This is a bird-eye view of the rise of Hitler in Nazi Germany and his assumption of absolute power.This is seen through the eyes of America's Ambassador to Germany, William F. Dodd, who was a history professor from the Windy City. His appointment to that diplomatic post by Franklin Delano Roosevelt defied conventional wisdom, as Dodd was not a part of the old boys club that dominated the world of diplomacy at the time. He was not independently wealthy. He had not attended prep schools, nor an Ivy League College, nor was he worldly or sophisticated.
He went to Germany with his wife, his son, and his daughter, Martha, who was a bit of a wild thing for her time. While there, his feelings towards Germany began changing, as he saw the rise of anti-semitism and the persecution of the Jews. Though he tried to let the Roosevelt Administration know what was going on, his reports initially fell on deaf ears, as the State Department was an old boy network and Dodd was simply not one of them. There was also an underlying current of anti-semitism in the State Department.
It is interesting to see how Hitler asserted his dominance and manage to entrench himself, a quest for power that culminated in the Night of the Long Knives, a bloody showdown in which Hitler settled the score with his enemies, real and perceived, securing his own position as head of the Nazi regime. It is interesting to see how Hitler did this through the eyes of Dodd and his family, particularly his daughter, Martha, who had a number of liaisons with well-placed Nazis. This is simply a fascinating look at Germany at a time when it was becoming a force with which to be reckoned.
Being a history buff, I loved this book. I simply could not stop turning the pages. The author has organized his research into a cohesive, comprehensive book about a critical period in history. It transports the reader to another time and place. It is so beautifully written that it almost reads as if it were a work of fiction. It is simply a brilliant.