Join us for a virtual reading with Jessica Pearce Rotondi, author of What We Inherit, in conversation with Sarah Blakley-Cartwright on Tuesday, June 16th at 6:30 CDT.
** We will be gathering virtually on Zoom https://us02web.zoom.us/j/88912309434?pwd=TitGaEo0QkVpTnFMaXVjVGlTb1NhZz09
If you'd like to join and haven't used Zoom-- sign up for a free account and download Zoom prior to the meeting. It's pretty easy to get set up, but here's a linked video describing the process. **
In 1943, 19-year-old Edwin Pearce jumps from a burning B-17 bomber over Germany. Missing in action for months, his parents finally learn he is a prisoner of war in Stalag 17. Ed survives nearly three years in prison camp and a march across the Alps before returning home. Ed’s eldest son and namesake, Edwin “Jack,” follows his father into the Air Force. But on the night of March 29, 1972, Jack’s plane vanishes over the mountains bordering Vietnam and Ed’s past comes roaring into the present. What We Inherit is Rotondi’s story of her own hunt for answers as she retraces her grandfather’s 1973 path across Southeast Asia in search of his son.
An excavation of inherited trauma on a personal and national scale, What We Inherit reveals the power of a father’s refusal to be silenced and a daughter’s quest to rediscover her voice in the wake of loss. As Rotondi nears the last known place Jack was seen alive, she grows closer to understanding the mystery that has haunted her family for generations—and the destructive impact of a family secret so big it encompassed an entire war.
“A beautiful amalgam of memoir, travelogue, and investigative report that moves with the propulsive forward energy of a thriller. A haunting chronicle of loss and redemption." —Ron Chernow, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Alexander Hamilton
"I devoured this book in one breathless gulp. A seamless blend of love, loss and legacy, this utterly gripping account of one woman's search to uncover a family mystery in the wake of her mother's death is at once heartbreaking and gorgeously hopeful. This is exactly the kind of compulsively-readable memoir I'm always hoping to find, but so rarely do." —Claire Bidwell Smith, author of The Rules of Inheritance
Jessica Pearce Rotondi is a writer and editor living in Brooklyn. Her work has appeared in Atlas Obscura, Digiday, Greatist, The History Channel, The Huffington Post, and Refinery29. Previously, she was Senior Lifestyle Editor at The Huffington Post, Director of Content at SoulCycle, and a staff member at the PEN American Center, the world’s oldest literary human rights organization. Her first job in New York City was as a book publicist at St. Martin’s Press, where she had a “room of her own” in the Flatiron Building to fill with books. Jessica is a graduate of Brown University, where she received a research grant to conduct an oral history project on World War II. This is her first book.
Sarah Blakley-Cartwright is the publishing director of the Chicago Review of Books, associate editor of A Public Space, and host of the reading series at art gallery Karma. In 2011, she published the New York Times bestseller Red Riding Hood, which was also a film starring Amanda Seyfried and produced by Leonardo DiCaprio in the same year.