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Eleni [Hardcover]

Nicholas Gage
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (37 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Mar 1983
"A devoted and brilliant achievement." The New York Review of Books

In 1948, as civil war ravaged Greece, children were abducted and sent to communist "camps" behind the Iron Curtain. Eleni Gatzoyiannis, 41, defied the traditions of her small village and the terror of the communist insurgents to arrange for the escape of her three daughters and her son, Nicola. For that act, she was imprisoned, tortured, and executed in cold blood. Nicholas Gage joined his father in Massachusetts at the age of nine and grew up to be a top investigative reporter for the New York Times. And finally he returned to Greece to uncover the story he cared about most -- the story of his mother's heroic life and tragic death.


From the Paperback edition.


Product details

  • Hardcover: 470 pages
  • Publisher: Random House Inc (T); 1 edition (Mar 1983)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0394520939
  • ISBN-13: 978-0394520933
  • Product Dimensions: 23.4 x 15.5 x 4.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (37 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,172,575 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Review

"A devoted and brilliant achievement. One of the rare books in which the power of art recreates the historical truth" (New York Review of Books)

"Exciting and harrowing... An amazing achievement" (Patrick Leigh Fermor)

"I cannot think of another book that so compellingly demonstrates the gradual deterioration of human values in the name of lofty goals. Minutely observed and eloquently rendered" (New York Times) --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

