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Non-travel books on and about Elláda/Greece

Souvenir books | Classical books | Historical books
Folklore books | Art books | Poetry books
Fiction books | Greek Cookery books

Souvenir books

Kevin Andrews - The Flight of Ikaros (Penguin, o/p). Intense and compelling account of an educated, sensitive archeologist in the backcountry during the aftermath of the civil war.
Gerald Durell - My Family and Other Animals (Penguin). Durrell's childhood on Corfu - and his passion for the island's fauna.
Lawrence Durrell - Prospero's Cell (Faber & Faber/Penguin)
Lawrence Durrell - Reflections on a Marine Venus(Faber & Faber/Penguin)
Lawrence Durrell - The Greek Islands (Faber & Faber/Penguin, the former o/p).
Lawrence Durrell - Marine Venus recounts Lawrence's wartime experiences and impressions of Rhodes and other Dodecanese Islands.
Sheelagh Kanneli - Earth and Water: A Marriage in Kalamata (Efstathiadhis, Athens). A classic account of that rare thing - a foreign woman integrating successfully into provincial Greek society.
Patrick Leigh Fermor - Roumeli (Penguin);
Anthony Cox - Still Life in Crete;
Mani (Penguin/Peter Smith, o/p). Absolutely wonderful books about the two distinct areas of Greece, Mani and Roumeli(Agrafa), written in the 50s.
Peter Levi - The Hill of Kronos (Harvill/Dutton, both o/p). Beautifully observed landscape, monuments and eventually politics as Levi describes how he is drawn into resistance to the colonels' junta.
Henry Miller - The Colossus of Maroussi (Minerva/New Directions). Corfu and the soul of Greece in 1939, with Miller, completely in his element, at his most inspired.
James Pettifer - The Greeks: the Land and People since the War (Viking). A hugely recommended introduction to contemporary Greece - and its recent past. Pettifer roams across the country and charts the state of the nation's politics, food, family life, religion, tourism, and all points in between.
Jackson Webb - The Last Lemon Grove (Weidenfeld, UK, o/p). Published in 1977, this is the account of an American living in the then-remote village of Paleohóra on Crete. It is as good a choice of book as you could make for a stay on the island today.
Sarah Wheeler - An Island Apart (Abacus, UK). Entertaining chronicle of a five-month ramble through one of the least-visited islands. Wheeler has a sure touch with Greek culture and an open approach to the people she meets, whether nuns, goatherds or academics.
James Theodore Bent - The Cyclades, or Life Among Insular Greeks (o/p). Originally published in 1881, this remains the best account of island customs and folklore; it's also a highly readable, droll account of a year's Aegean travel, including a particularly violent Cycladic winter.

Classical books on Ellada/Greece(partial list)

Homer - Odyssey and Iliad, for reading when you're battling with or resigning yourself to the vagaries of island ferries. One slightly less well-known Roman source, which you might consider taking on travels, especially to the Peloponnese, is Pausanias's fourth-century AD Guide to Greece, annotated by Peter Levi in its Penguin edition with notes on modern identifications of sites mentioned.
Greek Reader - various authors including Plato, in a nice volume for reading on the beach or on the mountains. Introduced by W.H. Auden (Penguin)
Herodotus - The Histories.
Pausanias - The Guide to Greece.
Plutarch - The Age of Alexander; Plutarch on Sparta; The Rise and Fall of Athens.
Thucidides - History of the Peloponnesian War.
Xenophon The History of My Times.
A R Burn - History of Greece (Penguin). Probably the best general introduction to ancient Greece.
David Sacks et al - A Dictionary of the Ancient Greek world (Penguin). This text assembles the people, places, events, and ideas of the ancient Greek civilization in one easy-to-use resource. More than 500 entries and more than 70 line drawings cover every aspect of Greek civilization, from the beginning of the Minoan culture to the Roman annexation of mainland Greece in 146 B.C. 73 linecuts. 3 maps.
M I Finley - The World of Odysseus (Penguin). Good on the interrelation of Mycenaean myth and fact.
Robin Lane Fox - Alexander the Great (Penguin).
John Kenyon Davies - Democracy and Classical Greece (Fontana/Harvard UP).
Oswyn Murray - Early Greece (Fontana/Harvard UP). The Greek story from the Mycenaeans and Minoans through to the beginning of the Classical period.
F W Walbank - The Hellenistic World (Fontana/Harvard UP). Greece under the Macedonian and Roman empires.
R Gordon Wasson, Albert Hoffmann, Carl Ruck - The Road to Eleusis: Unveiling the Secret of the Mysteries (Harcourt, Brace, o/p).

