The Afghanistan Papers

The Afghanistan Papers


Name - The Afghanistan Papers

Reviews - 5.0/5

Pages - 368

By - Craig Whitlock, The Washington Post


 

About Book The Afghanistan Papers


The groundbreaking investigative story of how three successive presidents and their military commanders deceived {the public|the general public|people} year after year about America's longest war, foreshadowing the Taliban's recapture of Afghanistan, by Washington Post reporter and three-time Pulitzer Prize finalist Craig Whitlock.

Unlike the wars in Vietnam and Iraq, the US invasion of Afghanistan in 2001 had near-unanimous public support. {At first|In the beginning|Initially}, the goals were straightforward and clear: to defeat al-Qaeda and prevent a repeat of 9/11. Yet {soon after|right after|immediately after} the United States and its allies removed the Taliban from power, the mission veered off course and US officials lost sight {of their|of the|of these} original objectives.

Distracted by the war in Iraq, the US military became mired {in an|within an|in a} unwinnable guerrilla conflict in {a country|a nation} it {did not|didn't} understand. But no president {wanted to|desired to|wished to} admit failure, especially in {a war|a battle} that began as a just cause. Instead, the Bush, Obama, and Trump administrations sent more and more troops to Afghanistan and repeatedly said {they were|they certainly were|these were} making progress, {even though|although} they knew {there was|there clearly was|there is} no realistic prospect for {an outright|an overall} victory.

Just {as the|whilst the|because the|since the|while the} Pentagon Papers changed the public's {understanding of|knowledge of|comprehension of} Vietnam, The Afghanistan Papers contains startling revelation after revelation from {people who|individuals who|those who} played {a direct|an immediate|a primary} role in the war, from leaders in the White House and the Pentagon to soldiers and aid workers on {the front|the leading|leading} lines. In unvarnished language, they admit that the US government's strategies were {a mess|chaos|in pretty bad shape}, that the nation-building project was a colossal failure, and that drugs and corruption gained a stranglehold over their allies in the Afghan government. All told, the account {is based on|is dependant on|is founded on} interviews {with more|with increased|with an increase of} than 1,000 {people who|individuals who|those who} knew that the US government was presenting a distorted, and sometimes entirely fabricated, version of {the facts|the reality|the important points} on the ground.

Documents unearthed by The Washington Post {reveal that|demonstrate that} President Bush didn't know the name of his Afghanistan war commander—and didn't want {to make|to create|to produce} time {to meet|to generally meet|to meet up} with him. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld admitted {he had|he'd} “no visibility into who the {bad guys|criminals|crooks} are.” His successor, Robert Gates, said: “We didn't know jack shit about al-Qaeda.”

The Afghanistan Papers {is a|is just a|is really a} shocking account {that will|that'll|which will|that may} supercharge {a long|an extended|a lengthy} overdue reckoning over what went wrong and forever change {the way the|how a|what sort of} conflict is remembered.


 Editorial Reviews 


U.S. government and military officials took part in an “unspoken conspiracy to mask the truth” about the war in Afghanistan, according to this searing chronicle. Expanding on a series of articles published in the Washington Post, Whitlock explains how he learned, in 2016, about a government program to interview hundreds of participants in the war for a report on policy failures in Afghanistan called “Lessons Learned.” Drawing on these transcripts and other oral history projects, Whitlock paints a devastating portrait of how public messaging about the conflict consistently belied the reality on the ground. He details internal rivalries in the White House, the Pentagon, and the State Department, and the fatigue and pessimism of soldiers on the front lines. (“We were just going around killing people,” says one special forces officer.) A costly program to eradicate opium poppy fields in Helmand province backfired spectacularly, turning the region into a “lethal stronghold for the insurgency” and earning harsh criticism from veteran diplomat Richard Holbrooke and others. Whitlock also delves into the 2011 killing of Osama bin Laden, the Obama administration’s skewing of statistics to support its war strategy, evidence of Afghan government corruption, and the Trump administration’s complex peace plan with the Taliban. Rigorously detailed and relentlessly pessimistic, this is a heartbreaking look at how America’s leaders “chose to bury their mistakes and let the war drift.” (Sept.)

