DAUGHTERS OF THE FLOWER FRANGRANT GARDEN, by Li, NOTE: Meeting Online

Women's Biography
Monday, September 11, 7:30 pm

The Women's Biography Book Group is led by Doris Feinsilber and meets the 2nd Monday of each month at 7:30 p.m. The book group is meeting online. Participants limited to 20 sign ups. Please contact bookgroups@politics-prose for information.

Daughters of the Flower Fragrant Garden: Two Sisters Separated by China's Civil War By Zhuqing Li Cover Image

Daughters of the Flower Fragrant Garden: Two Sisters Separated by China's Civil War (Paperback)

$18.95


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Politics and Prose at 5015 Connecticut Avenue NW
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A BookBrowse Best Nonfiction for Book Clubs in 2024



“Exceptional…[A] gripping narrative of one family divided by the ‘bamboo curtain.’” —Deirdre Mask, New York Times Book Review



Sisters separated by war forge new identities as they are forced to choose between family, nation, and their own independence.


Jun and Hong were scions of a once great southern Chinese family. Each other’s best friend, they grew up in the 1930s during the final days of Old China before the tumult of the twentieth century brought political revolution, violence, and a fractured national identity. By a quirk of timing, at the end of the Chinese Civil War, Jun ended up on an island under Nationalist control, and then settled in Taiwan, married a Nationalist general, and lived among fellow exiles at odds with everything the new Communist regime stood for on the mainland. Hong found herself an ocean away on the mainland, forced to publicly disavow both her own family background and her sister’s decision to abandon the party. A doctor by training, to overcome the suspicion created by her family circumstances, Hong endured two waves of “re-education” and internal exile, forced to work in some of the most desperately poor, remote areas of the country.


Ambitious, determined, and resourceful, both women faced morally fraught decisions as they forged careers and families in the midst of political and social upheaval. Jun established one of U.S.-allied Taiwan’s most important trading companies. Hong became one of the most celebrated doctors in China, appearing on national media and honored for her dedication to medicine. Niece to both sisters, linguist and East Asian scholar Zhuqing Li tells her aunts’ story for the first time, honoring her family’s history with sympathy and grace. Daughters of the Flower Fragrant Garden is a window into the lives of women in twentieth-century China, a time of traumatic change and unparalleled resilience. In this riveting and deeply personal account, Li confronts the bitter political rivals of mainland China and Taiwan with elegance and unique insight, while celebrating her aunts’ remarkable legacies.



Zhuqing Li is a professor of East Asian Studies at Brown University and the author of four scholarly books on Chinese linguistics. She lives in Providence, Rhode Island.
Product Details ISBN: 9781324064398
ISBN-10: 1324064390
Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company
Publication Date: July 25th, 2023
Pages: 384
Language: English
[Li] recounts this real-life saga of rupture and reunion in propulsive, poignant detail. The book’s gripping narrative reveals the devastating human cost of the Chinese Revolution and will resonate, in particular, with anyone whose family has been severed by political events…The author’s perspective, from having lived both inside and outside the People’s Republic of China, yields exceptional insight into her aunts’ personal histories and the constantly shifting political vicissitudes they endured. She unspools the unexpected, accidental swerves each life took with spellbinding grace. Here, in the pages of her book, she has knit together the family story as it was lived in both Chinas.
— Diane Cole - Wall Street Journal

At last, a profoundly human story that illuminates the staggering personal consequences of China and Taiwan’s historic split—from both sides. Rare is the author who can portray war and its aftermath so evenhandedly. This powerful page-turner of a family torn apart—and surviving—is as unforgettable as it is important.
— Nicole Mones, author of The Last Chinese Chef

A heartrending story, beautifully told, about the struggles and triumphs of two sisters separated by the Taiwan Strait, but united in their determination to pursue meaningful lives amid political upheaval. I couldn’t stop reading it.
— Amy Stanley, author of Stranger in the Shogun's City