Historical books on Ellada/Greece

Timothy Callistos Ware - The Orthodox Church (Penguin). Good introduction to what is effectively the established religion of Greece.
Nicholas Cheetham - Medieval Greece (Yale UP, o/p in US). General survey of the period and its infinite convolutions in Greece, with Frankish, Catalan, Venetian, Byzantine and Ottoman struggles for power.
Molly Mackenzie - Turkish Athens (Ithaca Press). Readable monograph, drawing on primary sources, that's the best single introductory volume to a neglected topic.
Michael Psellus - Fourteen Byzantine Rulers (Penguin). A fascinating contemporary source, detailing the stormy but brilliant period from 976 to 1078.
Steven Runciman - The Fall of Constantinople, 1453
Steven Runciman - The Great Church in Captivity (both Cambridge UP)
Steven Runciman - Byzantine Style and Civilisations (Penguin, o/p in US), Mistra (Thames & Hudson, o/p in US).
Timothy Boatswain and Colin Nicolson - A Traveller's History of Greece (Windrush Press/ Interlink). Slightly dated but well-written overview of all periods Greek.
Richard Clogg - A Concise History of Greece (Cambridge UP). A remarkably clear and well-illustrated account of Greece from the decline of Byzantium to 1991, stressing recent decades.
Douglas Dakin - The Unification of Greece, 1770-1923 (Ernest Benn/St Martin's Press, both o/p). Account of the foundation of the Greek state and the struggle to extend its boundaries.
John S Koliopoulos - Brigands with a Cause (Oxford UP). History of the brigandage in newly independent Greece and its significance in the struggle for the recovery of territory from Turkey in the nineteenth century.
Michael Llewellyn Smith - Ionian Vision, Greece in Asia Minor, 1919-22 (Allen Lane/St Martin's Press, both o/p). Standard work on the Anatolian campaign and the confrontation between Greece and Turkey leading to the exchange of populations.
Mark Mazower - Inside Hitler's Greece: The Experience of Occupation 1941-44 (Yale UP). Somewhat choppily organized, but the standard of scholarship is high and the photos alone justify the price.
Yiannis Roubatis - Tangled Webs: The US in Greece 1947-67 (Pella Publishing, US). Chronicles growing American involvement in Greece during the lead-up to the miltary coup.
C M Woodhouse - Modern Greece, A Short History (Faber & Faber). Woodhouse was active in the Greek Resistance during World War II. Writing from a right-wing perspective, his history, is briefer and a bit drier than Clogg's.
C M Woodhouse - The Rise and Fall of the Greek Colonels (Granada, o/p/Watts), recounts the (horror) story of the dictatorship
The Struggle for Greece, 1941-49 (Hart-Davis, o/p/Beekman), is a masterly account of this crucial decade, explaining how Greece emerged without a Communist government.
J K Campbell - Honour, Family and Patronage (Oxford UP). A classic study of the Sarakatsáni communities in the mountains of northern Greece.
Rae Dalven - The Jews of Ioannina (Lycabettus Press, Greece, but available in the US). History and culture of the thriving pre-Holocaust community, related by a poet and translator of Cavafy, herself an Epirot Jew.

