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Stathis N. Kalyvas, Modern Greece

Stathis N. Kalyvas, Modern Greece, What Everyone Needs to Know, OUP, 2015, pp. 242

You can’t really trust an historian who tells you (p.66) that Lloyd George was prime minister of the UK in 1913, but this is not history as such, but an historical essay aimed at understanding Greece’s economic and political traumas in the Eurozone. It tells of seven great crises in the two centuries of the Greek state, from the initial defeats in 1819-25 in the War of Independence to the post-2008 economic collapse and including the disastrous “Anatolian Campaign ” which followed the First World War. This led to one of the great refugee crises of the twentieth century and to the final abandonment of the “Great Idea” of reviving the maximal version of the Greek world.

Kalyvas argues that in each of these crises the Greeks have performed rather badly, but come out of it rather well largely because of international support and sympathy based on an image of Greece. It is, if nothing else, a broad and clear thesis.

Lincoln Allison

( Published in Times Higher Education in 2019. )