Book Alert: Daughter of the Cold War (Russian and East European Studies)

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Grace Kennan Warnecke’s memoir is about a life lived on the edge of history. Daughter of one of the most influential diplomats of the twentieth century, wife of the scion of a newspaper dynasty and mother of the youngest owner of a major league baseball team, Grace eventually found her way out from under the shadows of others to forge a dynamic career of her own.

Born in Latvia, Grace lived in seven countries and spoke five languages before the age of eleven. As a child, she witnessed Hitler’s march into Prague, attended a Soviet school during World War II, and sailed the seas with her father. In a multi-faceted career, she worked as a professional photographer, television producer, and book editor and critic. Eventually, like her father, she became a Russian specialist, but of a very different kind. She accompanied Ted Kennedy and his family to Russia, escorted Joan Baez to Moscow to meet with dissident Andrei Sakharov, and hosted Josef Stalin’s daughter on the family farm after Svetlana defected to the United States. While running her own consulting company in Russia, she witnessed the breakup of the Soviet Union, and later became director of a women’s economic empowerment project in a newly independent Ukraine.

Daughter of the Cold War is a tale of all these adventures and so much more. This compelling and evocative memoir allows readers to follow Grace’s amazing path through life – a whirlwind journey of survival, risk, and self-discovery through a kaleidoscope of many countries, historic events, and fascinating people.

 

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Grace Kennan Warnecke’s memoir, Daughter of the Cold War describes her unique and extraordinary upbringing as the daughter of famed U.S. diplomat George Kennan. Grace’s life has been an incredible and at times difficult and dangerous journey through history. Her father became the U.S. Ambassador to the Soviet Union and was the architect of the U.S. policy on containment of Russian expansion during the Cold War. Born in Latvia, Grace lived in seven countries and spoke five languages before the age of twelve. As a child, she witnessed Hitler’s march into Prague, and attended public school in Moscow during World War II.

Grace forged her own brand of citizen diplomacy at a time when few women held prominent positions with the U.S. Foreign Service. Grace ultimately became a Russia specialist proving that when governments fail to communicate, it’s up to their citizens to keep talking.

Grace escorted Joan Baez to Moscow to meet with dissident Andrei Sakharov, served as Ted Kennedy’s interpreter when the Senator travelled to Russia to meet with Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev, and harbored Josef Stalin’s daughter on the Kennan family farm in East Berlin, Pennsylvania after Svetlana defected to the United States.

While running her own consulting company SOVUS in Russia, Grace witnessed first-hand the breakup of the Soviet Union. She had a face-to-face business meeting with a young Vladimir Putin. Grace’s accomplishments include becoming director of a women’s economic empowerment project that created women-run small businesses in a newly independent Ukraine.

Ms. Warnecke was founding executive director of the American-Soviet Youth Orchestra and associate producer of the prize-winning PBS documentary The First Fifty Years: Reflections on U.S.-Soviet Relations. As a professional photographer she was senior editor of A Day in the Life of the Soviet Union. She has served as an election observer in Ukraine, Azerbaijan and Georgia.

Grace is chairman of the board of the National Committee on American Foreign Policy. She is a former fellow of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, and a member of the advisory council of the Kennan Institute.

She lives in New York and Martha’s Vineyard.

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Book Release: Take Off Your Shoes: One Man’s Journey from the Boardroom to Bali & Back

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The Eat, Pray, Love for busy executives, Take Off Your Shoesinvites the reader to join a journey of self-rediscovery.

 

 

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A hard-charging CEO of a large enterprise, Ben Feder discovers that he is losing the very things that sustained him over his years of business success. Unsettled by his insight and determined to rebuild family relationships and rejuvenate his sense of purpose, he risks his career on a life-altering physical and emotional journey. Together with his wife and children, Feder sets off for an exotic island on a self-prescribed sabbatical year. That experience transforms them all.

If 10% Happier made you more mindful, and Wild more adventuresome, Take Off Your Shoes will ground you and help you find your soul.

The writing is honest and moving, baring the author’s innermost struggles and fears, and enticing the reader to share his quest. As Feder navigates the thrills and pitfalls of his time away, he draws us into remarkable examinations of values and priorities in adult life.

 

 

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The former CEO of Take Two Interactive, publisher of the monster-hit video game, Grand Theft Auto, Ben Feder’s hard charging, high-performance business life was seriously impacting his personal and family health. That’s when he made the bold, audacious, and potentially career-ending decision to travel with his family to Bali on an eight-month sabbatical.

In Take Off Your Shoes, Feder asks and answers the question: Could he—could anyone—find a way to live a harmonious and balanced life and simultaneously achieve substantial success?

Illuminating and inspiring, Take Off Your Shoes is Feder’s brutally honest and revealing journey of self-rediscovery, his heartfelt attempt to find personal fulfillment and rebuild family relationships before he loses them forever.

Sharing his experiences on changing a life of doing to one of being and meaning, Feder narrates how he:
  • Deepened his connections to his wife and children
  • Lost 20 pounds, moving his health stats from the red zone to normal levels
  • Tackled life’s challenges in new ways, seeing differently through the practices of art and yoga
  • Became a better father, offering his children a broader worldview and freeing them from unnecessary stressors, so they could engage, play, and create
  • Gained a fresh perspective on corporate life that he applies daily, returning to his life in New York City a better, more thoughtful leader

Witty and wise, Take Off Your Shoes provides insightful guidance for anyone facing change, making a tough decision, or weighing a next step in life.

 

 

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About the author:
Ben Feder is President of International Partnerships for the U.S. at Tencent, the Chinese Internet titan, and formerly was CEO of Take Two interactive, the publisher of the smash video game hits, Red Dead Redemption, Grand Theft Auto, and NBA 2K.  He serves on the boards of directors of public and private companies in the media and entertainment industries and is a director of Save a Child’s Heart, a nonprofit that works globally to rescue children with congenital heart defects. A Harvard Business School graduate, Ben lives in New York City with his wife, Victoria, and their four children.