Publishers Weekly

"Fast-paced and vivid... chock-full of telling quotes"
The New York Times Book Review

“Craig Whitlock has forged a searing indictment of the deceit, blunders and hubris of senior military and civilian officials, with the same tragic echoes of the Vietnam conflict. The American dead, wounded and their families deserved wiser and more honorable leaders.”
Tom Bowman, NPR Pentagon correspondent

"The excellent new book... Bombshell revelations... [and] damning evidence of things we already intuited.”
The Washington Post

“At once page-turning and rigorous, The Afghanistan Papers makes a lasting and revelatory contribution to the record of America's tragic management of our longest war. In transparent and nuanced detail, Whitlock chronicles how American leaders and commanders undermined their country's promises to the Afghans who counted on them and to the U.S. troops who made the ultimate sacrifice after 9/11.”
Steve Coll, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Ghost Wars and Directorate S

“The Afghanistan Papers is a gripping account of why the war in Afghanistan lasted so long. The missed opportunities, the outright mistakes and more than anything the first-hand accounts from senior commanders who only years later acknowledged they simply did not tell the American people what they knew about how the war was going.”
Barbara Starr, CNN Pentagon correspondent

“A damning account of America’s longest war that reveals what top generals and government officials really knew about the cost and futility of the mission. Whitlock puts the pieces together in a way nobody has before, bringing us the most comprehensive, inside story of this conflict ever told.”
Rajiv Chandrasekaran, author of Little America: The War Within the War for Afghanistan

“The Afghanistan Papers is an autopsy of America’s folly into central Asia. It chronicles years of recklessness and bad decision-making that the nation is still grappling with today. This book is one part indictment of mission creep and American hubris, and one part warning to future leaders.”
Kevin Maurer, co-author of The New York Times bestsellers No Easy Day and American Radical



About the Author


Craig Whitlock is an investigative reporter for The Washington Post. He has covered the global war on terrorism for the Post since 2001 as a foreign correspondent, Pentagon reporter, and national security specialist. In 2019, his coverage of the war in Afghanistan won the George Polk Award for Military Reporting, the Scripps Howard Award for Investigative Reporting, the Investigative Reporters and Editors Freedom of Information Award, and the Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award for international reporting. He has reported from more than sixty countries and is a three-time finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. He lives in Silver Spring, Maryland.


The Washington Post has built an unparalleled reputation in its coverage of American politics and related topics. The paper’s circulation, prominence, and influence continue to grow.

The 1619 Project

The 1619 Project



Name - The 1619 Project

Reviews - 4.7/5

Pages - 624

By - Nikole Hannah-Jones (Editor), The New York Times Magazine (Editor)



 

About Book The 1619 Project


{A dramatic|A remarkable} expansion of a groundbreaking work of journalism, The 1619 Project: A New Origin Story {offers a|provides a|supplies a} profoundly revealing vision of the American past and present.

In late August 1619, a ship {arrived in|found its way to} the British colony of Virginia bearing a cargo of twenty to thirty enslaved {people from|folks from|individuals from} Africa. Their arrival {led to|resulted in|generated} the barbaric and unprecedented system of American chattel slavery {that would|that will|that could} {last for|work for} {the next|the following|another} 250 years. This {is sometimes|may also be|might be} {referred to as|known as|called} the country's original sin, but {it is|it's} {more than|significantly more than|a lot more than} that: {It is|It's} {the source|the origin|the foundation} of so much {that still|that also} defines the United States.

The New York Times Magazine's award-winning “1619 Project” issue reframed our {understanding of|knowledge of|comprehension of} American history by placing slavery and its continuing legacy at {the center of|the middle of|the biggest market of} our national narrative. This new book substantially expands on that work, weaving together eighteen essays that explore the legacy of slavery in present-day America with thirty-six poems and works of fiction that illuminate key moments of oppression, struggle, and resistance. The essays show {how the|the way the|how a} inheritance of 1619 reaches into {every part|all} of contemporary American society, from politics, music, diet, traffic, and citizenship to capitalism, religion, and our democracy itself.

{This is a|This can be a} book that speaks directly {to our|to the|to your} current moment, contextualizing the systems of race and caste within which we operate today. It reveals long-glossed-over truths around our nation's founding and construction—and {the way|the way in which|just how} that the legacy of slavery {did not|didn't} end with emancipation, but continues to shape contemporary American life.

