All the Frequent Troubles of Our Days Book Summary - All the Frequent Troubles of Our Days Book explained in key points
Listen to the Intro

All the Frequent Troubles of Our Days summary

Rebecca Donner

The True Story of the American Woman at the Heart of the German Resistance to Hitler

4.5 (158 ratings)
30 mins

Brief summary

All the Frequent Troubles of Our Days by Rebecca Donner is a captivating biography of Mildred Harnack, an American woman who fought against the Nazis in Germany, and her fascinating life filled with love, politics, and bravery in the face of evil.

Table of Contents

    All the Frequent Troubles of Our Days
    Summary of 9 key ideas

    Audio & text in the Blinkist app
    Key idea 1 of 9

    A Whirlwind Romance from Wisconsin to Berlin

    Mildred Fish didn’t come from money. In fact, her family had often struggled to get by. But Mildred proved herself to be a dedicated student, earning a bachelor’s degree in humanities and a master’s degree in English. By 1926, she was teaching American literature at Wisconsin University.

    That’s where she met Arvid Harnack. He’d walked into one of her lectures by accident – he was actually visiting the university to hear a talk about labor unions. But upon seeing Mildred, he was immediately smitten. When he showed up a second time, he was carrying a bouquet of wildflowers he’d picked himself. By the end of the year, the two were exchanging vows, and Mildred Fish became Mildred Harnack.

    As for Arvid, his background was something else entirely. He was the nephew of the esteemed German historian and theologian Adolf von Harnack, who had helped draft Germany’s Weimar Constitution after WWI. Von Harnack was so beloved that a building in Berlin, the Harnack House, was named after him. By the time Arvid met Mildred on his trip to the US, he had a law degree and was on his way to getting his PhD. In fact, not long after their marriage, they made plans to return to Germany so he could do so. Mildred would also work on her PhD while lecturing at the University of Berlin, where she’d been hired to teach American literature.

    When Mildred finally arrived in Berlin for the first time, it was 1929. It was like she’d landed in the middle of some European crossroads, where passing voices might speak German, English, French, Russian, Italian, Polish, or Dutch. But it was also clear that something was wrong. Germany was facing a severe inequality crisis; everywhere Mildred went, there were penniless and homeless families in the streets. One poor woman that Mildred passed haunted her mind. The dress she was wearing was just like one Mildred’s mother used to wear.

    One of the things that Mildred and Arvid truly bonded over was a deep mutual commitment to social causes. In Arvid’s case, this meant periodically traveling to Moscow to serve as secretary for a group called ARPLAN, or the Working Group for the Study of the Soviet Planned Economy. At the time, the Soviet Union’s economy was booming. Some Germans, like Arvid, thought its ideas could help turn the German economy around as well.

    The Harnacks didn’t know it at the time, but Arvid’s involvement in ARPLAN would have profound consequences in both their lives in the years to come.


    Want to see all full key ideas from All the Frequent Troubles of Our Days?

    Key ideas in All the Frequent Troubles of Our Days

    More knowledge in less time
    Read or listen
    Read or listen
    Get the key ideas from nonfiction bestsellers in minutes, not hours.
    Find your next read
    Find your next read
    Get book lists curated by experts and personalized recommendations.
    Shortcasts New
    We’ve teamed up with podcast creators to bring you key insights from podcasts.

    What is All the Frequent Troubles of Our Days about?

    All the Frequent Troubles of Our Days (2021) offers a deeply intimate look at individuals who risked their lives by establishing an anti-Nazi resistance movement in Germany. With years of research, and access to letters and declassified documents, this is a detailed story about people who have often been overlooked in the fight against fascism.

    All the Frequent Troubles of Our Days Review

    All the Frequent Troubles of Our Days (2021) is a captivating real-life story that sheds light on the untold heroes of World War II. Here's what makes this book definitely worth reading:

    • With meticulous research and attention to detail, it brings to life the courageous individuals who risked everything to fight against the Nazi regime.
    • Through the powerful narratives of ordinary people who became heroes, this book offers a fresh perspective on the lesser-known aspects of the war.
    • Presenting a gritty and realistic portrayal of the challenges faced by resistance fighters, the book keeps readers engrossed, ensuring it is anything but boring.

    Who should read All the Frequent Troubles of Our Days?

    • Fans of real-world espionage stories
    • People curious about life in WWII-era Germany
    • History buffs

    About the Author

    Rebecca Donner is a writer whose articles and essays have appeared in many publications, including Bookforum and the New York Times. She is also the author of two novels: Sunset Terrace and Burnout. Donner has taught writing at Columbia University, Barnard College, and Wesleyan University.

    Categories with All the Frequent Troubles of Our Days

    Book summaries like All the Frequent Troubles of Our Days

    People ❤️ Blinkist 
    Sven O.

    It's highly addictive to get core insights on personally relevant topics without repetition or triviality. Added to that the apps ability to suggest kindred interests opens up a foundation of knowledge.

    Thi Viet Quynh N.

    Great app. Good selection of book summaries you can read or listen to while commuting. Instead of scrolling through your social media news feed, this is a much better way to spend your spare time in my opinion.

    Jonathan A.

    Life changing. The concept of being able to grasp a book's main point in such a short time truly opens multiple opportunities to grow every area of your life at a faster rate.

    Renee D.

    Great app. Addicting. Perfect for wait times, morning coffee, evening before bed. Extremely well written, thorough, easy to use.

    People also liked these summaries

    4.7 Stars
    Average ratings on iOS and Google Play
    31 Million
    Downloads on all platforms
    10+ years
    Experience igniting personal growth
    Powerful ideas from top nonfiction

    Try Blinkist to get the key ideas from 7,000+ bestselling nonfiction titles and podcasts. Listen or read in just 15 minutes.

    Start your free trial

    All the Frequent Troubles of Our Days FAQs 

    What is the main message of All the Frequent Troubles of Our Days?

    The main message of All the Frequent Troubles of Our Days is...

    How long does it take to read All the Frequent Troubles of Our Days?

    The estimated reading time for All the Frequent Troubles of Our Days is...

    Is All the Frequent Troubles of Our Days a good book? Is it worth reading?

    All the Frequent Troubles of Our Days is worth reading because...

    Who is the author of All the Frequent Troubles of Our Days?

    The author of All the Frequent Troubles of Our Days is...

    What to read after All the Frequent Troubles of Our Days?

    If you're wondering what to read next after All the Frequent Troubles of Our Days, here are some recommendations we suggest:
    • A History of God by Karen Armstrong
    • The Light of Days by Judy Batalion
    • The Volunteer by Jack Fairweather
    • The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey
    • The 3-Minute Rule by Brant Pinvidic
    • Elevate by Joseph Deitch
    • Bloodlands by Timothy Snyder
    • The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoyevsky
    • Humankind by Rutger Bregman
    • The Art of War by Sun Tzu