Greece: Biography of a Modern Nation Pocketbok – 4 Juni 2021
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Opening with the birth of the Greek nation-state, which emerged from encounters between Christian Europe and the Ottoman Empire, Roderick Beaton carries his story into the present moment and Greece's contentious post-recession relationship with the rest of the European Union. Through close examination of how Greeks have understood their shared identity, Beaton reveals a centuries-old tension over the Greek sense of self. How does Greece illuminate the difference between a geographically bounded state and the shared history and culture that make up a nation?
A magisterial look at the development of a national identity through history, Greece: Biography of a Modern Nation is singular in its approach. By treating modern Greece as a biographical subject, a living entity in its own right, Beaton encourages us to take a fresh look at a people and culture long celebrated for their past, even as they strive to build a future as part of the modern West.
"By treating modern Greece as a biographical subject, a living entity in its own right, Beaton encourages the reader to take a fresh look at the people and culture so celebrated for their past, even as they strive to build a future as part of the modern West."
-- "National Herald"
"As Beaton argues in Greece, his splendid new book, 'Greece and the modern history of the Greek nation matter, far beyond the bounds of the worldwide Greek community.' . . . Beaton's biographical conceit keeps the narrative focused, lively, and clear."-- "Wall Street Journal"
"Beaton makes clear that Greece belongs to the world rather than just itself. And this is why the country still matters, and probably always will."
-- "Spectator, on the UK Edition"
"Beaton's 'story of Greece as a modern nation' or rather his 'celebrity biography' of the country is well-written, lavishly illustrated, important, and timely."-- "CounterPunch"
"Beaton's history of modern Greece is a scholarly and elegant introduction to this beguiling country. Serious students of history should read it, and no visitor to Greece should leave home without it."-- "Literary Review, on the UK edition"
"Beaton's sweeping, sympathetic history of modern Greece illustrates the tensions between two kinds of nationalism--and ultimately, between two kinds of freedom. . . . It ought immediately to become the standard history of the modern nation."
-- "American Interest"
"The claims of Greek antiquity on European consciousness have always outweighed those of the modern Greek nation. But Beaton argues that Greeks have been pioneers in modern times too, and that the nation's modern contribution to the identity of Europe should be recognized and understood."-- "Times Literary Supplement"
"The lands, waters, winds, islands, and light of present-day Hellas tell an elemental story that reaches back to pre-historic times. Beaton's biography of the modern nation of Greece offers a richly textured, highly readable account of the tumultuous yet fascinating history that took place in this wondrous corner of the world during the past three centuries. One cannot help but be captivated by it."
--Robert Pogue Harrison, author of Juvenescence: A Cultural History of Our Age
"The most impressive achievement of Beaton's book is the way that he captures the full dimensions of Greece's recent troubles by setting them in the context of the two centuries since the 1821-32 war of national independence. Beaton sheds light on recurrent patterns of political conflict, social change and economic upheaval to which most non-Greek policymakers and commentators during the 2010-18 debt crisis were too busy or--less forgivably--too ignorant to pay attention. . . . Few scholars are better qualified to treat such themes than Beaton, one of the English-speaking world's leading authorities on modern Greek culture. . . . His new book--judicious, well-researched and commendably up-to-date--deserves to be the standard general history of modern Greece in English for years to come."-- "Financial Times, on the UK Edition"
"This is a welcome and informative read for scholars, students, and travelers by a master of Greek history and literature, an act of love by an accomplished Philhellene, highly recommended to travelers and other readers."--S. Bowman "Choice"
2019 Best Books in History-- "Financial Times, on the UK Edition"
- Utgivare : University of Chicago Press (4 Juni 2021)
- Språk : Engelska
- Pocketbok : 488 sidor
- ISBN-10 : 022680979X
- ISBN-13 : 978-0226809793
Populäraste recensionerna från andra länder
In what must be the shortest 400 pages I’ve read in a long time, professor Roderick Beaton takes you from the first stirrings of independence all the way to the farce / tragedy of the current crisis, always with an eye to both what’s remained constant and to what distinguishes the various phases of this historical progression from one another.
