Jana Riess is a scholar, editor, writer, and book critic.
She was also (full disclosure here), my sophomore-year roommate at Wellesley. And is still a good friend!
I recently read Erik Larson's In the Garden of Beasts: Love, Terror and an American Family in Hitler's Berlin for researching my third novel (yet untitled, but set in Berlin during 1941). Dodd's tome is a magnificent look at William Dodd, the U.S. Ambassador to Berlin, and his family, living in Germany during the rise of the Third Reich — a vivid, chilling, and gripping read.
Jana gives a wonderful review on her blog, which is also worth checking out.