Reviews
The Accidental Ambassador

Professor William E. Dodd, FDR’s envoy to Germany from 1933 to 1937, got curiously lost in the postwar historical shuffle, despite his early warnings about rising evil in Hitler’s Berlin. His story is newly relevant, and three very different books, read together, explain why.

Appeared in: Volume 9, Number 3 | Published on: December 19, 2013
Michael Abramowitz directs the Center for the Prevention of Genocide at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.
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  • xbox361

    Garden of the Beast was another great Larson book.
    Can’t say I disagree with the 70% against US involvement in WWI.

  • Anthony

    Reading this review has not brought optimism in idea of shaking human indifference (or perhaps distraction from) towards crimes against humanity – “the task of preventing genocide seems much easier after the fact than in the moment one is confronted with the threat.” Perhaps, we can use William E. Dodd as an example to assiduously work against myopia, indifference, impassivity, etc. when chaos, terror, destruction, and death seem so far away from our immediate lives.

    • Corlyss

      Good luck with that. I think in most cases the natural resistance of the American public to “getting involved” in other peoples’ fights is a good one. Little good can come from precipitous meddling. If it takes us a while to find the larger issues and then act on them, I think it makes for better policy in the long run. What I want to see a return of is the targeted assassinations we used to use to great effect in the good ol’ days (between the end of WW2 and Viet-Nam). I have no qualms about that kind of executive action at all.

      • Anthony

        Remember, preventative leadership must not always mean military (assassinations) interventions – “financial sanctions, muscular diplomacy, threat of prosecution… and secret intelligence operations…are among many practical steps now available (for civilization and its discontents) to keep a crises from metastasizing.” Though in 21st century, we are grappling…

  • Corlyss

    Interesting analysis. I look forward to reading one or more of the books. That Erik Larson – he sure has a knack for finding fascinating subjects. I still listen to the audiobook of Isaac’s Storm and have the dvd of the docudrama based on it.

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