Advance Praise for THIS IS HOW IT BEGINS
Matthew Goodman -
In this remarkable novel, Joan Dempsey brings together contemporary America and Holocaust-era Warsaw to tell a riveting tale of family secrets, civil rights, and the persistence of memory. Here are pastors and politicians, teachers and activists, historians and spies—all of them, on every side of the cultural divide, imbued with genuine humanity. This Is How It Begins is an essential story for our time.
New York Times bestselling author of Eighty Days: Nellie Bly and Elizabeth Bisland's History-Making Race Around the World
Mary Rechner -
Joan Dempsey’s debut novel explores the limits of empathy and the unpredictability of violence. Thoughtful people who reach opposing conclusions are at the all-too-human center of This Is How It Begins, a prescient road map for our times.
Frank O. Smith -
Joan Dempsey’s debut novel is a compelling story that seems to rise out of the rancor of current national headlines—about hate, bigotry, and intolerance. The story has deep roots in the darkness of the horrific persecution and betrayal of Jews during World War II. Twin story lines—then and now—illuminate how close we yet remain to the hellish cauldron that fear enflames.
Author of Dream Singer, a Bellwether Prize finalist
Judith Frank -
Dempsey brings her characters to life with equal parts empathy and tough-mindedness, from the three generations of the Zeilonka family—refugees, artists, politicians, teachers—to the pastor and radio host striving together to remake the United States into a Christian nation. A riveting story of the clash between LGBT and fundamentalist Christian cultures, and the way its violence reawakens historical trauma, this striking debut is essential reading for our times.
Author of All I Love and Know
Eva Fogelman, PH. D. - Joan Dempsey’s spellbinding novel illuminates how the tides of history repeat themselves with different characters. When a group is targeted for discrimination there will be resisters and rescuers, but mostly bystanders. This is How It Begins superbly demonstrates the clandestine nature of rescue, and the irony that those who ought to be rewarded for their conscience and courage remain hidden, and live in fear. Reading this moving adventure compels us to bear witness to the past and present and think about our own complacency to everyday discrimination in our midst. Author of the Pulitzer Prize nominee Conscience and Courage: Rescuers of Jews During the Holocaust