American Eyewitnesses to the Nazi Rise to Power
. 978-1-43919-100-2. History
Nagorski (director of public policy, EastWest Inst.; The Greatest Battle: Stalin, Hitler, and the Desperate Struggle for Moscow That Changed the Course of World War II) provides an insightful account of the views of Americans, including diplomats, journalists, authors, and expatriates, who resided in post-World War I Germany and witnessed the birth of the Nazi political machine. Much as in Erik Larson's In the Garden of Beasts, Nagorski uses both published and unpublished material to provide detailed personal versions of this grim period of history. While Larson mainly focuses on American ambassador William E. Dodd and his family, Nagorski provides experiences and perceptions from a wide range of figures, such as diplomat George Kennan, novelist Sinclair Lewis, later CIA director Richard Helms, Anne Morrow Lindbergh, and future television anchorman Howard K. Smith. Nagorski effectively demonstrates how Americans present in Germany during the rise of Hitler and the Third Reich were deeply affected and how many in fact grasped the horrific global implications.
VERDICT A compelling work for World War II history buffs or anyone who wants to understand how such devastating evil emerged while the world seemingly watched. [See Prepub Alert, 9/22/11.]

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