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Flowers-in-the-Gutter-Excerpt.pdf

Flowers in the Gutter (Dutton 2020) tells the true story of the Edelweiss Pirates, teenagers in Cologne, Germany who fought the Nazis by whatever means they could.

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About Kristina

Baltimore City

Kristina Gaddy's picture
     Kristina Gaddy is an award-winning writer and historian who believes in the power of narrative nonfiction to bring stories from the past to life in order to inform the world we live in today. Her writing explores and highlights forgotten and marginalized histories, and has appeared in journalism outlets including The Washington Post, Baltimore Sun, OZY, Bitch Magazine, Atlas Obscura, and Shore Monthly, as well as literary magazines like... more

Flowers in the Gutter

Flowers in the Gutter tells the true story of the Edelweiss Pirates, teenagers who resisted the Nazis.

Fritz, Gertrud, and Jean were classic outsiders, their clothes were different, their music was rebellious, and they weren’t afraid to fight. But they were also Germans living under Hitler, and every one of those acts could get them arrested or worse. As children in 1933, they saw their world change. Their earliest memories were of the Nazi rise to power and of their parents fighting Brownshirts in the streets, being sent to prison, or just disappearing.

As Hitler’s grip tightened, these three found themselves trapped in a nation whose government contradicted everything they believed in. And by the time they were teenagers, the Nazis expected them to be part of the war machine. Fritz, Gertrude, and Jean and hundreds like them said no. They grew bolder, painting anti-Nazi graffiti, distributing anti-war leaflets, and helping those persecuted by the Nazis. Their actions were always dangerous. The Gestapo pursued and arrested hundreds of Edelweiss Pirates. In World War II’s desperate final year, some Pirates joined in sabotage and armed resistance, risking the Third Reich’s ultimate punishment. This is their story.

The Midwife Problem

These stories come from my MFA thesis, titled The Midwife Problem. The project reflects on how U.S. women went from giving birth at home with a midwife to at a hospital with a doctor in the span of about twenty years.

  • CCVB - JHU.jpg

    Two women administer drops to a newborn's eyes to prevent blindness, c. 1905.
    Carolyn Conant Van Blarcom was a Hopkins-trained nurse who was a part of the crusade for safe childbirth in the Progressive Era.
  • The_Labor.pdf

    This story explores one moment in the life and work of Rosa Fineberg, a midwife who immigrated from Russia to Baltimore at the end of the 1800s. The essay was a finalist in Proximity Magazine's 2017 Narrative Journalize Prize issue.

    PDF icon The_Labor.pdf
  • BarbaricBirthExcerpt.pdf

    An excerpt of the story of Mrs.McK and the barbaric birth practice that existed before the invention of the C-section. Read more at OZY.com/flashback

    PDF icon BarbaricBirthExcerpt.pdf
  • TwilightSleepExcerpt.pdf

    What was life like before women could have epidurals? Read an excerpt from a piece on Twilight Sleep, the short-lived pain-management phenomenon, or read the full piece on OZY.com/flashback.

    PDF icon TwilightSleepExcerpt.pdf
  • NecessaryEvilExcerpt.pdf

    "A Necessary Evil: The Midwives of Anne Arundel County" explores how midwives were treated in Maryland's rural areas. The excerpt from my MFA thesis won the 2015 Julia Rogers Research Prize from Goucher College.

    PDF icon NecessaryEvilExcerpt.pdf

Swap: Essays on Cancer

Cancer upends lives. These essays represent diverse perspectives on cancer, from my own experience being diagnosed with leukemia in my 20s, my friends' experiences, and stories from history.

  • DeathwithDignity.pdf

    I saw the video of a young woman who wanted to die on her own terms, and I knew exactly how she felt, so I wrote an essay for The Washington Post.

    PDF icon DeathwithDignity.pdf
  • BreastCancerStudy.pdf

    Cancer patients look for magic, a cure when the odds are poor. Thousands of women were duped by a doctor who had exploited Black women in post-Apartheid South Africa. Read more at OZY.com/flashback.

    PDF icon BreastCancerStudy.pdf

Connect with Kristina

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