Customer Review

Reviewed in the United States on August 29, 2016
Larson does an excellent job transporting the reader back to the early days of the Third Reich, and the increasingly hostile and menacing climate which was developing for anyone not a member of the favored Aryan class, and of course, particularly the Jewish people who were subjected to ever more indignities. The book focuses on the idealistic new American ambassador and his family, who initially are determined to think the best of Hitler and Germany in general, certain that the Hitler and his various lieutenants are merely full of patriotic zeal and the desire to restore Germany as a healthy thriving country following the deprivations of WWI. Much time is spent on seeing the evolving situation through the eyes of the Ambassador's daughter as her understanding develops as a consequence of her various relationships and liaisons. This is for me, the book's primary flaw. Too much of the story is developed around the perspective of a relatively uneducated and unsophisticated dilettante who is mostly interested in her next date, and stubbornly persists in seeing the Nazis as well intentioned young men. This makes the book a more fun read in many ways, but it glosses over the underlying issues and events that lead to the rise of Hitler and the horror of Nazi Germany. It does, however, make it easier to understand how so many bought into the idea, that this was just a man tapping into nationalist, patriotic fervor, and not someone who would be allowed to develop into one of the most monstrous public figures in the history of mankind. I would recommend the book to anyone interested in Nazi Germany and the ominous and portentous early days of Hitler's rise. There are modern parallels to be drawn as well.
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