46. In the Garden of Beasts, by Erik Larson (2011) This is an extremely absorbing book about William Dodd, an academic who became, almost by default, the US Ambassador to Germany just as Hitler came to power. Dodd and his family start from a position of trusting naivete about the new Nazi government and its agencies, such as the Storm Troopers. Gradually their eyes are opened and their view of Hitler's regime moves from naivete to distrust to revulsion after the Night of the Long Knives. Dodd's daughter Martha is another key focus of the book. A promiscuous socialite, she formed several alliances with dangerous men such as the head of the Gestapo and a KGB agent, dismaying the Embassy staff working for her father. Meanwhile Dodd makes a range of enemies in the State Department, and finds it impossible to get across just how serious the situation with Hitler is. The Dodds lived near a major park called the Tiergarten, that is gardent of beasts. It lends the book its title, which also serves as a splendid metaphor for the Berlin of the early 30s.