'Tells a fascinating story brilliantly well.'
'The whole book [is] written in such a riveting style that you sometimes wonder whether you are reading a historical account or a gripping novel.'
'Larson does a remarkable job bringing Berlin to life ... [he] succeeds in grand style in crafting an absorbing, richly detailed tale.'
'Gripping … a story of stunning impact.'
New York Daily News
'Larson has meticulously researched the Dodds’ intimate witness to Hitler’s ascendancy and created an edifying narrative of this historical byway that has all the pleasures of a political thriller: innocents abroad, the gathering storm … A fresh picture of these terrible events.'
New York Times Book Review
'A stunning work of history.'
'A fascinating tale.'
'Fascinating … Using letters and diaries, Larson — a master at writing true tales as riveting as fiction — creates a nuanced, eyewitness account of a father and daughter whose eyes thankfully opened as the horrors closed in.'
'With the benefit of hindsight the only surprise is that it took [the Dodds] so long to see the truth, but hindsight is the one thing that Erik Larson does not allow them or himself. He tells their story chronologically, without judgment, without comment almost, letting events unfold with their own hidden logic ... Larson’s is a compelling tale, and ... [makes] a brave effort to see history as it evolves and not as it becomes.'
'A brilliant and often infuriating account of the experiences and evolving attitudes of the Dodd family during Hitler’s critical first year in power. With the benefit of hindsight, of course, the Dodds seem almost criminally ignorant, but Larson treats them with a degree of compassion that elevates them to tragic status.'
starred Booklist review
“Excellent ... suspenseful, [has] the feel of a John le Carré novel.”
starred Kirkus review
'In this mesmerising portrait of the Nazi capital, Larson plumbs a far more diabolical urban cauldron than in his bestselling The Devil in the White City ... a vivid, atmospheric panorama of the Third Reich and its leaders, including murderous Nazi factional infighting, through the accretion of small crimes and petty thuggery.' starred review
starred Publishers Weekly review
'Larson's use of a broad range of source material, including the novels of Christopher Isherwood, has enabled him to brilliantly recreate the look and feel of Berlin before the war. His narrative is simply enthralling ... Larson's decision to view the times through the eyes of the Dodds is inspired.'
'Helpless fear pervades ... yet it is uplifting: faced with atrocity people become alive to the corrosiveness of extremism, and injustice inspires compassion.'
‘A dazzling amalgam of reportage, historical digging and narrative drive that casts an eerie new light on the long prelude to World War II ... Larson’s study reads like a suspense novel, replete with colorful characters, both familiar and those previously relegated to the shadows. Like Christopher Isherwood’s Berlin Stories or Victor Klemperer’s Diaries, In the Garden of Beasts is an on-the-ground documentary of a society going mad in slow motion.’
The Chicago Sun-Times
'Fabulous stuff ... Larson has the skills of a novelist. Through his deft dimensional portrayal of Dodd and his family, he paints a compelling picture of the confusion as Hitler brutalized his way to ultimate dictatorship.'
'By far his best and most enthralling work of novelistic history ... Mr. Larson’s powerful, poignant historical narrative [is] a transportingly true story.'
The New York Times
'[Larson is] an expert popular historian ... 'Beasts' is gripping, a nightmare narrative of a terrible time.'
The Seattle Times
'Reads like an elegant thriller … Utterly compelling … An excellent and entertaining book that deserves to be a bestseller.'
Philip Kerr, The Washington Post
'Compelling … the kind of book that brings history alive to readers and proves why Larson’s Isaac’s Storm and The Devil in the White City were such hits.'
'Reading In the Garden of Beasts… is like slipping slowly into a nightmare, with logic perverted and morality upended … It all makes for a powerful, unsettling immediacy.'
Bruce Handy, Vanity Fair