So you’re never allowed to forget that Greece was carved out of a side of a larger empire by its protectors in London, Paris and Moscow, or of the fact that one head of the Byzantine eagle points east and the other west (my analogy, not the author’s), but you’re also steered through the rise and fall of the importance of the military (originally established by King Otto's Bavarians), the rise and fall of “the Great Idea,” and the change of the grand divide among Greeks from royalist vs. liberal, to communist vs. right-wing.
Additionally, the author addresses the many interpretations of what it’s meant to be Greek over the past 250 years and how that has been relevant to the modern history of the country. Inevitably, this is also the story of the leaders of the revolution, the state, its expansion, its divisions and its eventual maturing into a modern and vibrant democracy.
My family moved to Greece in 1971. I was only 5 when my grandpa led the family council on how to vote on the 1973 referendum about the King and I remember it like it was yesterday. I have equally vivid memories of the uprising at the Polytechnic school, the annual demonstrations in front of the US Embassy, the rise to power of PASOK and the creation of a leviathan of a state which no government since has had an inclination to curb.
So I thought I knew my country, but this book has made me understand that I was lucky enough to actually experience the most peaceful and balanced and democratic period of the whole two centuries.
I do have my criticisms, of course: Melina Merkouri gets mentioned here more times than Constantine Karamanlis, for example. It is he, rather than Venizelos, who is the most important Greek politician of the 20th century, in my view.
But that’s just my angle, and this is one of the best books I’ve read on any topic.
However, I have some concerns about the book. Greece suffered three major humanitarian disasters in the 20th century. First, the Asia Minor catastrophe is covered in barely two pages. Second, the extermination of nearly 50,000 of Salonica’s Jewish population is covered in barely half a page. Its shameful aftermath (e.g. building the Aristotelian University on what had been the Jewish cemetery is not covered at all). In fairness to Professor Beaton this might be because these events have been covered elsewhere. The third disaster, the continuum of WWII and the Civil War, however, is covered adequately and fairly.
In the sections covering Cyprus there appears to be no reference to O’Malley and Craig’s The Cyprus Conspiracy. Well before the 1974 invasion, the Turkish minority had made the island ungovernable. Not surprising when a minority of 18% had 30% of the seats in parliament AND a veto. More should have been made of this. My final concern is Professor Beaton’s kindness towards SYRIZA. Confession: I was one of Prof. Beaton’s less assiduous students at Birmingham University, and I remember him as kind and decent, which may explain his great restraint regarding Tsipras and his cohorts. It is not a question Left versus Right. SYRIZA’s period of governance was The Lord of the Flies where the schoolboys had taken over the island. Greece had elected, in its gravest metapolitefsi moment, a half-educated, unemployed, workshy squatter whose whole life had been dedicated to protest for protest’s sake. When he had to make his first decision in life, he betrayed the referendum, his colleagues and the country, eventually taking the Troika suppository where the sun don’t shine. And the Greeks re-elected him and his far-right ANEL coalition partner! The period January to August 2015 is worthy of a PhD in itself.
On the subject of PhDs, Professor Beaton references will allow aspiring doctoral candidates plenty of opportunities for further research e.g. the people who shaped 19th century Greece; to what extent was the civil war an ethnic conflict between Greek and Slav speakers (there is a PhD thesis on this, The Pawn that would be King: Macedonian Greeks in the Greek Civil War 1946-49); and pervasive nepotism – the Mitsotakis, Karamanlis and Papandreou families as well as Pangalos and Merkouri to name but few.
and it explains the history in a balanced way.
In many histories from Greek writers you can feel that the narrative is on one side, but that does not happen here.
The narrative is a balanced one and it gives credit to many political readers, it explains the challenges and in many cases the rational behind their positions and actions
Professor tries to show the themes which are almost always present at every major period of the Greek modern history.
Last Professor explains the key challenges that Greeks and their leaders faced at every period.
This history does not have a lot on culture or economy, but it is definitely a very good book which can be read easily.
I highly recommend this book to anyone interested in the history of Greece.