In the Garden of Beasts: Love, Terror, and an American Family in Hitler’s Berlin by Erik Larson

Deborah A. Lott
Literature Instructor, Bridge Program
Adjunct Faculty, BA

Wow, this book puts Hannah Arendt’s notion of the banality of evil in a whole other context for me. Evil inches into ordinary Germans’ lives as the Nazis ask a little more obedience, a little more irrationality, a little more ground of them every day until they’ve actually taken over the government. Amazing how something like the Heil Hitler salute being required at every encounter could create so much background noise of paranoia that people lost the ability to take action against the take over. The book also makes it clear how complicit the US was for a very long time, and how US anti-semitism contributed to our failure to act. This book is so well researched and meticulously documented. The kind of book no one seems to have the time or commitment to write anymore. Bravo.
“The capacity for evil can spread like an epidemic: The thoughtlessness of the controversy over Arendt’s book on Eichmann only reinforces her point about ‘the banality of evil’,” Elisabeth Young-Bruehl, The Guardian
Interview with Erik Larson, David B. Green, Haaretz
“Fascist Ecology: The ‘Green Wing’ of the Nazi Party and its Historical Antecedents,” Peter Staudenmaier, Ecofascism: Lessons from the German Experience

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