Jeudevine Library and Jerry Schneider will lead a discussion of “In the Garden of the Beasts: Love, Terror, and an American Family in Hitler’s Berlin” by Erik Larson on Thursday, Sept. 17, at 5:30 p.m. at the Atkins Field Pavilion.

The first 12 people who sign-up and commit to attending the discussion will get a free copy of the book. Call the library now to reserve a copy at 472-5948.

Though this book is nonfiction, it is as engrossing as a novel. It follows a mild-mannered professor from Chicago, William Dodd, as he becomes ambassador to Nazi Germany. He brings along his wife, son and flamboyant daughter, Martha.

At first Martha is entranced by the parties and pomp, and the handsome young men of the Third Reich with their infectious enthusiasm for restoring Germany to a position of world prominence. Enamored of the New Germany, she has one affair after another, including with the surprisingly honorable first chief of the Gestapo, Rudolf Diels.

But as evidence of Jewish persecution mounts, confirmed by chilling first-person testimony, her father telegraphs his concerns to a largely indifferent State Department back home. As that first year unfolds and the shadows deepen, the Dodds experience days full of excitement, intrigue and romance — and ultimately horror when a climactic spasm of violence and murder reveals Hitler’s true character and ruthless ambition.

This is the last discussion in the Pushing the Limits Discussion Series. For more information call the library at 472-5948 or email

Please bring your own chair.

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