Zhuqing Li has captured the agonizing struggle of late-twentieth-century Chinese history within the microcosm of her own extraordinary family. This is a tale of accidental exile, capitalism and communism, medicine and mercantilism, lifelong nostalgia and willful forgetting, and the breathtaking resilience of two sisters, Li’s indomitable aunts. How lucky we are that their niece has the skill and devotion to tell their story so well.
— Janice P. Nimura, author of The Doctors Blackwell

A very personal story informed by a scholarly set of interests…[I]t’s a memoir and family history, driven by the author’s interest in figuring out the things that the family didn’t talk about.
— Jeffrey Wasserstrom - Fivebooks.com

Zhuqing Li has written a compelling book about family secrets, Cold War politics, and the emotional consequences of displacement…By interweaving the perspectives of its two protagonists, Li emphasizes the persistence of family ties in the face of political and geographical distance, and the disappointment and culture shock that can accompany a long-anticipated reunion.
— Tobie Meyer-Fong - Los Angeles Review of Books

In gorgeous prose, Zhuqing Li tells a story that is at once distinctive and familiar, of Chinese families of a certain generation that lived through wars, revolutions, separations, and reunions. I couldn’t put it down. A lovely book.
— Mae Ngai, author of The Chinese Question

With sensitivity and sincerity, Daughters of the Flower Fragrant Garden takes readers through the most complicated, difficult, sorrowful, and indecipherable years in China’s modern history. Zhuqing Li’s beautifully narrated family stories are tightly entangled with the wider historical context unfolding on a magnificent scale, and evoke unique feelings of pain and helplessness that belong to that era.

— Ai Weiwei, author of 1000 Years of Joys and Sorrows

Beginning in war-torn China, Daughters of the Flower Fragrant Garden tells a compelling story about diaspora, root-seeking, and the triumph of familial love and human perseverance.

— David Wang, author of The Lyrical in Epic Time

Beautifully woven family memories coalesce into a vivid history of two very different Chinas.
— Kirkus Reviews

LESSONS FROM THE EDGE by Yovanovitch, NOTE: Meeting Online

Women's Biography
Monday, August 14, 7:30 pm

The Women's Biography Book Group is led by Doris Feinsilber and meets the 2nd Monday of each month at 7:30 p.m. The book group is meeting online. Participants limited to 20 sign ups. Please contact bookgroups@politics-prose for information.

Lessons from the Edge: A Memoir By Marie Yovanovitch Cover Image

Lessons from the Edge: A Memoir (Paperback)

$21.99


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Politics and Prose at Union Market (1324 4th Street NE)
3 on hand, as of Jun 25 1:35am

INSTANT NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER | An inspiring and urgent memoir by the former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine—a pioneering diplomat who spent her career advancing democracy in the post-Soviet world, and who electrified the nation by speaking truth to power during the first impeachment of President Trump.

Marie Yovanovitch was at the height of her diplomatic career when it all came crashing down. In the middle of her third ambassadorship—a rarity in the world of diplomacy—she was targeted by a smear campaign and abruptly recalled from her post in Kyiv, Ukraine. In the months that followed, she endured personal tragedy while simultaneously being pulled into the blinding lights of the first impeachment inquiry of Donald Trump. It was a time of chaos and pain, for her and for the nation.

Yet Yovanovitch was no stranger to instability and injustice. Born into a family that had survived Soviet and Nazi terror, she first saw the corrosive effect of corruption in Somalia while cutting her teeth as a diplomat in the male-dominated world of the 1980s State Department. She was an eyewitness to the 1993 constitutional crisis in Russia and the street fighting in Moscow. And she rose to the top of her profession in the crucible of the former USSR, where she saw how President Vladimir Putin adeptly exploited corrupt leaders in neighboring countries and undermined their developing democracies.

Nowhere was Putin’s aggression clearer than in Ukraine, where Russia meddled in elections, launched cyberattacks, peddled misinformation, illegally annexed Crimea, invaded the Donbas, and attacked Ukrainian ships in the Black Sea. But when Yovanovitch was abruptly recalled from her post and Ukraine’s democratically elected president, Volodymyr Zelenskyy, found himself set upon by Trump, it became clear just how dangerously close to the edge America itself had strayed.

