Rebecca Donner All the Frequent Troubles of Our Days


Code 9781786892218
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Born and raised in America, Mildred Harnack was twenty-six and living in Germany when she witnessed the meteoric rise of the Nazi party. She began holding secret meetings in her apartment, forming a small band of political activists set on helping Jews escape, denouncing Hitler and calling for revolution. When the Second World War began, she became a spy, couriering top-secret intelligence to the Allies.

In this astonishing work of non-fiction, Harnack's great-great-niece Rebecca Donner draws on extensive archival research, fusing elements of biography, political thriller and scholarly detective story to tell a powerful, epic tale of an enigmatic woman nearly erased by history.

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'Reads like a thriller . . . Written in a pacey, suspenseful present tense, it's biography with a pulse . . . a superb, sure-footed work of historical detection conceived with a powerful intelligence'
- Sunday Times

'A beautifully rich portrait of a very brave woman. While never less than scrupulously researched, this biography explodes the genre of "biography": experimental but achieved, Donner's story reads with the speed of a thriller, the depth of a novel and the urgency of an essay, like some deeply compelling blend of Alan Furst and W.G. Sebald'
- James Wood

'Astonishing . . . wilder and more expansive than a standard-issue biography . . . a real-life thriller with a cruel ending'
- New York Times

'Written in a fizzing present tense, the book in places reads like a spy novel . . . Donner writes in beautiful, crisp prose (like her great-great-aunt, as quotes from Mildred's letters reveal) . . . The result is a work that transports us to a period now slipping from living memory but that contains vital lessons for our own time'
- Herald

'A tour de force of investigation . . . gripping'
- Economist


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