Phyllis Bottome's anti-Nazi novel The Mortal Storm, based on her experiences of living in Germany, was a best-selling novel and blockbuster Hollywood film starring James Stewart. Unjustly faded into obscurity, her work is currently enjoying a revival. Hirsch describes Bottome's youth in England and America, and the young writer's struggle with tuberculosis that helped free her from the clutches of an overbearing mother through the necessity of travelling for treatment to places such as St. Moritz. Living in Austria, Germany, Switzerland, Italy, France, America, and Jamaica with her diplomat husband Ernan Forbes Dennis, her illustrious friends included Ezra Pound, the young Ian Fleming (whom she taught to write), Upton Sinclair, Max Beerbohm, Daphne du Maurier and Alfred Adler, whose biography she wrote. Her extraordinary life is as interesting as her work. After raising awareness of the Jewish plight in pre-war Germany, Bottome later dedicated her activism towards victims of colonial injustice and racism.
Dr. Pam Hirsch is a feminist academic who lectures in English Literature and Film History at the University of Cambridge and is a Fellow at Newnham College. She has previously published three books, Barbara Leigh Smith Bodichon: Feminist, Artist and Rebel (Chatto and Windus, 1998; paperback by Pimlico, 1999); Practical Visionaries: Women, Education and Social Progress 1790-1930 (co-edited with Mary Hilton; Pearson, 2000); Teacher Training at Cambridge: The initiatives of Oscar Browning and Elizabeth Hughes (co-authored with Dr. Mark McBeth; Frank Cass, 2004).