Through it all, Yovanovitch tirelessly advocated for the Ukrainian people, while advancing U.S. interests and staying true to herself. When she made the courageous decision to participate in the impeachment inquiry—over the objections of the Trump administration—she earned the nation’s respect, and her dignified response to the president’s attacks won our hearts. She has reclaimed her own narrative, first with her lauded congressional testimony, and now with this powerful memoir: the dramatic saga of one woman’s role at the vanguard of American foreign policy during a time of upheaval, for herself and for our country.

A Publishers Marketplace 2021 Buzz Book

“A brilliant, engaging, and inspiring memoir from one of America’s wisest and most courageous diplomats—essential reading for current policymakers, aspiring public servants, and anyone who cares about America’s role in the world.”—Madeleine K. Albright

“First through the breach, Ambassador Yovanovitch showed Americans what courage and patriotism looks like. More than essential reading, Lessons from the Edge is thoroughly engaging and impossible to put down, showing us how an introverted career diplomat overcame the most vicious of smear campaigns to become a foreign service legend.”—Congressman Adam Schiff

“At turns moving and gripping and always inspiring … a powerful testament to a uniquely American life well-lived and a remarkable career of dedicated public service at the highest levels of government.”—Fiona Hill, New York Times best-selling author of There Is Nothing for You Here: Finding Opportunity in the Twenty-First Century

MARIE YOVANOVITCH served as the US Ambassador to Ukraine, Armenia, and Kyrgyzstan, in addition to other senior government positions during her thirty-three-year diplomatic career. She retired from the State Department in 2020 and is a senior fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and a non-resident fellow at Georgetown University. She has received multiple awards, including the Presidential Distinguished Service Award (twice), the Secretary’s Diplomacy for Freedom Award, the Trainor Award for Excellence in the Conduct of Diplomacy, and the PEN/Benenson Courage Award. She lives in the Washington, DC, area.

“Absorbing… During the [impeachment] hearings, Yovanovitch sounded calm and self-assured, but in her book she describes how scared she was…. That I arrived at this moment in the book with my heart in my throat speaks to how skillfully Yovanovitch narrates her life story." — Jennifer Szalai, New York Times

"Subtle and engaging ... Yovanovitch emerges from this narrative as a model of what America should want in its diplomats: courageous, steadfast, removed from politics to the point of naivete." — David Ignatius, The Washington Post

"Lessons From the Edge is a brilliant, engaging, and inspiring memoir from one of America’s wisest and most courageous diplomats. More than just a vivid exposition of the events leading up to Donald Trump’s first impeachment, Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch has written a timely and authoritative account of U.S. policy towards the former Soviet Union. This book is essential reading for current policymakers, aspiring diplomats, and anyone who cares about America’s role in the world.” — Madeleine K. Albright, former US Secretary of State

“A front row seat to the disinformation campaign that ultimately saw [Yovanovitch] removed from her last overseas post… [Lessons From the Edge] also provides insight into the post-Soviet Union politics of Russia and Ukraine… And it pays homage to Foreign Service Officers (FSOs) and the work they do, and a career that still remains a mystery to many Americans.” — NPR.org

“We’ve never needed [Yovanovitch’s] insights more than we do right now.” — Ali Velshi, The Rachel Maddow Show

“A superbly crafted and intimately revealing self-portrait of a true hero of American diplomacy.… Wherever her diplomatic missions took her, Yovanovitch epitomized foreign service office philosophy, hewing to the principle of representing American ideals and policies with dignity and integrity.” — Booklist (starred review)

“Yovanovitch's memoir is the right book at the right time as readers try to make sense of what's happening in Ukraine.” — USA Today

