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General News

Speaking Truth to Power

October 1, 2022

I am not now or have I ever been the editor or compiler of ‘The Greeks: The Triumphant Journey From the Ancient Greeks and the Greek Revolution of 1821 to Greek Americans (The National Herald: New York, First Edition 2001).’ When my identification as author of this book first appeared I conferred with Antonis H. Diamataris the actual editor, compiler, and publisher of this exceptional volume. Next, I sent letters to various Amazon.com offices on this matter with copies directed to Mr. Diamataris. I have never received any answers to my letters.

Why the Amazon.com website began and continues to cite me as the author of this volume is something I still cannot explain. For those of you who have not seen this volume I will offer a description of the volume’s content, and then, what I suspect – and that is all it is, a speculation – comment on how this state of affairs came about.

Given the popular response to the initial edition in 2001, two others appeared in 2002 and 2003 respectively. Having read the first edition and now with only the third edition, in my hands, it is clear that slight changes occurred from one edition to another. Consequently all of my remarks on the exact composition and content here will be based here on my review of the third edition.

To begin with the third edition opens with the full-text of the previous introductions of the first two editions along with a new one for this last volume. Antonis H. Diamataris as publisher and compiler of all three editions states not simply the purposes surrounding this volume’s compilation but also generously acknowledges the array of individuals who worked in consort to see this work to its final conclusion.

Crediting the generous support of the Stavros S. Niarchos Foundation for this volume’s existence is fully acknowledged along with the actions of specific individuals both at the Foundation and at the National Herald offices to see this volume through to publication.

An introductory essay asserts that there are three periods of Greek history most familiar to the average American: the Classical, the 1821 War of Independence, and the Great Migration of Greeks to the New World from 1870 to the 1920s. From this perspective the volume provides three distinct thematic chapter sections: ‘Ancient Greece and its contributions to civilization;’ ‘The Greek Revolution of 1821’, and finally ‘Epic in America: The Early Immigrants.’

Within Chapter 1 we find a ‘Chronology of Ancient Greece;’ ‘The Athenian Constitution’, ‘Pericles’s funeral oration; ‘The Republic by Plato (section 1)’; Demosthenes attacks his accuser’; ‘The Apology of Socrates’; ‘Medicine in Ancient Greece’; and finally ‘Ancient Greek Religious Thought Marks Christian Theology and Practice’.

Chapter 2 showcases ‘The Greek Revolution of 1821’ with the essays ‘The Origins of the Revolution’; ‘Revolutionary Proclamation for Law and Fatherland’; ‘Revolutionary Conspiracy: The Philiki Etairia’; ‘The Memoirs of Emmanuil Xanthos, a Founding Member of the Philiki Etairia’; ‘Fight for Faith and Motherland’; ‘Social Banditry’, the Memoirs of Theodoros Kolokotronis’; ‘The 1819 address of Count Ioannis Kapodistrias’, ‘The American Response to the Greek War of Independence’; ‘1821 ‘Grecian fever’ spreads to America’; ‘Greek Heroes and Heroines’; and finally ‘The Treaty of London’.

Chapter 3 offers wide ranging essays, interviews and stunning historic photographs under the title: ‘Epic in America: The Early Immigrants’. Beginning with an introduction written by Antonis Diamataris an alphabetical listing of modern writers found in this volume includes: Katina Alexander, Mary Evans Andrews, Irene Biniaris, Steve Frangos, Dan Georgakas, Constantine G. Hatzidimitriou, Andrew T. Kopan, D. G. Kousoulas, Artemis Leontis, Charles C. Moskos.

Two oral history interviews are also found in this section, first with Panagiotis Cheltsos, who arrived at Ellis Island in 1904 based on an interview held on November 26, 1985, and another with Euterpe Dukakis recorded in her home on November 21, 1985.