Featuring contributions from: Leslie Alexander • Michelle Alexander • Carol Anderson • Joshua Bennett • Reginald Dwayne Betts • Jamelle Bouie • Anthea Butler • Matthew Desmond • Rita Dove • Camille T. Dungy • Cornelius Eady • Eve L. Ewing • Nikky Finney • Vievee Francis • Yaa Gyasi • Forrest Hamer • Terrance Hayes • Kimberly Annece Henderson • Jeneen Interlandi • Honorée Fanonne Jeffers • Barry Jenkins • Tyehimba Jess • Martha S. Jones • Robert Jones, Jr. • A. Van Jordan • Ibram X. Kendi • Eddie Kendricks • Yusef Komunyakaa • Kevin M. Kruse • Kiese Laymon • Trymaine Lee • Jasmine Mans • Terry McMillan • Tiya Miles • Wesley Morris • Khalil Gibran Muhammad • Lynn Nottage • ZZ Packer • Gregory Pardlo • Darryl Pinckney • Claudia Rankine • Jason Reynolds • Dorothy Roberts • Sonia Sanchez • Tim Seibles • Evie Shockley • Clint Smith • Danez Smith • Patricia Smith • Tracy K. Smith • Bryan Stevenson • Nafissa Thompson-Spires • Natasha Trethewey • Linda Villarosa • Jesmyn WardA dramatic expansion of a groundbreaking work of journalism, The 1619 Project: A New Origin Story {offers a|provides a|supplies a} profoundly revealing vision of the American past and present.

In late August 1619, a ship {arrived in|found its way to} the British colony of Virginia bearing a cargo of twenty to thirty enslaved {people from|folks from|individuals from} Africa. Their arrival {led to|resulted in|generated} the barbaric and unprecedented system of American chattel slavery {that would|that will|that could} {last for|work for} {the next|the following|another} 250 years. This {is sometimes|may also be|might be} {referred to as|known as|called} the country's original sin, but {it is|it's} {more than|significantly more than|a lot more than} that: {It is|It's} {the source|the origin|the foundation} of so much {that still|that also} defines the United States.

The New York Times Magazine's award-winning “1619 Project” issue reframed our {understanding of|knowledge of|comprehension of} American history by placing slavery and its continuing legacy at {the center of|the middle of|the biggest market of} our national narrative. This new book substantially expands on that work, weaving together eighteen essays that explore the legacy of slavery in present-day America with thirty-six poems and works of fiction that illuminate key moments of oppression, struggle, and resistance. The essays show {how the|the way the|how a} inheritance of 1619 reaches into {every part|all} of contemporary American society, from politics, music, diet, traffic, and citizenship to capitalism, religion, and our democracy itself.

{This is a|This can be a} book that speaks directly {to our|to the|to your} current moment, contextualizing the systems of race and caste within which we operate today. It reveals long-glossed-over truths around our nation's founding and construction—and {the way|the way in which|just how} that the legacy of slavery {did not|didn't} end with emancipation, but continues to shape contemporary American life.

Featuring contributions from: Leslie Alexander • Michelle Alexander • Carol Anderson • Joshua Bennett • Reginald Dwayne Betts • Jamelle Bouie • Anthea Butler • Matthew Desmond • Rita Dove • Camille T. Dungy • Cornelius Eady • Eve L. Ewing • Nikky Finney • Vievee Francis • Yaa Gyasi • Forrest Hamer • Terrance Hayes • Kimberly Annece Henderson • Jeneen Interlandi • Honorée Fanonne Jeffers • Barry Jenkins • Tyehimba Jess • Martha S. Jones • Robert Jones, Jr. • A. Van Jordan • Ibram X. Kendi • Eddie Kendricks • Yusef Komunyakaa • Kevin M. Kruse • Kiese Laymon • Trymaine Lee • Jasmine Mans • Terry McMillan • Tiya Miles • Wesley Morris • Khalil Gibran Muhammad • Lynn Nottage • ZZ Packer • Gregory Pardlo • Darryl Pinckney • Claudia Rankine • Jason Reynolds • Dorothy Roberts • Sonia Sanchez • Tim Seibles • Evie Shockley • Clint Smith • Danez Smith • Patricia Smith • Tracy K. Smith • Bryan Stevenson • Nafissa Thompson-Spires • Natasha Trethewey • Linda Villarosa • Jesmyn Ward

 Editorial Reviews

 

In this substantial expansion of the New York Times Magazine’s 2019 special issue commemorating the 400th anniversary of the arrival of the first enslaved Africans in America, Pulitzer winner Hannah-Jones (coauthor, The 1619 Project: Born on the Water) and an impressive cast of historians, journalists, poets, novelists, and cultural critics deliver a sweeping study of the “unparalleled impact” of African slavery on American society. In an enlightening preface, Hannah-Jones pinpoints the origins of the project in her reading of Lerone Bennet Jr.’s Before the Mayflower as a high school student, and discusses the political and scholarly backlash it’s received. Updated versions of the original 10 essays examine the struggle for African American voting rights and the centrality of Black music to American culture, among other topics, while new essays by Carol Anderson and Leslie and Michelle Alexander spotlight double standards in the application of self-defense laws and the police response to Black Lives Matter protests and the January 6 Capitol riot. Stories and poems by Claudia Rankine, Terry McMillan, Darryl Pinckney, and others bring to vivid life historical moments such as the reading of the Emancipation Proclamation to “one of the first Black military brigades.” The result is a bracing and vital reconsideration of American history. Photos. (Nov.)