“Ambassador Yovanovitch’s dismissal from post in Kyiv marked a cruel end to the illustrious career of one of the most respected diplomats in the U.S. Foreign Service. It also helped spark a chain of events that led to Donald Trump’s first impeachment. This memoir, at turns moving and gripping and always inspiring, is a powerful testament to a uniquely American life well-lived and a remarkable career of dedicated public service at the highest levels of government.” — Fiona Hill, Senior Fellow, the Brookings Institution, and New York Times best-selling author of There Is Nothing for You Here: Finding Opportunity in the Twenty-First Century

“Timely and telling, as well as a fine story of a life in national service.” — The Guardian

“Captivating… a compelling memoir of diplomatic service behind the old Iron Curtain.” — Kirkus Reviews

“First through the breach, Ambassador Yovanovitch showed Americans what courage and patriotism looks like. More than essential reading, Lessons from the Edge is thoroughly engaging and impossible to put down, showing us how an introverted career diplomat overcame the most vicious of smear campaigns to become a foreign service legend.” — Congressman Adam Schiff

 “Written with the humility of a true public servant and a novelist’s eye for detail, Ambassador Yovanovitch’s memoir takes readers inside the fast-paced world of modern diplomacy and lays bare the rot and corruption of the Trump administration. Lessons From the Edge offers a sobering account of the abuse of power at the highest levels of our government, but also provides inspiring insights into how public servants with a commitment to justice and democracy can safeguard and help preserve our system.” 
William S. Cohen, former US Secretary of Defense 

“When Senator McCain and I visited Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch in Ukraine in 2016, I saw up close her steadfast dedication to our country. And over the next four years, the world saw that her commitment to combating corruption and defending democracy knew no borders. Her memoir is a testament both to the importance of diplomacy and her own strength of character—even in the most trying of circumstances.” 
Senator Amy Klobuchar

“Diplomats are the military’s indispensable partners—the protectors of the protectors. In this riveting, fast-paced account of her thirty-three years in the U.S. Foreign Service, Marie Yovanovitch reveals how our diplomats serve as the front line of our national security. She convincingly argues that active U.S. engagement overseas makes for a better world and a more secure America, and she sounds the alarm about the threats we face from an increasingly emboldened Russia. Lessons from the Edge is a must-read for anyone interested in understanding how best to advance U.S. interests abroad.” 
General John Abizaid (US Army, Ret.), former commander of US Central Command, and former senior defense adviser to Ukraine

“Marie Yovanovitch is famous for her integrity and honesty at the impeachment hearings recounted here, but this book is much more. It is also a story of how the daughter of immigrants overcame gender discrimination to become an American ambassador. It is an engaging tale.”  — Joseph S. Nye, professor, Harvard University, and author of Do Morals Matter?: Presidents and Foreign Policy from FDR to Trump

“A gripping account … Full of shrewd insights and bitter ironies, Yovanovitch’s saga offers a revealing insider’s take on the labyrinth of foreign policy and on one of the most sordid episodes of Trump’s presidency.” — Publishers Weekly



THERE IS NOTHING FOR YOU HERE, by Hill, NOTE: Meeting Online

Women's Biography
Monday, July 10, 7:30 pm

The Women's Biography Book Group is led by Doris Feinsilber and meets the 2nd Monday of each month at 7:30 p.m. The book group is meeting online. Participants limited to 20 sign ups. Please contact bookgroups@politics-prose for information.

There Is Nothing for You Here: Finding Opportunity in the Twenty-First Century By Fiona Hill Cover Image

There Is Nothing for You Here: Finding Opportunity in the Twenty-First Century (Paperback)

$21.99


In Stock—Click for Locations
Politics and Prose at 5015 Connecticut Avenue NW
2 on hand, as of Jun 25 1:20am
Politics and Prose at The Wharf (610 Water St SW)
1 on hand, as of Jun 17 2:20pm
Politics and Prose at Union Market (1324 4th Street NE)
1 on hand, as of Jun 25 1:35am

"This book has a miraculous quality.... As a memoir this is hard to put down; if you are seeking a better American future you should pick it up.”—Timothy Snyder, New York Times best-selling author of On Tyranny

INSTANT NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER | A celebrated foreign policy expert and key impeachment witness reveals how declining opportunity has set America on the grim path of modern Russia—and draws on her personal journey out of poverty, as well as her unique perspectives as an historian and policy maker, to show how we can return hope to our forgotten places.

