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In The Garden Of Beasts by Erik Larson

Chilling

In The Garden Of Beasts by Erik Larson is a fascinating yet horrifying account of American ambassador to Berlin, William Dodd, after his appointment in summer of 1933.

 The book charts the rise of Hitler and the Nazi party. Hitler is described by Dodd’s daughter as “a clown who looked like Charlie Chaplin… could not imagine him lasting very long or being taken very seriously.” How very wrong she proved to be.

William Dodd thought Hitler, Goring and Himmler were all unsuitable for their posts. He disliked them all. Unfortunately a reign of terror was just beginning.

The atmosphere of fear grew over the years. It is ironic that people could be prosecuted for mistreatment of animals, even going to prison, but human life was not seen as so precious.

We see how Von Pappen believed Hitler could be controlled like a puppet and so handed Hitler power on a plate. As history shows, this spectacularly backfired.

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The Real Beatrix Potter by Nadia Cohen

The Peter Rabbit Lady

The Real Beatrix Potter by Nadia Cohen is a fascinating insight into one of the world’s best known and loved children’s author. Beatrix Potter was so much more than just a famous author. She was a woman ahead of her time, caring little for the fashionable drawing rooms of Kensington and preferring the rugged outdoors of her beloved Lake District.

Even as a child Beatrix Potter was curious about nature and animals. She loved drawing them and also experimenting. These were activities which she shared with her younger brother.

The famous Tale Of Peter Rabbit was at first refused by the publishers Warne and co but after the success of a self-published run, they published it in 1902 and sold 200,000 in just a few months. The rest as they say is history.

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The Five by Hallie Rubenhold

Bringing The Women To Life

The Five by Hallie Rubenhold is a comprehensive look at the five victims of Jack the Ripper during the ‘autumn of terror’ in 1888.

Hallie Rubenhold has brought the women to life as she has examined their lives from birth onwards and presented her findings. The women were so much more than just the Ripper’s victims. They were wives, mothers, daughters, sisters and friends.

We hear so much speculation about Jack the Ripper but we largely forget about his victims, lumping them together as women of the night, drunkards, living in poverty. And yes, while some of these labels may apply, we must remember that these victims were women first. Yes they did live in poverty but so did millions of others. Yes, drink was a problem in the nineteenth century and yes they may have turned to prostitution as a means to survive but that is no reason to kill them. These women were victims of circumstance, living in poverty, doing what they had to, to survive. They did not deserve to have their lives snuffed out.

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Holocaust: The Nazi’s Wartime Jewish Atrocities by Stephen Wynn

May We Never Forget

Holocaust: The Nazi’s Wartime Jewish Atrocities by Stephen Wynn is a comprehensive pocket book of the leading events, camps and figures in the worst crime against humanity. It is horrific reading but we need to know what happened in memory of the innocents who perished.

Stephen Wynn has clearly done significant research as there were figures I had heard of and those I hadn’t. Many of the perpetrators were captured, tried and executed but some were not. A leading figure, Dr Mengele escaped justice.

There were also leading Jewish figures mentioned including the most famous of all, Anne Frank.

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