All the Frequent Troubles of Our Days: The True Story of the American Woman at the Heart of the German Resistance to Hitler

Rebecca Donner. Little, Brown, $32 (576p) ISBN 978-0-316-56169-3
Novelist Donner (Sunset Terrace) brings her heroic great-great-aunt Mildred Harnack (née Fish) to life in this stunning biography. Born in 1902 in Milwaukee, Mildred met her future husband, German native Arvid Harnack, while attending graduate school at the University of Wisconsin. The couple settled in Germany in 1929, where they viewed the rise of Adolf Hitler and his Nazi party with alarm. In 1933, they began holding secret meetings with a loose network of “like-minded people” and distributing anti-Nazi literature to workers and students. As Germany prepared for war, the couple and other members of “the Circle” took greater risks: Arvid funneled military secrets to the Soviets; Mildred used her job as a literary scout to meet with anti-fascists across Europe. In 1942, after Germany cracked the cipher code used by Soviet intelligence, revealing the names and addresses of group members, the Harnacks fled for Sweden but were captured, tortured, and tried for treason. Arvid was sentenced to death by hanging; Mildred’s six-year prison sentence was overruled by Hitler and she was executed by guillotine in February 1943. Donner’s research is impeccable, and her fluid prose and vivid character sketches keep the pages turning as the story moves toward its inevitable, tragic conclusion. This standout history isn’t to be missed. Illus. Agent: Jim Rutman, Sterling Lord Literistic. (Aug.)
Reviewed on : 04/28/2021
Release date: 08/03/2021
Genre: Nonfiction
Compact Disc - 978-1-5491-6678-5
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