While reading In the Garden of Beasts by Erik Larson, I aggravated some of the people around me because I couldn’t stop talking about it—relaying tidbits of history and fascinating factoids just as quickly as I was learning them myself. Honestly, I couldn’t shut up about it. There is no dry textbook academia in this account of the American Ambassador to Germany and his family living in Berlin during the early years of Adolph Hitler’s rise to power. I found it endlessly engrossing as the true-life characters leapt from the pages, and frequently shocking to see the ease with which people acquiesced to the increasingly militant and fanatical policies of the Nazi party. It was my belief that I was actually well acquainted with this period of history, but Larson’s exhaustively meticulous research proved how ignorant I had been, and his laser precision prose kept me fully engaged. An excellent and interesting illumination of a dark time in the world’s history.