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About the Author

Rosemary Sullivan has written poetry, short fiction, biography, literary criticism, reviews, and articles, and has edited numerous anthologies. Her biography of Gwendolyn MacEwen, Shadow Maker, won the Governor General's Award, the UBC Medal for Canadian Biography, and the Toronto Book Award. She show more also wrote the bestselling biography Stalin's Daughter-winner of the Hilary Weston Writers' Trust Prize, the BC National Non-Fiction Award, and the RBC Taylor Prize, among other awards; as well as By Heart, a biography of Elizabeth Smart; and the personal memoir The Guthrie Road. Her other books include the critically acclaimed Villa Air-Bel, Labyrinth of Desire, and Memory-Making, as well as The Space a Name Makes, which won the Gerald Lampert Memorial Award. She is a professor emeritus at the University of Toronto and has been awarded Guggenheim, Camargo, and Trudeau fellowships. She is a recipient of the Lorne Pierce Medal, awarded by the Royal Society of Canada, for her contribution to Canadian literature and culture and is an Officer of the Order of Canada. show less

Works by Rosemary Sullivan

Elements of Fiction (1968) — Editor — 66 copies
Tom Tom (2008) 63 copies
Poetry by Canadian Women (1989) 20 copies
Stories by Canadian Women (1984) — Editor — 12 copies
More stories by Canadian women (1987) — Editor — 6 copies

Associated Works

A Manner of Being: Writers on Their Mentors (2015) — Contributor — 12 copies
The Selected Gwendolyn MacEwen (2008) — Introduction, some editions — 12 copies
Mermaids and Ikons: A Greek Summer (2017) — Introduction, some editions — 7 copies


Common Knowledge



My interest in Varian Fry was sparked when I first heard about him in And The Show Went On: Cultural Life in Nazi-Occupied Paris by Alan Riding. Such an important hero and yet I had never heard of him. That led me to A Hero of Our Own by Sheila Isenberg, an informative but not very well written biography of Fry; then Fry's own (but abridged) Assignment: Rescue (his original Surrender on Demand is impossible to find for a reasonable price); followed by A Quiet American: The Secret War of Varian Fry, by Andy Marino, a well written biography and the most complete of all three. The biographies all covered his work for the Emergency Rescue Committee, detailed his earlier life, his work with the Committee, as well as all those he worked with and many whom he rescued and how those rescues were brought about, and the sad conclusion of his years afterwards.

This book is the best of them all. It is not a biography of Fry. It is a history of his work, those who worked with him, and many whom he saved. It is more detailed than any of the others, it is well written, and gives the most complete picture of the rescue work that Fry set up and led.
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dvoratreis | 1 other review | May 22, 2024 |
While I learned some things, such as the fact that people were paid a bounty for turning people in, I did not feel satisfied with the book’s conclusion or some of the team’s tactics in pursuing the story. Have a cream cake with an elderly lady on the off chance you may. E able to get her to say something that will square with your wild suppositions, for example
cspiwak | 10 other reviews | Mar 6, 2024 |
This book became quite controversial shortly after its publication. Lots of critics argued that the conclusion of who betrayed the people hiding at Prinsengracht 263 couldn't be certain, so long after the fact, and that it was irresponsible to accuse anyone.

I found the case that the team made compelling, but of course I heard only their argument. Nonetheless, they put forth a plausible argument.

Whether they're right or not, the book includes a lot of detail on the conduct of the various police forces and the occupying German troops and administrators during the war, as well as some good explanations about the Dutch resistance and how it worked. There's good detail on collaborators as well.

I do have some complaints. The author talks about "the Microsoft AI" and "the AI database," but never describes the technology. I'm confident that there wasn't any magical tech at hand; they just digitized a bunch of stuff, made it easy to search, maybe wrote some good data science code to comb through it, look for patterns. It was good work, no doubt, but calling it "AI" seems like an attempt to legitimize their results because an artificial intelligence did the work. Not true -- it was a lot of investigative work by people.

I found the book both interesting and informative. I've spent a great deal of time in Amsterdam and know the city well. I now have a wealth of new locations and events to weave into the story of this place.
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mikeolson2000 | 10 other reviews | Dec 27, 2023 |
For me, this Stalin's Daughter had two parts - Svetlana's life in Russia and her life after she defected. I picked up the book to read the first part and found myself slogging through many chapters of the second part. However, once I committed to reading the whole book (it's 600 pages not counting the references at the end), I found myself becoming more interested in the incredibly impulsive life of Stalin's only daughter, Svetlana Alliluyeva.

Author Rosemary Sullivan's research is impressive and her writing style smooth and conversational.
While I think Sullivan did an amazing and thorough job - the kind of biography Alliluyeva deserves - as a reader, much of the second part felt unnecessary and was frustrating to read. (After defecting from Russia, her life becomes incredibly socially complicated and it seems that all spats and slights are documented in this book.)
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Jenn4567 | 8 other reviews | Mar 3, 2023 |



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