Posted on February 9, 2022 at 6:00 am
If I were going to write a prescription for my pandemic-weary soul, I would pen it for some excitement, intrigue, hope, and reconciliation. One way to experience these is to be safely transported to another time and place by a skilled storyteller. The library has two such experiences for you.
WSU professor Matthew Avery Sutton’s book Double Crossed: The Missionaries Who Spied for the United States During the Second World War is a fabulous work of nonfiction. I’ve read about a third of it so far. The library has multiple copies available for check out.
Sutton brings to life the history of missionaries, priests, and rabbis who repurposed their skills to carry out espionage, assassinations, and bombings during WWII. Some of these operatives went on to play a role in establishing the institution what we now know as the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).
This spy narrative with unlikely protagonists makes for a thoroughly engrossing escape of a read.
Sutton’s work is very accessible, and I appreciate the opportunity to ponder big, over-arching questions as well as poignant, specific questions, such as:
If those questions sound fascinating, you won’t want to miss Sutton’s virtual visit:
Double Crossed: The American Missionary Spies of WWII
Wednesday, Feb 16, 7–8:30pm | REGISTER
Sutton discusses the research that went into Double Crossed and will take questions from the audience. Whether you have read the book or not, this evening will draw you into a dramatic and thought-provoking story from the WWII era—just the sort of non-COVID excitement and intrigue we need.
Operatives, Spies, and Saboteurs: The Unknown Story of the Men and Women of World War II’s OSS, by Patrick K. O’Donnell
Like me, I bet many are suffering from conflict fatigue. It seems like lately I can’t start a conversation without tripping on a disagreement or stepping on a landmine of indignation and outrage.
I keep asking myself: How can we heal? How do we put ourselves back together?
Fortunately, an expert in forgiveness and reconciliation will be visiting the library for a virtual program soon.
In 2001, Rais Bhuiyan was shot in the face in a hate crime directed at perceived Arabs and Muslims. Bhuiyan lost the sight in his right eye, and 35 pellets remain embedded in the right side of his skull and face. Yet despite this very devastating attack, Bhuiyan publicly forgave his attacker and fought to prevent his eventual execution.
Bhuiyan’s virtual visit to the library sparks so many questions about hope, reconciliation, and his experiences:
You can hear Bhuiyan share his story, and maybe ask your own questions, during his virtual lecture:
One Second of Hate: A Story of Forgiveness
Thursday, Mar 10, 7–8:30pm | REGISTER
The Gift of Forgiveness: Inspiring Stories from Those Who Have Overcome the Unforgivable, by Katherine Schwarzenegger Pratt
High Conflict: Why We Get Trapped and How We Get Out, by Amanda Ripley
No Future Without Forgiveness, by Desmond Mpilo Tutu
Winter can be a difficult season during the best of times. If, like me, you need a little excitement amidst the gray, I hope you will attend these lectures. And perhaps, like what is shared in these true stories, we can make it through difficult times with equal parts grace and grit.
Both of these virtual programs are presented in partnership with Humanities Washington.