Publishers Weekly

06/01/2021

Launched by the New York Times editors in August 2019 as an ongoing series with MacArthur Fellow Hannah-Jones at the helm, the 1619 Project takes the arrival of the first enslaved people from Africa in August 1619 as its starting point and proceeds through four centuries to explore the contributions of Black Americans and the ways both slavery and resistance to oppression have definitively shaped America. The project brings us up to the present day with examinations of persistent anti-Black racism and continuing discussions of reparations and other unresolved issues. Contributors range from Jamelle Bouie and Jeneen Interlandi to Matthew Desmond and Bryan Stevenson, with fiction and poetry included along with nonfiction. The aim is to provide a new perspective on American history, and Hannah-Jones has already won a Pulitzer Prize for the project; this work expands on coverage that has already appeared. Note that a children's edition will appear simultaneously (ISBN 9780593307359).

Library Journal

★ 2021-08-18

A book-length expansion of the New York Times Magazine issue that explores the history of slavery in America and its countless toxic consequences.

Famously denied tenure at the University of North Carolina for her critical journalism, Hannah-Jones sounds controversial notes at the start: There are no slaves but instead enslaved people, a term that “accurately conveys the condition without stripping the individual of his or her humanity,” while the romantic plantation gives way to the more accurate terms labor camp and forced labor camp. The 1619 Project was intended to introduce Black people into the mainstream narrative of American history as active agents. It may have been White people who enslaved them, but apart from the legal and constitutional paperwork, it was Black people who resisted and liberated themselves and others, from their very first arrival at Jamestown, Virginia, in 1619 to the very present. Hannah-Jones and colleagues consider a nation still wrestling with the outcomes of slavery, an incomplete Reconstruction, and a subsequent history of Jim Crow laws and current legal efforts to disenfranchise Black voters. As she notes, the accompanying backlash has been vigorous, including attempted laws by the likes of Sen. Tom Cotton to strip federal funds from schools that teach the 1619 Project or critical race theory. Among numerous other topics, the narrative examines: the thought that the American independence movement was fueled at least in part by the insistence on maintaining slavery as the Crown moved to abolition; the use of slavery to tamp down resistance among poor Whites whose functions were essentially the same as the enslaved but who, unlike Black people, were not considered property; the ongoing appropriation of Black music, which has “midwifed the only true integration this country has known,” as Wesley Morris writes, by a machine that perpetuates minstrelsy. Those readers open to fresh and startling interpretations of history will find this book a comprehensive education.

A much-needed book that stakes a solid place in a battlefield of ideas over America’s past and present.

Kirkus Reviews



About the Author


Nikole Hannah-Jones is a Pulitzer Prize–winning reporter covering racial injustice for The New York Times Magazine, and creator of the landmark 1619 Project. In 2017, she received a MacArthur Foundation Fellowship, known as the Genius Grant, for her work on educational inequality. She has also won a Peabody Award, two George Polk Awards, three National Magazine Awards, and the 2018 John Chancellor Award for Excellence in Journalism from Columbia University. In 2016, Hannah-Jones co-founded the Ida B. Wells Society for Investigative Reporting, a training and mentorship organization geared toward increasing the number of investigative reporters of color. Hannah-Jones is the Knight Chair in Race and Journalism at Howard University, where she has founded the Center for Journalism and Democracy.

The Light of Days

The Light of Days

The Light of Days: The Untold Story of Women Resistance Fighters in Hitler's Ghettos

Name - The Light of Days

Reviews - 4.6/5

Pages - 576

By - Judy Batalion


 

About Book The Light of Days


THE INSTANT NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER!

Also on the USA Today, Washington PostBoston GlobeGlobe and MailPublishers Weekly, and Indie bestseller lists.

{One of|Among|Certainly one of} {the most important|the most crucial|the main} stories of World War II, already optioned by Steven Spielberg for {a major|a significant|an important} {motion picture|film|movie}: a spectacular, searing history that brings to light the extraordinary accomplishments of brave Jewish women who became resistance fighters—{a group of|several|a small grouping of} unknown heroes whose exploits {have never|haven't|have not} been chronicled {in full|entirely|completely}, until now.