Fiona Hill grew up in a world of terminal decay. The last of the local mines had closed, businesses were shuttering, and despair was etched in the faces around her. Her father urged her to get out of their blighted corner of northern England: “There is nothing for you here, pet,” he said.  

 The coal-miner’s daughter managed to go further than he ever could have dreamed. She studied in Moscow and at Harvard, became an American citizen, and served three U.S. Presidents. But in the heartlands of both Russia and the United States, she saw troubling reflections of her hometown and similar populist impulses. By the time she offered her brave testimony in the first impeachment inquiry of President Trump, Hill knew that the desperation of forgotten people was driving American politics over the brink—and that we were running out of time to save ourselves from Russia’s fate. In this powerful, deeply personal account, she shares what she has learned, and shows why expanding opportunity is the only long-term hope for our democracy.

“Of every book written by anybody associated with the Trump administration, in any way, [this] is absolutely the one to read.”—Rachel Maddow  

New York Times Bestseller | A Washington Post Bestseller | A Washington Post Notable Book of the Year | Financial Times Best Book of the Year

FIONA HILL is the Robert Bosch Senior Fellow at the Center on the United States and Europe in the Foreign Policy program at the Brookings Institution. From 2017 to 2019, she served as deputy assistant to the president and senior director for European and Russian affairs on the National Security Council. From 2006 to 2009, she served as national intelligence officer for Russia and Eurasia at the National Intelligence Council. She has researched and published extensively on issues related to Russia, the Caucasus, Central Asia, regional conflicts, energy, and strategic issues. Coauthor of Mr. Putin: Operative in the Kremlin and The Siberian Curse: How Communist Planners Left Russia Out in the Cold, she holds a master’s degree in Soviet studies and a doctorate in history from Harvard University and a master’s in Russian and modern history from St. Andrews University in Scotland. She also has pursued studies at Moscow’s Maurice Thorez Institute of Foreign Languages. Hill is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and lives in the Washington, DC, area.

Product Details ISBN: 9780063269088
ISBN-10: 0063269082
Publisher: Mariner Books
Publication Date: May 16th, 2023
Pages: 448
Language: English

“No one in the West understands Russia's strategic thinking, Vladimir Putin's strategic ambitions, as well as [Fiona] Hill." — Ezra Klein, The Ezra Klein Show

“The rare Trump insider memoir that doesn’t obsess over Trump . . . As it turns out, we should have paid more attention to Hill’s life story. Though her book does feature first-person accounts of Trump and his inner circle, There Is Nothing for You Here is a more ambitious and personal effort.”  — Washington Post

“Riveting…compelling…Hill deftly combines three books into one to great effect…This is not a kiss-and-tell account, but what she does relate of her interactions with the president is in every case worth telling.” — Foreign Affairs

“Hill is a lucid writer, delivering her reminiscences in a vivid and wry style. . . . with immediacy, tenderness and a good bit of gallows humor.”   — New York Times

"Thoughtful...compelling....While other Trump-era memoirs have focused solely on the carnival, Hill's scope pans out to the wounded country that put him in office, and then wider still, across the Atlantic to Britain and then across Europe to Russia." — The Guardian

"Full of startling and unsettling insights into how Trump dealt with foreign leaders and his ‘autocrat envy.’ Hill’s book is also a compelling memoir about her journey from a working-class background in northern England to the corridors of power in Washington. Her background gives her particular insight into the social and economic forces driving the rise of populism in the US, UK and Russia.” — Gideon Rachman, “Best books of 2021,” Financial Times 

