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About Rebecca Donner
Rebecca Donner is the author of the instant New York Times bestseller All the Frequent Troubles of Our Days, published by Little, Brown in the US and Canongate in the UK. A Hebrew translation is forthcoming from Matar Publishing in Israel.
Born in Canada, Donner was educated at the University of California at Berkeley and Columbia University. She is 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. A member of the National Book Critics Circle, she has taught writing at Wesleyan University, Columbia University, and Barnard College.
Visit her at http://rebeccadonner.com
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Titles By Rebecca Donner
The INSTANT New York Times Bestseller
Winner of the 2022 PEN/Jacqueline Bograd Weld Award for Biography and the National Book Critics Circle Award
Finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Award
Finalist for the Plutarch Award
A New York Times Notable Book of 2021
A New York Times BookReview Editors’ Choice
A New York Times Critics' Top Pick of 2021
Wall Street Journal 10 Best Books of 2021
Time Magazine 100 Must-Read Books of 2021
Publishers Weekly Top Ten Books of 2021
An Economist Best Book of the Year
A New York Post Best Book of the Year
A Milwaukee Journal Sentinel Best Book of the Year
Oprah Daily Best New Books of August
A New York Public Library Book of the Week
In this “stunning literary achievement,” Donner chronicles the extraordinary life and brutal death of her great-great-aunt Mildred Harnack, the American leader of one of the largest underground resistance groups in Germany during WWII—“a page-turner story of espionage, love and betrayal” (Kai Bird, winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Biography)
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.
The second collection to spring from KillingTheBuddha.com, Believer, Beware presents true tales of sex ed in Catholic school, witches in Kansas, sects and the city, Buddhists in the barbershop, Sufis under your nose, an adolescent Jewish messiah in Queens, and more.
In a world riven by absolute convictions, these ambivalent confessions, skeptical testimonies, and personal revelations speak to the subtler and stranger dilemmas of faith and doubt-of religion lost and found and lost again.