The overall production of these volumes is especially noteworthy across all three editions. All are hard-cover full-color volumes on heavy gloss paper measuring some 9 ½” x 11 ½” with a total of 207 pages. Noting the type of heavy stock paper employed is necessary to underscore the absolute attention to the ultimate quality of the final quality of the volume. This type of paper stock allows the nearly page by page employment of full-color historical paintings and photographs to just snap right off the page as they showcase ancient portrait sculptors, paintings, mosaics, as well as historic photographs of persons and events.

Now those with any knowledge of the broad history of the Greek press in North America and more specifically the National Herald know that aside from the daily newspapers (inclusive of special editions) a wide array of Greek publications in an equally wide array of sizes and formats were common for now well over one hundred years. Aside from the daily press, in any and all its possible formats, the National Herald throughout its history and under the direction of a variety of editor/publishers has consistently issued a wide range of print publications.

Throughout the 1920s and 1930s, the National Herald regularly issued a diverse mix of books and other print publications. These diverse volumes were comprised of a rich mixture of short essays, full-page photographs, in-depth topic-specific articles matched by an equally arresting selection of additional images such as maps and fine line-drawings.

I have seen such volumes in archives and  private hands and in fact I own a few such volumes from this general time period. In terms of reading content I must stress the rich thematic mix of the era’s noteworthy events, specific historical accounts, detailed descriptions of varying locals and regions of the United States, personal histories of notable politicians and leading figures of the day both American and Greek, all judiciously mixed with considerable attention to American history and social habits.

All such National Herald publications I have seen are hardbacked volumes printed on heavy gloss paper. Since these are annual publications their very existence – over time – speaks to their popularity.

Another regularly issued publication form from this same general era are the ‘kazamia’, a mixed format publication composed of specially entertainment and annual-specific information. The few kazamia I own are all paper bound and stapled, which attests to their more popular format as annual calendars meant to offer date-specific information mixed with puzzles and other amusements.

Among these popular format publications the National Herald routinely issued, often on an annual basis, were theme specific large format paperback volumes. The themes for these volumes ranged over a host of topics such as sports, politics, and fiction. I have only seen a handful of these publications, which ranged roughly around 11” x 17”.

At the time I visited the National Hellenic Museum, the Helen Zeese Papanikolas Papers at the J. Willard Marriott Library, and the Balach Institute, each held one or more of these soft-cover publications, all of which were not uncommon during the height of the Greek press in North America. While a considerable number of bibliographies exist on the Greek-American press, to my knowledge no systematic academic study has ever been conducted on this diverse body of these auxiliary publications, such as I have described above.

The overall popularity of ‘The Greeks: The Triumphant Journey From the Ancient Greeks and the Greek Revolution of 1821 to Greek Americans’ can be best demonstrated by virtue of the number of times it has seen publication, which only suggests that other future publications of this quality of writing and imagery would be more than welcomed among the Greek-Americans of today.

So we are left with only one final question – why am I credited with authorship of this book? I suspect it is because in the Amazon.com/books comment section someone once wrote that several Steve Frangos articles, a regular National Herald writer, were reprinted in this volume. Somehow, someone in charge of this page then assumed I was this volume’s editor/compiler. Not long afterwards Antonis H. Diamataris contacted me alerting me to the fact that my name had been added as editor/author of this book. This was the first that I knew of this egregious error.

Not only did I not know how this error took place, I had no idea how to contact a huge corporation such as Amazon.com. Yes, as I have already reported, I wrote letters to Amazon.com, sending copies of those letters to Mr. Diamataris. Now, while a number of my articles are included in all three editions of this notable volume of essays, that is the limit of my involvement. Antonis H. Diamataris was and remains the only editor/compiler/publisher of this extremely impressive tome.

Clearly the broader changes in American book sales and technology has mandated this report – in some considerable detail: A tale of how without my knowledge or consent the false identification of myself as its editor on the Internet seems to have come into being.

How can such alleged advancements into new technologies be advantageous to all – if no one is accountable?

 

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