Witnesses to the brutal murder of {their families|their own families|their loved ones} and neighbors and the violent destruction {of their|of the|of these} communities, a cadre of Jewish {women in|ladies in|feamales in} Poland—some still {in their|within their|inside their} teens—helped transform the Jewish youth groups into resistance cells to fight the Nazis. With courage, guile, and nerves of steel, these “ghetto girls” {paid off|reduced|paid down|repaid|paid} Gestapo guards, hid revolvers in loaves of bread and jars of marmalade, and helped build systems of underground bunkers. They flirted with German soldiers, bribed them with wine, whiskey, and home cooking, used their Aryan looks to seduce them, and shot and killed them. They bombed German train lines and blew up a town's water supply. {They also|Additionally they|In addition they} nursed the sick, taught children, and hid families.

{Yet the|The} exploits {of these|of those|of the} courageous resistance fighters have remained virtually unknown.

As propulsive and thrilling as Hidden Figures, In the Garden of Beasts, and Band of Brothers, The Light of Days {at last|finally|eventually} tells {the true|the real|the actual} story {of these|of those|of the} incredible women whose courageous yet little-known feats {have been|have now been|have already been} eclipsed by time. Judy Batalion—the granddaughter of Polish Holocaust survivors—takes us {back to|back once again to|back again to} 1939 and introduces us to Renia Kukielka, a weapons smuggler and messenger who risked death traveling across occupied Poland on foot and by train. Joining Renia are other women who served as couriers, armed fighters, intelligence agents, and saboteurs, all who put their lives in mortal danger {to carry|to transport|to hold} out their missions. Batalion follows these women through the savage destruction of the ghettos, arrest and internment in Gestapo prisons and concentration camps, and for a lucky few—like Renia, who orchestrated {her own|her very own} audacious escape {from a|from the} brutal Nazi jail—{into the|in to the|to the} late 20th century and beyond.

Powerful and inspiring, featuring twenty black-and-white photographs, The Light of Days {is an|is definitely an|can be an} unforgettable true tale of war, the fight for freedom, exceptional bravery, female friendship, and survival in {the face|the facial skin|the face area} of staggering odds.  



 Editorial Reviews 


Memoirist Batalion (White Walls) delivers a remarkable portrait of young Jewish women who fought in the Polish resistance during WWII. Drawing from “dozens of women’s memoirs” and “hundreds of testimonies,” Batalion documents an astonishing array of guerilla activities, including rescue missions for Jewish children trapped in Polish ghettos, assassinations of Nazi soldiers, bombings of German train lines, jailbreaks, weapons smuggling, and espionage missions. The story of “Renia K.,” a “savvy, middle-class girl” who served as a courier in the Bę dzin Ghetto, forms the backbone of the narrative, but Batalion highlights numerous other freedom fighters, including a network of young women who aided a prisoner revolt at the Auschwitz concentration camp, and provides a detailed account of the 1943 Warsaw Ghetto Uprising. She spares no details recounting the sexual violence and torture these women endured, and notes numerous reasons why their stories aren’t better known, including male chauvinism, survivor’s guilt, and the fact that the resistance movement’s military successes were “relatively miniscule.” Batalion allows her subjects to speak for themselves whenever possible, weaving a vast amount of research material into a cohesive and dramatic narrative. This poignant history pays vivid tribute to “the breadth and scope of female courage.” (June)

Publishers Weekly

11/01/2020

The granddaughter of Polish Holocaust survivors, Batalion tells the little-known story of women Jewish Resistance fighters in Poland, who risked (and often suffered) brutal imprisonment and death as they bore arms, smuggled weapons, helped built underground bunkers, and seduced and shot German soldiers. At the center of Batalion's story is Renia Kukielka, a weapons smuggler and messenger who effected a remarkable escape from a Gestapo prison. Originally scheduled for June 2020; with a 200,000-copy first printing and optioned by Steven Spielberg.