Folkloric books on Ellada/Greece

Juliet du Boulay - Portrait of a Greek Mountain Village (Oxford UP, o/p in UK). An account of the village of Ambli, on Évvia, in the 1960s.
Gail Holst - Road to Rembétika: Songs of Love, Sorrow and Hashish (Denise Harvey, Greece, but available in the UK). The predominant Greek urban musical style of this century.
Clay Perry - Vanishing Greece (Conran Octopus Abbeville Press). Well-captioned photos depict the threatened landscapes and way of life in rural Greece.
Nikos Stavroulakis - Salonika: Jews and Dervishes (Talos Press, Athens, but available in the US). Monograph, lavishly illustrated with old photos, of two of Thessaloniki's most distinctive communities - which have vanished only this century.
T J Winnifrith - The Vlachs: The History of a Balkan People (Duckworth/St Martin's Press). Rather heavy-going hotchpotch on the existing Vlach communities in Greece and the rest of the Balkans, but the only study easily available.
Oriana Falacci - A Man (Arrow/Pocket Books). Account of the junta years, relating the author's involvement with Alekos Panagoulis, the anarchist who attempted to assassinate Colonel Papadopoulos in 1968. Issued as a "novel" in response to threats by those who were named.
Nicholas Gage - Eleni (Collins Harvill/Ballantine). Controversial account by a Greek-born New York Times correspondent who returns to Epirus to avenge the death of his mother, condemned to death by an ELAS tribunal in 1948.
Edmund Keeley - The Salonika Bay Murder (Princeton UP, US). Wartime murders of journalists are now commonplace, but the dispatch in 1948 of a CBS correspondent, apparently by minions of the Royalist government, was a major incident. This analysis fingers the colluding Greek and US intelligence services.
Kati Marton - The Polk Conspiracy (Times Books, US). Another treatment of the Polk case, written as a gripping early Cold War whodunnit, and reaching a similar conclusion.
George Psychoundakis - The Cretan Runner (John Murray/Transatlantic Arts, the latter o/p). Narrative of the invasion of Crete and subsequent resistance, by a participant, who was a guide and message-runner for all the British protagonists, including Patrick Leigh Fermor, translator of the book.
Vassilis Vassilikos - Z (Four Walls Eight Windows). Another "novel" based very closely on events - the 1963 political assassination of Gregoris Lambrakis in Thessaloníki - and brilliantly filmed by Costa-Gavras in 1968 with Jean Louis Trintignant.

Art books on Ellada/Greece

John Beckwith - Early Christian and Byzantine Art (Penguin/Yale UP). Illustrated study placing Byzantine art within a wider context.
John Boardman - Greek Art (Thames & Hudson, UK). A very good concise introduction in the "World of Art" series.
Reynold Higgins - Minoan and Mycenaean Art (Thames & Hudson). A clear, well-illustrated round-up.
Sinclair Hood - The Arts in Prehistoric Greece (Penguin/Yale UP). Sound introduction to the subject.
Roger Ling - Classical Greece (Phaidon, UK). Another useful and illustrated introduction.
Colin Renfrew - The Cycladic Spirit (Thames & Hudson/Abrams). A fine, illustrated study of the meaning and purpose of Cycladic artefacts.
Gisela Richter - A Handbook of Greek Art (Phaidon/Da Capo). Exhaustive survey of the visual arts of ancient Greece.
Suzanne Slesin et al - Greek Style (Thames & Hudson/Crown). Stunning and stylish interiors from Corfu, Rhodes and Serifos, among other spots.
R R R Smith - Hellenistic Sculpture (Thames & Hudson, UK). Modern reappraisal of the art of Greece under Alexander and his successors.
David Talbot Rice - Art of the Byzantine Era (Thames & Hudson). Talbot Rice was, with Robert Byron, one of the pioneering scholars in the "rediscovery" of Byzantine art; this is an accessible, illustrated study.
Peter Warren - The Aegean Civilizations (Phaidon/P Bedrick Books, the latter o/p). Illustrated account of the Minoan and Mycenaean cultures.
Maro Douka - Fool`s Gold (Kedros, Greece*). Describes an upper-class young woman's involvement, and subsequent disillusionment, with the clandestine resistance to the junta and her pompous male colleagues.
Eugenia Fakinou - The Seventh Garment (Serpent's Tail). The modern history of Greece - from the War of Independence to the colonels' junta - is told through the life stories (interspersed in counterpoint) of three generations of women.

