“Set in Germany during the rise of Hitler, In the Garden of Beasts is the true story of the US Ambassador to Germany during this time. William E. Dodd took the position of ambassador because he thought it would be the perfect opportunity for him to finish his novel about his beloved South. As we follow the story of Dodd and his family in 1933 Germany, we get the perspective of a country on the brink of change through the eyes of a well off American family.
This book would work well within a non-fiction historical unit. Students can study how the author incorporates historical fact into a narrative. In a history class, students can study and analyzed the role of America in Germany during the rise of Hitler and the Nazi party. It would also work well within an American History Unit during the 1930s, exploring WW II, American Literature and The Great Depression. Other concepts that could be addressed could include: fascism and the role of Japan, Germany and Italy in WWII.