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Southwest Book Club Meets September 17

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Join the Southwest Book Club this month to discuss In the Garden of Beasts by Erik Larson. Best-selling author Larson (The Devil in the White City) turns his considerable literary nonfiction skills to the experiences of U.S. ambassador to Germany William E. Dodd and his family in Berlin in the early years of Hitler's rule. Larson offers a mesmerizing portrait of the Nazi capital, the Third Reich and its leader.

Anyone age 18 or older is welcome to attend. The book club meets monthly at the Southwest Branch Library. For more information, please call 407.835.7323 or email southwest@ocls.info.

Tuesday, September 17
7:00 p.m.
Library Meeting Room

Discussion Questions
If you are unable to attend the meeting or you would like to join our discussion, you can share your thoughts or respond to the discussion questions below. Simply click "Comments" located at the bottom of this post. Join the discussion!

1. William Dodd went to Germany believing that Hitler would have a positive influence on Germany. Why were so many at first enamored of Nazism and willing "to give Hitler everything he wants"?

2. Why did Dodd's--and numerous others'--warnings about Hitler fall on indifferent ears in the US? What was the primary concern of the US in its relationship with Germany? Was the US stance one of purposeful ignorance...or of sheer disbelief?

3. How does Erik Larson portray Hitler in his book? Does he humanize him...or present him as a monster? How does he depict Goebbels and Goering...and other higher-ups in the Nazi party?

4. What do you think of William Dodd? What about him do you find admirable? Were you mildly amused or impressed by his sense of frugality?

5. What about Martha? What do you find in her character to admire...or not? Did she purposely allow herself to be blinded by Udet and Rudolf Diels...or was she truly dazzled by their charms? Her promiscuity could have made her a serious liability. Were you surprised that her parents seemed untroubled by her multiple love affairs, or that they didn't try to reign in her behavior?

6. What have learned about the period leading up the World War II that you hadn't known? What surprised you? What confirmed things you already knew?

7. How does the fact that you know the eventual outcome of Nazi Germany affect the way you experience the book? Does foreknowledge heighten...or lessen the story's suspense. Either way...why?

Discussion questions obtained from litlovers.com

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