Ask a Bookseller: 'All the Frequent Troubles of Our Days'

Ask a Bookseller Podcast
Ask a Bookseller

When Julie Buckles of Honest Dog Books in Bayfield, Wis., encountered Rebecca Donner’s nonfiction book, “All The Frequent Troubles of our Days,” Buckles knew she’d want to stock it in the “Badass Women” section of her store. Subtitled “The True Story of the American Woman at the Heart of the German Resistance to Hitler,” the biography of Mildred Harnick reads like a political thriller.

All The Frequent Troubles of our Days
All The Frequent Troubles of our Days by Rebecca Donner
Little, Brown and Company

Mildred grew up in Wisconsin and met her German husband, Arvid, while attending UW-Madison. They moved to Germany when Mildred was 26, during the rapid rise of Hitler. Working with a carefully cultivated network, they passed out pamphlets, gathered intelligence and helped Jews escape the Nazi regime.

Deeply careful to cover her tracks, Mildred burned her journals before she was executed in 1943. This self-erasure proves a challenge for any would-be biographer.

Author Rebecca Donner, who is Mildred’s great-great niece, draws from family stories among other traditional sources to piece together her work in the underground resistance. Woven through the story is an exploration of what drives a person to act — at complete risk of self — for one’s beliefs.

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