Book Description

'Not only a son's poignant memorial to his dead mother but an important work of history' - Observer --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
4.8 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
33 of 33 people found the following review helpful
By Cathy61
Format:Paperback
This is a truely great book. It tells a gripping and often harrowing story of a mother determined to protect her children from the ravages of the Greek civil War at all costs and ultimately her own life. This is a book I have read 3 times and it doesn't get any easier to read how Eleni was brutally tortured and murdered by her own people, just for the crime of protecting her children. Eleni conducted her life with love and dignity, she shows compassion for her neighbours and a willingness to forgive that is astounding. People she had known all of her life betray her through fear. This book teaches us the reality of life and death for the people of Greece through the Greek Civil War. However it is also a positive story of triumph over adversity. I highly recommend this book - you can't help but love every minute of it. It is an emotional rollercoaster from start to finish but definitely a book you will not want to put down.
Nick Gage - how hard it must have been to re-live these memories, but I thank you for sharing your story. This is simply my favourite book of all time! There is also a DVD of the story, which although good - it cannot live up to this truely wonderful, emotional book.
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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
By Lady Fancifull TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback
This is an extraodinary book. The tragedy is that it is a story which needed to be told at all. It is a terrible and true account of what happens when ideology (of any persuasion) subsumes our sense of our own and each other's humanity. Though the events took place in Greece during the German occupation, and afterwards during the Greek civil war, it would be dangerous to assume that there aren't lessons here for us all, of whatever political, religious or cultural orientation. Although the story is particular to Greece during the Second World War and its aftermath, it is sadly a story which could have been told many times, with reference to different historical and geographical locations. We keep forgetting how often this story could have been told - how often it is being replayed in different parts of the world today, and how often it may be repeated in the future.
I found myself shaken at the awful story Nicholas Gage had to tell, the terrible events his family experienced, and also so grateful that he did tell this tragic and also wonderful story. Like Wild Swans this is a book which sickens you with the realisation that any one of us, given the right (or wrong) situation might forget our common humanity so easily, and yet also serves as a wonderful testimonial to the existance of something deep, true and heroic in many ordinary people, that enables us sometimes to transcend the ego driven cruel way we can treat each other. Eleni's story is stark, tragic and bleak - but also shows the illuminating and transcending power of love, compassion and and truth.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful true story of epic proportions 16 Nov 1998
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
This book is the result of one man's quest to find the truth surrounding the execution of his mother by the Greek communists after WWII. It takes you through the life in a balkan village during the early part of this century, the fight with the Italians during WWII and the horrors of civil war in the ensueing struggle with the communists. It is a wonderful account of epic proportion, following the turmoils, betrayals and heroism of the villagers centered on the author's family. Although long, it is engaging throughout and the attention to detail is flabergasting. Jumping to the present the ending is an almost unbearable cliffhanger. A wonderful book which is leaves you humbled and enriched. The best book I have read in years
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Simply, truly amazing! 27 July 2006
Format:Paperback
I have nothing more to add about the moral of the story. I just want to say that this book is a "must read"...!!! Gripping, compelling, amazing...! I was shocked the first time I read it and I am still shocked every time I re-read it!
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback
This remarkable book tells the true story of the last years in the life of Eleni Gatzoyiannis, a peasant woman living in a mountain village of Greece before she was executed by communist guerillas during the civil war that followed the country's liberation from german occupation after WWII.
In an attempt to uncover the reasons for his mother's death, the author puts together a vivid account of everyday life in one of Greece's poor mountain villages, the experience of german occupation, and the nightmares of the civil war as well as the events that led to his mothers death. The book is written like a novel -based on information from eyewitnesses, relatives and other contemporaries of Eleni- and is riveting as such, although clearly not important literature. The narrative is embellished by brief notes on the historical facts of the greek civil war as a backdrop to the unfolding story. Unfortunately, these notes suffer from a -perhaps understandable- lack of objectivity: by failing to mention the atrocities committed by extreme-right paramilitaries all over Greece before and during the civil war, the author omits a dimension of the war that is perhaps as important as the ideological fanaticism of the communist guerillas.
Why would I recommend this book to anyone who is not interested in a theme related to a small nation's recent history? For two reasons: Firstly, the book provides a thorough anatomy of society in a secluded, poor mountain village in the southern Balkans. Gage's depiction is likely to be interesting not just to social historians and anthropologists, but to any reader with general interests.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
great read interesting and also saw the movie very pleased
Published 22 days ago by pork pie pete
5.0 out of 5 stars A truly eye opening book
I couldn't put this book down. I didn't know such atrocities took place. How can people be so cruel.? I really felt for these people and Nicholas Gage. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Barbara
5.0 out of 5 stars OPEND MY EYES
I HAVE ALWAYS BEEN INTERESTED IN GREEK HISTORY ESPECIALLY DURING AND BETWEEN THE FIRST AND SECOND WORLD WARS. THIS BOOK IS SO NEAR TO THE AUTHORS HEART IT MAKES YOU WANT TO CRY
Published 2 months ago by RUTH LINNA GREEN
5.0 out of 5 stars Heartrendering story
I could not book this book down,he tells the story of how his mother and villagers suffered during the II World War and following Greek Civil War. Read more
Published 4 months ago by anon.
5.0 out of 5 stars A must read
A wonderful story about a truly exceptional woman. The book tells a story of a woman's love for her children during the war and also during the Greek civil war which I knew nothing... Read more
Published 6 months ago by joyce sayers
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic story of the hardship suffered by villagers in the mountains...
This is the harrowing account of the fate of a brave woman, tortured and killed by the communist guerillas in the period after the second world war, for helping her family to... Read more
Published 8 months ago by P. M. Elliott
5.0 out of 5 stars Eleni by Nicholas Gage
A very interesting book but as I am still only halfway through can only rate it on what I have read so far. Read more
Published 9 months ago by MG
5.0 out of 5 stars Eleni
I love this book this is my 2nd purchase as someone borrowed my other one and never returned. Wonderful story about rather a wonderful woman who died in such horrible... Read more
Published 11 months ago by Sunny
5.0 out of 5 stars An insight into the culture of the Greek people
Marvellous historical account of Greece. We go to Greece a lot and we found this book to be so informative and accurate. a good read.
Published 12 months ago by kathy
5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating and tragic.
I knew something about the Greek experience of the war, Patrick Leigh-Fermor and others have written about that, and I also knew a little about the Greek civil war that followed... Read more
Published 16 months ago by martin9325
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