Who knew that we were in for an impromptu jewelry show? All the better way to spend our time (and money) while catching up on the month's news and chowing down on a veritable feast of Italian deliciousness: prosciutto with melon, and burrata with tomato and basil to pile on top of pizza dough foccacia. It was the perfect lead-in to our dinner of spaghetti carbonara and an arugula salad, followed by fresh fruit topped with a ricotta sauce for dessert. We definitely were more Mussolini than Hitler on the dinner front, but El Jefe would pick pasta over bratwurst any day. Lotta carbs.
Devil in the White City. Apparently, the 85 people (at a minimum!) whom Hitler ordered killed on the "Night of the Long Knives" did not constitute an impressive death toll, knowing that monster's capabilities. There definitely were several chapters (and chapter titles) that led the reader to think that a big reveal was waiting a just a few pages ahead, but no payoff was delivered: merely another correspondence between Dodd and someone in the state department back home about Germany's debt to American bankers, or a description of a lover's spat between Martha and one of her many paramours. The group generally also found both Dodds, father and daughter, to be unlikeable. William Dodd was an overly-stern complainer who didn't know how to have fun, while Martha seemed frivolous and immature. What's more, the book did not bring to light a particularly interesting relationship between William and Martha themselves. However, despite these shortcomings, the story was a window onto a fascinating time in history that many of us knew little or nothing about. Even the descriptions of the foreign service and how members of the diplomatic corps lived and worked--that is, they basically threw or attended lavish parties all week long--were eye-opening. But what really gave this book its intrigue and omnipresent tension is that we all know how things turned out. If only . . .
The Bad Guys
Joseph Goebbels, Minister of Propaganda of the Third Reich
Hermann Göring, Commander-in-Chief of the Luftwaffe
Putzi Hanfstaengl, Head of the Foreign Press Bureau in Berlin
Rudolf Diels, first Head of the Geheime Staatspolizei (Gestapo)
Our next meeting is at Ms. K's new house! And so far it's on our regularly scheduled date, October 5. The Doctor is bringing apps, and the Highlander dessert. Our book is The 19th Wife, by David Ebershoff. It's a long one (but an easy, enjoyable read), so until next time, read early and often! xoej