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Rebecca Donner, “All the Frequent Troubles of Our Days”
October 20, 2021 @ 4:00 pm - 5:30 pm
Sponsored by the Center for German and European Studies and the George L. Mosse Program in History.
Register by completing the form at the bottom of this page.
New York Times bestselling author, Rebecca Donner, will be discussing her most recent book All the Frequent Troubles of our Days. The event will be introduced and moderated by Professor Emeritus Marc Silberman.
All the Frequent Troubles of Our Days is a true story about the life and death of Mildred Harnack. Harnack was an American leader of one of the largest underground resistance groups in Germany who was later executed on Hitler’s direct order. 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.
About the Author
Born in Canada, Rebecca Donner was educated at the University of California at Berkeley and Columbia University. Donner’s third book is the instant New York Times bestseller All the Frequent Troubles of Our Days. She is also the author of Sunset Terrace, a critically acclaimed novel, and Burnout, a graphic novel about ecoterrorism. Her essays, reportage, and reviews have appeared in numerous publications, including the New York Times and Bookforum. She was a 2018-19 fellow at the Leon Levy Center for Biography at the City University of New York, is a two-time Yaddo fellow, and has twice been awarded fellowships by Ucross Foundation. She has also held residencies at Virginia Center for the Creative Arts and Vermont Studio Center. Donner is a member of the National Book Critics Circle, and has taught writing at Wesleyan University, Columbia University, and Barnard College.