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The Full Catastrophe

Best Seller
The Full Catastrophe by James Angelos
Paperback $16.00
Jun 07, 2016 | ISBN 9780385346504

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  • Jun 07, 2016 | ISBN 9780385346504

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  • Jun 02, 2015 | ISBN 9780385346498

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“Angelos dismantles the facile narrative accepted by many in the eurozone, in which hardworking Germans must clean up a mess made by their lazy and ‘Oriental’ southern neighbors. But he is equally tenacious when it comes to exposing the misconduct of Greek politicians, not to mention the country’s corrupt system of career tenure and its, well, truly Byzantine bureaucracy…The book is saved from being a withering catalog of absurdity by Mr. Angelos’s subtle, often loving analysis of modern Greek culture.” —The Wall Street Journal

“Angelos, who has traveled from Athens to Thessaloniki, from mountain villages to outlying islands, describes with an engaging mix of disgust and brio the scams Greeks have perpetrated for decades, with the frequent complicity of their government, and the devastating consequences now that the con has unraveled.” —The New York Times Book Review, Editor’s Choice

“Angelos is a superb guide to the cultural history of modern Greece, and his analysis gives a nuanced background to the screaming headlines that keep Greece in the news.” —The Daily Beast

“Reporter James Angelos is an excellent tour guide to the fascinating and frustrating paradoxes of modern Greece, as he examines the entrenched cultural habits, historical wounds, prejudices and civic scandals that have helped make his proud ancestral homeland the reluctant charity case of modern Europe. The Full Catastrophe sheds light not only on how Greek society got to where it is today, but also on the enormous diversity of experiences and assumptions bundled together in the European project. But reader beware: after you follow Angelos into the heart of the Greek crisis, those postcard-perfect islands will never look quite the same again.” —Meline Toumani, author of There Was and There Was Not

“In seven vignettes of daily life and stories from the news, interspersed with brief historical asides, The Full Catastrophe vividly captures the grim consequences of the Greek financial collapse. A sympathetic and insightful journalist with an eye for the telling detail, Angelos (a second-generation Greek-American himself) subtly exposes long-held contradictions and prejudices rekindled by a brutal austerity. As he navigates a country coming apart, where farce and disaster go hand in hand, a sense of wry humor saves him—and the reader—from utter resentment or despair. By turns entertained and dismayed, we come away with the nagging impression that the greatest tragedy of Greece today may not be the dire situation it has found itself in, but the fact that no one really seems to know what to do about it. The Full Catastrophe is a notable achievement.” —Panos Karnezis, author of The Convent

“Greek-American journalist James Angelos has taken the full measure of contemporary Greece’s economic, political, and, not least, social meltdown. But this is not only a lament. The vigorously written narrative also contains several bright spots—such as the firsthand testimonies drawn from veteran antifascist Manolis Glezos, Thessaloniki mayor Yannis Boutaris, and unconventional prelate Bishop Prokopios—that add nuance and balance to a picture that overall remains quite stubbornly dark.” —Paul Cartledge, A.G. Leventis Professor of Greek Culture emeritus, University of Cambridge

“James Angelos’ vivid, insightful tour of Greece is a gripping portrait of a nation in disarray and despair. The depictions of corrupt politicians, the dismal impacts of a profound economic collapse, and the rise of violent xenophobia suggest a ticking time bomb. Yet Angelos’ affectionate portraits of indelible characters—from the sly widow who befriended her young robbers to the World War II resistance hero now inspiring Greece’s rising far left—add a deep human dimension.” —Anya von Bremzen, author of Mastering the Art of Soviet Cooking  

“A riveting, entertaining, and sometimes chilling in-depth look at the chaos engulfing Greece today, one made all the more poignant by the beautifully drawn cast of characters, including poor islanders, wealthy ship owners, conniving politicians, wily Orthodox priests, and the often rabid and deeply divided electorate. There is a lesson for us all in James Angelos’s vivid portrait of what is happening in the land we cherish as the birthplace of our democracy.” —Tom Stone, author of The Summer of My Greek Taverna

“Revealing and well-informed…Angelos follows [his] many threads with aplomb. A candid, unsparing look at the challenges Greece has yet to overcome.” —Kirkus Reviews

“A fast-paced, gripping survey of the problems leading to and resulting from Greece’s debt crisis…Angelos’s often amusing, occasionally dismaying stories form a necessary and compelling read for anyone interested in the current crisis and its possible remedies.” —Publishers Weekly

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