Customer Review

Reviewed in the United States on February 19, 2018
I love the book, I question the hero. "My two main protagonists, .., encountered the flesh-and-blood reality, while also managing the routine obligations of daily life." William Dodd, chairman of the history department at the University of Chicago is appointed ambassador to Berlin. He had briefly studied in Leipzig, spoke German, held notions about German people and ideas - albeit all acquired before WWI. After some soul searching, Dodd, his wife Martha, and two children are off to Germany. Soon, the professor's ideas about being a representative of America in the midst of an economic crisis is at odds with what others in the diplomatic service do as a matter of routine - Dodd's car is decidedly middle-of-the-road, his desire to live economically is incompatible with the responsibilities of an ambassador, his distaste for pomp-and-circumstance puts him at odds with his staff. And to make matters worse, Dodd's daughter Martha is "living it up" - there apparently was never a male she did not like and she was not discriminate and her affections ranged from a French diplomat to an SS officer to a Russian spy and others in between. We follow her adventures in disbelief. How could she carry on her affairs in ambassador's library? Was Dodd so helpless that be became complicit in her conduct? How could he be so blind to "office politics"? Although the outcome is well known, Larson's telling held me captive and often in disbelief.
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