Before Adam Hochschild wrote King Leopold’s Ghost, his acclaimed book about the Belgian Congo, or celebrated histories about World War I, and the fight to free the slaves of the British Empire, the co-founder of Mother Jones penned a beautiful memoir about his father. The story, told with precision and restraint, is full of yearning and quiet reflection. Here is a bittersweet chapter about a son and his dad for you to appreciate on this Father’s Day. –Alex Belth
1939. WAR CLOUDS OVER EUROPE. Molotov and Ribbentrop shake hands to celebrate their pact. Germany prepares for the roundup of the Jews. From the American Dust Bowl, thousands of destitute farm families stream westward. On a New York terrace, there is a dinner dance one balmy summer evening. Among the guests, though they do not know each other yet, are two friends of the hosts. He is in his late forties; intelligent, people say, but stiff and restrained, an eternal bachelor. She has a warm, gentle beauty that catches the eye, but, like him, is clearly destined to remain single; all her friends have long since married.