Poetry books on Ellada/Greece
With two Nobel laureates in recent years - George Seferis and Odysseus Elytis - modern Greece has an extraordinarily intense and dynamic poetic tradition. Translations of all of the following are excellent.
C P Cavafy - Collected Poems (Chatto and Windus/Princeton UP). The complete works of perhaps the most accessible modern Greek poet, resident for most of his life in Alexandria.
Odysseus Elytis - The Axion Esti (Anvil Press/Pittsburgh UP)
After Greece - Christopher Bakken(Truman State University Press)
Selected Poems (Anvil Press/Viking Penguin, the latter o/p)
The Sovereign Sun (Bloodaxe Books). The major works in good English versions.
George Pavlopoulos - The Cellar (Anvil Press, UK). Less well-known poet from Pírgos in the Peloponnese. English translation by Peter Levi.
Yannis Ritsos - Exile and Return, Selected Poems 1967-1974 (Anvil Press/Ecco Press). A fine volume of Greece's foremost leftist poet.
Modern Greek Poetry (Efstathiadis, Athens, Greece). Decent anthology of translations, predominantly of Seferis and Elytis.
George Seferis - Collected Poems, 1924-1955 (Anvil Press/Princeton UP, the latter o/p). Virtually the complete works of the Nobel laureate, with Greek and English verses on facing pages.

Fiction books on Ellada/Greece
Louis de Bernières - Captain Corelli's Mandolin (Secker & Warburg, UK). Set on Kefallonia; during the World War II occupation, this is a brilliant tragicomedy by an author best known for his South American extravaganzas.
Lawrence Durrell - Tunc (Faber & Faber/Penguin). An inventor's adventures - in London, Istanbul and Athens.
John Fowles - The Magus (Picador/Dell). Fowles's biggest and best novel: a tale of mystery and manipulation, and Greek island life, inspired by his stay on Spetses, as a teacher, in the 1950s.
Mary Renault The King Must Die
Mary Renault The Last of the Wine
Mary Renault The Mask of Apollo, and others (Sceptre/Random).
Evelyn Waugh Officers and Gentleman (Penguin). This volume of the wartime trilogy includes an account of the Battle for Crete and subsequent evacuation.

Greek cookery books
Micki Papadakis - Aphrodite's Food for the Gods . Definitive guide to Greek cooking with a Cypriot flavour.
Georgia Sarianides - Best of Greek Cuisine: Cooking with Georgia A good colume on Greek cooking with village recipes thrown in.
St. Paul Orthodox cathedral - Recipe Club of St. Paul Othodox Cathedral An excellent cooking book with hard to find recipes handed down through myriads of priests over the years. These recipes are actually used at St. Paul's Orthodox cathedral.
Lynne Vilios et al - Cooking the Greek way: Another Greek cookery book mainly intended as a guide to restaurateurs.
Imogen Dawson - Food and feasts of ancient Greece (library). Based on research undertaken through many libraries and historical texts, this book describes how and what ancient Greeks ate.
Diane Kochilas - Food and Wine of Greece (Library). Excellent illustrations accompany this general cookbook on Greek cooking!
Agaia Kremezi - The Foods of Greece (Paperback). An excellent description of all the Greek recipes with many photographs in color.
Theoni Pappas / Elvira Monroe - Greek Cooking for everyone (paperback). A good recipe book that details Greek cooking in recipes made with ordinary ingredients.
Diane Kochilas - Greek Vegetarian Cooking (Hardcover). An excellent text on Greek vegetarian cooking. A little known fact is that Greek cooking has many recipes made with just vegetarian ingredients, most of them with healthy olive oil. Learn how to make them with this text.
Vefa Alexiadou - Greek pastries and desserts (hardcover). An excellent cooking guide to Greek desserts, some of which are destined to get your desire for that extra sweet come alive.
Andy Harris - Taste of the Aegean: Greek cooking and culture (Hardcover). An excellent cook book that also provides historical information on the recipes with beautiful photographs.
Rena Salaman - Little Greek cookbook (hardcover). A superb, user-friendly guide to Greek cooking with nice illustrations with easy-to-make recipes.
Vilma Liacouras - Cooking, Folkways and travel in the Mainland and islands of Greece(hardcover). A superb, user-friendly guide to Greek cooking with recipes from the mainland and the islands.
Best - Gourmets foods of Greece (hardcover). An excellent treatment of Greek cooking with beautiful photos to guide you.

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