Library Journal



About the Author


Judy Batalion is the New York Times bestselling author of the highly-acclaimed THE LIGHT OF DAYS: The Untold Story of Women Resistance Fighters in Hitler’s Ghettos, published by William Morrow in April 2021. THE LIGHT OF DAYS has been published in a young readers’ edition, will be translated into nineteen languages, and has been optioned by Steven Spielberg for a major motion picture for which Judy is co-writing the screenplay. Judy is also the author of White Walls: A Memoir About Motherhood, Daughterhood and the Mess in Between, optioned by Warner Brothers, and her essays have appeared in the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Forward, Vogue, and many other publications. Judy has a BA in the History of Science from Harvard, and a PhD in the History of Art from the Courtauld Institute, University of London, and has worked as a museum curator and university lecturer. Born in Montreal, where she grew up speaking English, French, Hebrew, and Yiddish, she lives in New York with her husband and three children. 

All the Frequent Troubles of Our Days

All the Frequent Troubles of Our Days

All the Frequent Troubles of Our Days



Name - All the Frequent Troubles of Our Days

Reviews - 5.0/5

Pages - 576

By - Rebecca Donner



 

About Book All the Frequent Troubles of Our Days


The “highly evocative, deeply moving” true account of the extraordinary life and brutal death of Mildred Harnack, the American leader of one of the largest underground resistance groups in Germany during WWII—“a stunning literary achievement” (Kai Bird, author of The Outlier and co-author of Pulitzer Prize-winning American Prometheus)

Born and raised in Milwaukee, Mildred Harnack was twenty-six when she enrolled in a PhD program in Germany and witnessed the meteoric rise of the Nazi party. In 1932, she began holding secret meetings in her apartment—a small band of political activists that by 1940 had grown into the largest underground resistance group in Berlin. She recruited working-class Germans into the resistance, helped Jews escape, plotted acts of sabotage, and collaborated in writing leaflets that denounced Hitler and called for revolution. Her coconspirators circulated through Berlin under the cover of night, slipping the leaflets into mailboxes, public restrooms, phone booths. When the first shots of the Second World War were fired, she became a spy, couriering top-secret intelligence to the Allies. On the eve of her escape to Sweden, she was ambushed by the Gestapo. At a Nazi military court, a panel of five judges sentenced her to six years at a prison camp, but Hitler overruled the decision and ordered her execution. On February 16, 1943, she was strapped to a guillotine and beheaded.

Historians identify Mildred Harnack as the only American in the leadership of the German resistance, yet her remarkable story has remained almost unknown until now.

Harnack’s great-great-niece Rebecca Donner draws on her extensive archival research in Germany, Russia, England, and the U.S. as well as newly uncovered documents in her family archive to produce this astonishing work of narrative nonfiction. Fusing elements of biography, real-life political thriller, and scholarly detective story, Donner brilliantly interweaves letters, diary entries, notes smuggled out of a Berlin prison, survivors’ testimony, and a trove of declassified intelligence documents into a powerful, epic story, reconstructing the moral courage of an enigmatic woman nearly erased by history.


 Editorial Reviews 


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.)

Publishers Weekly

Extraordinarily intimate… Wilder and more expansive than a standard-issue biography… a real-life thriller with a cruel ending—not to mention an account of Hitler’s ascent from attention-seeking buffoon to genocidal Führer.”—Jennifer Szalai, New York Times

“A powerful book… Ms. Donner’s use of the present tense increases the feeling of inevitability as she unfolds her story to its horrific conclusion... A nonfiction narrative with the pace of a political thriller, it’s imbued with suspense and dread… a deeply affecting biography, meticulously researched and illustrated… Ms. Donner evocatively brings to life the giddy feeling of freedom under the Weimar regime in Berlin and how swiftly it eroded. Her account of the decline of liberties is harrowing.”—Moira Hodgson, Wall Street Journal

“A deeply moving act of recovery… In a photo of those pages reproduced in the book, Mildred Harnack’s cramped yet careful handwriting crystallizes Donner’s goal: to write her heroic forebear back into history, to bring her back to life.”—Bethanne Patrick, Los Angeles Times

“A tour de force of investigation… The story unfolds in fragments… but as the pieces cohere, the couple’s story becomes gripping… The abiding impression is of virtuous, extraordinarily brave people caught up in tragic horror.”—The Economist



About the Author


Rebecca Donner's essays, reportage and reviews have appeared in numerous publications, including the New York Times, Bookforum, Guernica, and The Believer. All the Frequent Troubles of Our Days is her third book; she is also the author of a novel, Sunset Terrace, and Burnout, a graphic novel about ecoterrorism. She was a 2018-2019 fellow at the Leon Levy Center for Biography, and has been awarded residencies at Yaddo, Ucross Foundation, Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, and Vermont Studio Center. Born in Vancouver, Donner is a graduate of the University of California at Berkeley and Columbia University, and has taught writing at Wesleyan University, Columbia University, and Barnard College.