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The Greeks: The Land and People Since the War: A Land and People Since the War Mass Market Paperback – 25 May 2000
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About the Author
Professor James Pettifer is a member of the Oxford University History Faculty and St Cross College. He is a participant in the work of other academic institutions, principally the Historisches Seminar, Osteuropaische Geschichtein Zurich University,Switzerland.
He was born in Hereford, UK in 1949 and educated at Kings School Worcester, Hertford College Oxford and the Free University of West Berlin. He has been a senior member of St Antony's College Oxford and Visiting Professor at the Institute of Balkan Studies, Thessalonica and was a Honorary Fellow of the Department of Greek and Byzantine Studies, Birmingham University, UK.
From 2002 to 2006 he was a Visiting Professor in the State University in Tetovo,FYROM/Republic of Macedonia. In 2007 he was Stanley.J.Seeger Research Fellow at Princeton University, New Jersey, USA. From 2000 until its abolition in 2010 he also worked in the Conflict Studies Research Centre (RAB)of the Defence Academy of the UK. He is the author of a number of well known books on the Balkans and regional politics and history.
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However this gives a chance to take a deeper look at the land and its people and the "living" country of Greece, the Greece that Greeks live in, not the tourist traps that we are so familiar with.
Many of us in "Western" Europe often may not even realise that in fact modern Greece is very young state of about 150 years old. A tiny country on the edge of Europe that came out of a 500 year old dark age ( occupation by the Turks ) to find itself in modern Europe. Since then it has had to struggle with countless disasters and to fight against all odds and to try to keep itself at pace with the modern world.
I highly recommend this for anyone who is really interested in the country and its people and not just the sun and sea.
It is not an ordinary travel guide, it is not a description of beaches and resorts or mountains or other attractions.
But rather it is a book about a proud people, their history and their culture, and how they have come to be where they are today.
My only criticism would be that perhaps more emphasis could be placed on the positive aspects of modern Greek history and the successes of modern Greeks, rather than their past misfortunes.
This in no way should undermine or sweep under the carpet the hardships of the past. To the contrary my point is that the successes should be celebrated even more as they have come on the back of such a difficult past.
If one takes into account the particularly difficult history of modern Greece, then all the more remarkable their achievements seem to be.
In fact today for the first time in its recent history Greece as a country has been provided with a unique opportunity to develop economically beyond the reach of any of its neighbours, after all it is still the only Balkan country in the EU, and partially owing to the collapse of Communism and the chaos that followed, Greece is actually a haven of economic and yes, political stability in the region.
Therefore perhaps one must view Greece as a modern dynamic country, yes small and facing economic, social and other problems but then again which country doesn't.
My son read the book and said that it is a very good one.
I will read it over Christmas and make my comments and rate it, again later.
James writes more about Turkey and how bad this particular country is, more than about his main subject - the Greeks. This mistake is often done by anyone who prefers taking sides in the Aegean disputes.
When we write a book about the Irish should we concentrate more on the negative sides and deeds of the British or the Irish? When we discuss the Baltic history do we only discuss the negative sides of Russia to the area? Pettifier should reconsider the title of his book. I suggest to change it to "Greek Prejudice".
Not only the title of Pettifier's book is a failure but he also ignores several historical facts.
Pettifier does not reveal what happened in Cyprus BEFORE the invasion of 1974. Of course, Pettifier does not tell the background of Cyprus, because it would only show the cruel and chauvenist character of Greeks.
Pettifier tries to imply that Greeks never committed atrocities although they have, several times during the last 150 years attacked Turkey - NOT vice versa.
James ignores also the fact what happened BEFORE the Asia Minor "catastrophe" in 1922 when the Greek forces were pushed out of Asia for good. The three year war -- Greek aggression and invasion in Asia Minor was not a happy summer camp. What about the atrocities committed by the Greek soldiers in the towns (Yalova) on the shore of Marmara Sea in 1919-1922?
Naturally after 3 year torture and invasion by the Greek army, the Turks were "ripe" enough to push the Greeks out. You beat a child for 10 years and you expect him to treat you nicely after that? When giving details about Turkish atrocities, Pettifier should remember that his book was supposed to deal with the Greeks. His approcah is very traditional, the evil Turks, the great Greeks. Sad but true, his enthusiasm has no basis in reality.
Every story has two sides. Every story has also its past and background.
Read this book and grow your ignorance, touristic and naive view about Greece.
With Pettifier's attitude Greece and Turkey will always remain the big poor villages of the Meditarrenean. Only co-operation and facing the reality leads to development, friendship and stability between Greece and Turkey.
... Maybe James wants another Cyprus?
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