All the Frequent Troubles of Our Days

Rebecca Donner

New York Times Bestseller
New York Times Book Review Editors’ Choice

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.

Upcoming Events

In-Person

Boswell Books

co-sponsored by HERC

More Information

Harbor Springs, MI (In-Person)

Harbor Springs Festival of the Book

More Information

Elliott Bay Book Co – with Goethe pop-up and UW

More Information

Act Like You Got Some Sense

Jamie Foxx

In this hilarious and heartfelt memoir, award-winning, multi-talented entertainer Jamie Foxx shares the story of being raised by his no-nonsense grandmother, the glamour and pitfalls of life in Hollywood, and the lessons he took from both worlds to raise his two daughters.

Jamie Foxx has won an Academy Award and a Grammy Award, laughed with sitting presidents, and partied with the biggest names in hip-hop. But he is most proud of his role as father to two very independent young women, Corinne and Anelise. Jamie might not always know what he’s doing when it comes to raising girls—especially when they talk to him about TikTok (PlikPlok?) and don’t share his enthusiasm for flashy Rolls Royces—but he does his best to show up for them every single day.

Luckily, he has a strong example to follow: his beloved late grandmother, Estelle Marie Talley.  Jamie learned everything he knows about parenting from the fierce woman who raised him: As he puts it, she’s “Madea before Tyler Perry put on the pumps and the gray wig.”
 
In Act Like You Got Some Sense—a title inspired by Estelle—Jamie shares up close and personal stories about the tough love and old-school values he learned growing up in the small town of Terrell, Texas; his early days trying to make it in Hollywood; the joys and challenges of achieving stardom; and how each phase of his life shaped his parenting journey. Hilarious, poignant, and always brutally honest, this is Jamie Foxx like we’ve never seen him before.

Upcoming Events

The Met Philadelphia

Philadelphia, PA

In partnership with Harriet's Bookshop

Get Your Tickets

The Wiltern

Los Angeles, CA

In partnership with Eso Won Books

Get Your Tickets

The Pavilion at Toyota Music Factory

Irving, TX

Get Your Tickets

The Magnolia

San Diego, CA

In partnership with Warwick's

Get Your Tickets

Poe for Your Problems

Catherine Baab-Muguira

When life’s got you down and things aren’t going your way, who better to turn to than Edgar Allan Poe? Discover how to say "nevermore" to your problems in this darkly comedic and refreshing self-help guide.

Of all the writers anywhere, Poe might be the least likely person you'd ever turn to for advice. His life was a complete dumpster fire: he married his cousin; got fired from one job after another; constantly feuded with friends and rivals; and he was always broke. But that’s also precisely the point. Though Poe failed again and again, he also persevered.

Drawing deeply on his works and life, Catherine Baab-Muguira takes the familiar image of Poe in a new and surprising direction in this darkly inspiring self-help book. Despite what you might think, Edgar Allan Poe is the perfect person to teach you to say "Nevermore, problems!" and show you how to use all the terrible situations, tough breaks, bad luck, and even your darkest emotions in novel and creative ways to make a name for yourself and carve out your own unique, notorious place in the world.

An inspirational tale for black sheep everywhere, Poe for Your Problems will teach you how to overcome life’s biggest challenges to succeed at work, love, and art—despite the odds and no matter your flaws.
 

Upcoming Events

Reddit

Reddit Ask Me Anything (AMA)

Reddit AMA titled “I wrote the world’s first self-help book based on Poe” with Catherine Baab-Muguira, author of POE FOR YOUR PROBLEMS

More Information

Unrequited Infatuations

Stevie Van Zandt

Uncover never-before-told stories in this epic tale of self-discovery by a Rock n Roll disciple and member of the E Street Band.

What story begins in a bedroom in suburban New Jersey in the early '60s, unfolds on some of the country's largest stages, and then ranges across the globe, demonstrating over and over again how Rock and Roll has the power to change the world for the better? This story. 
 
The first true heartbeat of Unrequited Infatuations  is the moment when Stevie Van Zandt trades in his devotion to the Baptist religion for an obsession with Rock and Roll. Groups like the Beatles and the Rolling Stones created new ideas of community, creative risk, and principled rebellion. They changed him forever. While still a teenager, he met Bruce Springsteen, a like-minded outcast/true believer who became one of his most important friends and bandmates. As Miami Steve, Van Zandt anchored the E Street Band as they conquered the Rock and Roll world. 
 
And then, in the early '80s, Van Zandt stepped away from E Street to embark on his own odyssey. He refashioned himself as Little Steven, a political songwriter and performer, fell in love with Maureen Santoro who greatly expanded his artistic palette, and visited the world’s hot spots as an artist/journalist to not just better understand them, but to help change them. Most famously, he masterminded the recording of “Sun City,” an anti-apartheid anthem that sped the demise of South Africa’s institutionalized racism and helped get Nelson Mandela out of prison. 
 
