Monday, April 27, 2020

25 - Book Review: "The Life of General Makriyannis: Memoir and History"

Ο Bίος του στρατηγού Μακρυγιάννη: Αποµνηµόνευµα και Ιστορία
("The Life of General Makriyannis: Memoir and History")

Athens: Vivliorama, 2012. 549 pp.

By Νikos Theotokas

Reviewed by Eleni Andriakaina

(2014, Vol. 14)

The publication of Nikos Theotokas’ study comes at a critical juncture in contemporary Greece. Neither the book’s modest title, nor the pastness of its object, seem to have much relevance for the fierce urgencies of the present or even for the challenges – methodological, theoretical or institutional problems – now facing Greek scholars within the humanities and the social sciences. How then can we explain the appeal of the book to a wide readership within and beyond academia? And why the numerous and enthusiastic reviews it has received? One explanation lies in the long-lasting and enduring significance of Makriyannis’ writings for modern constructions of Greek identity. Makriyannis’ name evokes a past still present and still contested: the foundational event for modern Greece – the 1821 revolution. But the specific contribution of Theotokas’ book is also significant, since it powerfully challenges a range of current orthodoxies.