 years old when she arrives in Berlin, and a free thinking, spirited young woman who is open for affairs of the heart and passionate about her beliefs.