By the '90s, Van Zandt had lived at least two lives—one as a mainstream rocker, one as a hardcore activist. It was time for a third. David Chase invited Van Zandt to be a part of his new television show, the Sopranos—as Silvio Dante, he was the unconditionally loyal consiglieri who sat at the right hand of Tony Soprano (a relationship that oddly mirrored his real-life relationship with Bruce Springsteen). 
 
Underlying all of Van Zandt's various incarnations was a devotion to preserving the centrality of the arts, especially the endangered species of Rock. In the twenty-first century, Van Zandt founded a groundbreaking radio show (Little Steven's Underground Garage), created the first two 24/7 branded music channels on SiriusXM (Underground Garage and Outlaw Country), started a fiercely independent record label (Wicked Cool), and developed a curriculum to teach students of all ages through the medium of music history. He also rejoined the E Street Band for what has now been a twenty-year victory lap. 

​Unrequited Infatuations chronicles the twists and turns of Stevie Van Zandt’s always surprising life. It is more than just the testimony of a globe-trotting nomad, more than the story of a groundbreaking activist, more than the odyssey of a spiritual seeker, and more than a master class in rock and roll (not to mention a dozen other crafts). It's the best book of its kind because it's the only book of its kind.

Upcoming Events

Unison Events

Stevie Van Zandt & Bruce Springsteen

For the first time ever, Bruce Springsteen will be interviewing his longtime friend and bandmate Stevie Van Zandt. Join Unison Events for an evening with Stevie Van Zandt and Bruce Springsteen as they come together to discuss Unrequited Infatuations, the new memoir from Van Zandt.

More Information

Hurricane Lizards and Plastic Squid

Thor Hanson

A beloved natural historian explores how climate change is driving evolution  

In Hurricane Lizards and Plastic Squid, biologist Thor Hanson tells the remarkable story of how plants and animals are responding to climate change: adjusting, evolving, and sometimes dying out. Anole lizards have grown larger toe pads, to grip more tightly in frequent hurricanes. Warm waters cause the development of Humboldt squid to alter so dramatically that fishermen mistake them for different species. Brown pelicans move north, and long-spined sea urchins south, to find cooler homes. And when coral reefs sicken, they leave no territory worth fighting for, so aggressive butterfly fish transform instantly into pacifists. 

A story of hope, resilience, and risk, Hurricane Lizards and Plastic Squid is natural history for readers of Bernd Heinrich, Robin Wall Kimmerer, and David Haskell. It is also a reminder of how unpredictable climate change is as it interacts with the messy lattice of life.

Upcoming Events

Virtual, Zoom

Powell's Books Presents Thor Hanson

In Hurricane Lizards and Plastic Squid (Basic), beloved natural historian and biologist Thor Hanson — author of Buzz, The Triumph of Seeds, and Feathers — tells the remarkable story of how plants and animals are responding to climate change: adjusting, evolving, and sometimes dying out. A story of hope, resilience, and risk, Hurricane Lizards and Plastic Squid is natural history for readers of Bernd Heinrich, Robin Wall Kimmerer, and David George Haskell. It is also a reminder of how unpredictable climate change is as it interacts with the messy lattice of life.

Learn More

Livestream Only

Thor Hanson at Town Hall Seattle

Thor Hanson, who last appeared at Town Hall talking about bees, is back with a story, ultimately, of hope. Climate change is a disaster and is wreaking havoc the world over. However, the natural world is doing what it can to cope with the new problems and trying to come up with solutions of their own. Plants and animals are responding to climate change in a variety of ways: adjusting, evolving, or dying out. Hanson’s visited grizzly bears in Alaska, Walden Pond (that’s gotten 4 degrees warmer since Thoreau’s time), and brown pelicans looming over the sea. Fraught with peril, it is. But, also, there’s hope. If a little lizard can adapt, humans can too.

Learn More

Bookbug, Online Event

Meet Author Thor Hanson and "Hurricane Lizards and Plastic Squid"

Author/Biologist Thor Hanson presents his new book in conversation with WMU Office of Sustainability members.

Learn More

Books in Common NW, Online Event

Books in Common NW: Thor Hanson

Join beloved natural historian, Thor Hanson, as he explores how climate change is driving evolution in his new book Hurricane Lizards and Plastic Squid: The Fraught and Fascinating Biology f Climate Change. A story of hope, resilience, and risk, Hurricane Lizards and Plastic Squid is natural history for readers of Bernd Heinrich, Robin Wall Kimmerer, and David Haskell. It is also a reminder of how unpredictable climate change is as it interacts with the messy lattice of life.

Learn More

Virtual, Zoom

Third Place Books presents Thor Hanson

Third Place Books is pleased to welcome conservation biologist and Guggenheim fellow Thor Hanson for a presentation on his new book, Hurricane Lizards and Plastic Squid: The Fraught and Fascinating Biology of Climate Change.

Learn More