Speaking Truth to Power – The National Herald

I am not, and have never been, the editor or author 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 the author of this book first appeared, I was consulting with Antonis H. Diamataris, the actual editor, compiler, and publisher of this extraordinary volume. Next, I sent letters to various Amazon.com offices on this matter with copies to Mr. Diamataris. I never received an answer to my letters.

I still cannot explain why the Amazon.com website started and still cites me as the author of this volume. For those of you who have not yet seen this volume, I will describe the contents of the volume and then comment on what I suspect – and this is all it is, speculation – how this state of affairs came about.

Given the great response to the first edition in 2001, two more were published in 2002 and 2003 respectively. Having read the first edition and now only holding the third edition in my hands, it is clear that there have been minor changes from one edition to the next. All my comments on the exact structure and content here therefore refer to my review of the third edition.

The third edition starts with the full text of the previous introductions of the first two editions as well as a new one for this last volume. Antonis H. Diamataris, editor and author of all three editions, not only states the purpose of compiling this volume, but also gives generous credit to the many people who worked together to bring this work to its final conclusion.

The generous support of the Stavros S. Niarchos Foundation for the existence of this volume is fully acknowledged, along with the efforts of certain individuals both at the Foundation and in the offices of the National Herald to bring this volume to publication.

An introductory essay asserts that there are three periods of Greek history that are most familiar to the average American: the Classical Period, 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 offers 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”.

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In Chapter 1 we find a “Chronology of Ancient Greece”; ‘The Athenian Constitution’, ‘The Funeral Oration of Pericles; “The Republic of Plato (Section 1)”; Demosthenes attacks his accuser’; “The Apology of Socrates”; “Medicine in Ancient Greece”; and finally, “Ancient Greek religious thought characterizes Christian theology and practice.”

Chapter 2 presents “The Greek Revolution of 1821” with the essays “The Origins of the Revolution”; “Revolutionary Proclamation for Justice and Country”; ‘Revolutionary Conspiracy: The Philiki Etairia’; “The Memoirs of Emmanuil Xanthos, a founding member of the Philiki Etairia”; “Fight for Faith and Fatherland”; “Social Banditry”, the memoirs of Theodoros Kolokotronis”; “The 1819 Address of Count Ioannis Kapodistrias”, “The American Response to the Greek War of Independence”; ‘1821 ‘Greek fever’ spreads to America’; “Greek Heroes and Heroines”; and finally “The Treaty of London”.

Chapter 3, titled “Epic in America: The Early Immigrants,” offers extensive essays, interviews, and stunning historical photographs. Beginning with an introduction written by Antonis Diamataris, an alphabetical list 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, DG Koousulas, Artemis Leontis, Charles C. Moskos.

Also included in this section are two oral history interviews, the first with Panagiotis Cheltsos, who arrived at Ellis Island in 1904, based on an interview conducted on November 26, 1985, and another with Euterpe Dukakis, conducted on November 21, 1985 in was taken into her home.

The overall production of these volumes is particularly remarkable across all three editions. All are full-color, hardcover volumes on heavyweight glossy paper, measuring approximately 9½” x 11½”, totaling 207 pages. It is necessary to note the type of heavy paper used to underscore the absolute attention to the final quality of the tape’s final quality. This type of paper stock allows for the use of almost full-color historical paintings and photographs, which can be easily detached from the page as they depict ancient portrait sculptors, paintings, mosaics, and historical photographs of people and events.

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Now those who know the broad history of the Greek press in North America, and the National Herald in particular, know that alongside the daily newspapers (including special editions), there is a wide range of Greek publications in an equally wide range of sizes and formats that have now been well over a hundred years usual. Aside from the daily press, the National Herald, in all its conceivable formats, has consistently produced a wide range of print publications throughout its history and under the direction of a variety of editors/publishers.

During the 1920s and 1930s, the National Herald regularly published a diverse mix of books and other print publications. These diverse volumes consisted of a rich mix of short essays, full-page photographs, lengthy subject-specific articles, complemented by an equally compelling selection of supplementary visuals such as maps and fine line drawings.

I have seen such volumes in archives and private collections, and do in fact possess a few such volumes from this general time period. In terms of reading content, I must emphasize the rich thematic mix of the notable events of the era, specific historical accounts, detailed descriptions of various natives and regions of the United States, personal stories of notable politicians and leading figures of the day, both American and Greek. all mixed judiciously with plenty of attention to American history and societal customs.

All of these National Herald publications that I have seen are bound volumes, printed on thick glossy paper. As these are annual releases, their very existence – over time – speaks to their popularity.

Another regular form of publication from the same general era is the ‘kazamia’, a mixed format publication composed of special entertainment and year-specific information. The few Kazamia I own are all paper bound and stapled, confirming their more popular format as annual calendars intended to provide date-specific information mixed with puzzles and other amusements.

Among these popular publications that the National Herald issued regularly, often annually, were themed large paperback volumes. The subjects for these volumes spanned a variety of subjects such as sports, politics, and fiction. I’ve only seen a handful of these releases that were roughly in the 11″ x 17″ range.

At the time I visited the National Hellenic Museum, the Helen Zeese Papanikolas Papers at the J. Willard Marriott Library, and the Balach Institute, they each owned one or more of these softcover publications, all of which were not uncommon during the heyday of the Greek Press in North America. While a considerable number of bibliographies exist in the Greek-American press, to my knowledge no systematic scholarly study of this diverse collection of these ancillary publications such as I have described above has ever been undertaken.

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The overall popularity of The Greeks: The Triumphant Journey From the Ancient Greeks and the Greek Revolution of 1821 to Greek Americans is best demonstrated by its number of publications, which only hints that other future publications will appear of the same quality writing and pictures would be more than welcome among Greek Americans today.

So we are left with one final question – why am I being credited with the authorship of this book? I suspect it’s because someone in the comments section of Amazon.com/books once wrote that several articles by Steve Frangos, a regular National Herald contributor, were reprinted in this volume. Somehow someone in charge of this site then assumed that I was the editor/creator of this volume. Not long after, Antonis H. Diamataris contacted me and advised me that my name had been added as editor/author of this book. This was the first time I knew about this egregious error.

Not only did I not know how this error came about, I also had no idea how to contact a giant company like Amazon.com. Yes, as I have previously reported, I have written letters to Amazon.com and sent copies of those letters to Mr. Diamataris. Well, although a number of my articles are included in all three editions of this remarkable volume of essays, this is the limit of my participation. Antonis H. Diamataris was and remains the sole editor/compiler/editor of this most impressive tome.

Apparently, the broader changes in American book sales and technology commissioned this report – in some considerable detail: A story of how, without my knowledge or consent, the misidentification of myself as the publisher on the Internet seems to have arisen.

How can such supposed advances in new technology be beneficial to everyone – when no one is held accountable?