“The alarm [Hill] sounds is urgent . . . She sees striking similarities between the impoverished region of her roots and disadvantaged areas of both America and Russia. . . . Her journey from disadvantaged origins to success has echoes of the bestselling tales of Tara Westover’s Educated and J.D. Vance’s Hillbilly Elegy.”  — The Economist

“This book has a miraculous quality. Fiona Hill has transformed her own predicaments in the Trump administration into a prescription for a better America. Known as an outstanding expert on Russia and an exemplary public servant, she reveals herself here as a wise observer and a beautiful writer. As a memoir this is hard to put down; if you are seeking a better American future you should pick it up.”  — Timothy Snyder, Yale University, New York Times best-selling author of On Tyranny: Twenty Lessons from the Twentieth Century  

“[An] ambitious, immensely compelling memoir, Hill interweaves her interesting life story with events and issues she has continued to observe during her career . . . The author persuasively argues that America may be heading in a similar direction to Russia unless we address the crucial challenges facing much of the country, specifically regarding education, health care, and job opportunities. Drawing insightful parallels between Trump and Putin, she unpacks how the threat of populism can quickly undermine democracy . . . A shrewd, absorbing memoir that casts a sharp eye on America's future while offering feasible solutions for change.” — Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

"Valuable and riveting . . . Hill’s personal, professional and political lives form a coherent whole so that each part illuminates the other . . . a memoir that will give pleasure to readers today — and will be an important document for historians of the future.”  — Financial Times

"In this captivating chronicle of her improbable life, Fiona Hill takes us from a Northern England of idled coal mines and deindustrialization to Trump’s Oval Office, demonstrating how individual biography can illuminate far broader issues of world affairs. Her book represents a stern and essential warning about the global threats to democracy and their root causes in a worldwide crisis of opportunity."  — Drew Gilpin Faust, President Emerita and Arthur Kingsley Porter University Professor, Harvard University 

“A story told with self-deprecating humor and kindness . . . Unlike other tell-all authors from the Trump administration, [Hill] isn’t obsessed with the scandalous. Much like her measured but riveting testimony in Trump’s first impeachment, the book offers a more sober, and thus perhaps more alarming, portrait of the 45th president. If Hill’s tone is restrained, it is damning by a thousand cuts. It lays out how a career devoted to understanding and managing the Russian threat crashed into her revelation that the greatest threat to America comes from within.” — Associated Press

"A sobering analysis of the toxic environment Trump and his aides created and how it continues to threaten democracy’s very existence.”  — Booklist (starred review)

“Fiona Hill knows all too well the threats posed by Russia and the Trump administration, but this well-written, analytically sophisticated autobiography is focused on an even more dangerous crisis: the vast and growing opportunity gap in the United States and much of the rest of the world. Her personal story of upward mobility from the distressed coal fields of northern England to the White House is, as she knows, ‘a fluke.’ That is precisely what makes this remarkable book must reading for anyone concerned about our country’s future.”  — Robert D. Putnam, Professor of Public Policy, Harvard Kennedy School, and New York Times best-selling author of Our Kids: The American Dream in Crisis and The Upswing: How America Came Together a Century Ago and How We Can Do It Again  

"Lucid . . . a forceful argument for investing in education to lower the barriers to opportunity . . . Readers will come for the insider details about Trump, but stay for the keen analysis." — Publishers Weekly (starred review)

“A masterful book with remarkable depth and breadth…There Is Nothing for You Here is a wonderful and compelling read that interweaves its author’s amazing personal journey with deep analysis of some of the most urgent issues facing capitalism, democracy, and international diplomacy today. It is a rare and remarkable combination.” — Carol Graham, Leo Pasvolsky Senior Fellow, Brookings Institution and College Park Professor, University of Maryland School of Public Policy

"Fiona Hill’s talents took her from England to Putin’s Russia and to the Trump White House. She has lived through the social and economic disintegration of all three countries, and has the close-up experience to draw new parallels between Putin and Trump. A candid, insightful, and disturbing story.” — Sir Angus Deaton, Nobel Prize winner and co-author of the New York Times best-selling Deaths of Despair and the Future of Capitalism



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