In a world where so much news is sanitised and cleaned up before it hits the mass media this short book / long essay bucks the trend. It feels more John Steinbeck than John Snow. It takes the reader right into the heart of the serious issues found in modern Greece through a seres of vignettes. It reminded me a little of Michael Herr's Dispatches Dispatches (Picador)
The theme throughout is how the people of Greece are suffering and adjusting from the aggressive austerity measures. They are very real stories of immigrants, artists and journalists and others, set to the background of the rise of the violent far right.
The illustrations bring the stories to life in a very personal way that would likely not be achieved through photography.
Why only 4 stars.
In the middle of the essay the story becomes slightly self-obsessed, which felt to me at odds with the rest of the writing. The second reason is there could have been a little more analysis as to the rise of the right. Indeed it would have been interesting to have heard the views of the right wing activists as well as the sympathisers.
However while written through the left-wing eyes of Laura Penny that should not put you off if you politics don't match, sometimes it is good to step out of the echo chamber.
Laura Penny has been involved with and an observer of the rise of the Occupy movement. A book in the same style, with a little more analysis would be a great book indeed.