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126 Reviews until the 1940s to house a heroic, old-fashioned and poverty-stricken way of life that had altered little for centuries. Gage's book portrays one such community, the village of Lia, in its moment of dissolution. He does so with sympathy and accuracy, respecting its ruling values while revealing also some of the harsh limitations ofthat way of life. As such, his book is an historical document of the first rank as well as being a high and serious celebration of the life of a woman who remained heroically loyal to the values she had inherited by contriving to save her children and risking, knowingly , her own destruction in order to do so. William H. McNeill University of Chicago John V. Kofas, Authoritarianism in Greece: The Metaxas Regime. New York: Columbia University Press. 1983. Pp. 192. $20.00. A book on the dictatorship of Gen. John Metaxas in Greece (1936-1941) should normally be welcome to the student of Modern Greece. Developments ofthat period have received very little scholarly attention, in comparison with those of the 1940s. The inter-war years in general deserve more attention for at least two reasons: a) they can provide partial explanations for certain developments customarily associated exclusively with the period of Axis occupation of the country, and b) they should have fewer snares for the scholar than subsequent years. But reading the present book leaves one with the impression that, perhaps, even the dictatorship of Metaxas is not free of snares for the careless scholar. Subsequent developments, it seems, have influenced, not only postwar Greek politics, but the study of the dictatorship as well; and they have condemned the dictator to suffer after death from both those who have tried to exonerate him for policies he did pursue and those who have saddled him with crimes he did not commit. The author of this book must have been aware of these extremes in the assessment of the Metaxas dictatorship ; but the choice of sources—and current fashion, perhaps— made him adopt the latter extreme. The general direction of the author's arguments, it seems, was provided by histories of the dictatorship written by journalists like Spyros Linardatos,1 who have popularized Communist conceptualization of the dictatorship. This becomes apparent not only through Kofas' crude division of the political forces of the time into progres- Reviews 127 sive and conservative or reactionary, but also through his reliance on popular Leftist histories of the dictatorship. In what concerns Greek Communist Party (KKE) positions and policies of the time, in particular , the author essentially reproduces subsequent KKE interpretations of its own past. For instance, in the effort to show that Metaxas 's theory of an imminent Communist bid for power—which incidentally, is now commonly considered a mere pretext for establishing dictatorship—the author maintains that "Communist leaders then and now have never maintained that the social unrest of 1936 approximated anything like a proletarian revolution" (p. 22). If he had taken the trouble to read contemporary Communist assessments of the situation, as they appeared in Rizospastis, the official KKE organ , or recent studies of the KKE in the interwar period, like Angelos Elephantis',2 he would have realized that such a statement would have been considered insulting by the Communist leadership of the time. He goes so far as to maintain that the KKE did not have "political ambitions in 1936," but "merely wished to prevent monarchofascism and to preserve the democratic regime" (p. 23); that "at no time. . .did the communist leaders entertain the illusion of seizing and retaining power" (p. 24); that the KKE "wanted desperately to preserve parliamentarism [sic]" (p. 45). Similar statements defy available and unedited evidence of the period and betray an effort to retroject upon the past the image of the KKE cultivated currently in Greece. The requirements of that same image and the consequent need to rewrite history on the basis of current KKE conceptualization of the past are no doubt responsible for the description of the various plots to unseat Metaxas in 1938 as a "massive resistance movement" (p. 125), and for maintaining that "an organized popular uprising was the only viable alternative" to "bourgeois...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1086-3265
Print ISSN
0738-1727
Pages
pp. 126-132
Launched on MUSE
2010-06-24
Open Access
No
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