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Reviews 167 ment of how a particular politician or soldier saw things at a given moment. The immense and well-ordered British archives can exercise an almost seductive effect upon the historian, who is allowed to share so many secrets that he may easily think the whole story is there. Papastratis does not fall into this trap. He does make use of many other sources, and the bibliography is full and up-to-date. I have noted only a few minor inaccuracies. The British Admiral in charge in Alexandria in 1944 was Admiral Sir John H. D. Cunningham, not Sir Andrew Cunningham, his more illustrious predecessor, who had by then become First Sea Lord in London. Papastratis' book must be considered essential reading for the serious student of Greek wartime history. Lars Baerentzen University of Copenhagen Michael Herzfeld, The Poetics of Manhood: Contest and Identity in a Cretan Mountain Village, Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1985. Pp. 313. $37.50. My first encounter with the project of which this book is the result came when I sat as the anthropologist member of a grant awarding committee and the author submitted to us a request for support of fieldwork. I was already familiar with Herzfeld's earlier work and so was not surprised at the quality and promise of the proposal . But I was amazed to learn that the political scientist, historian, linguist, economist, et al, who constituted the rest of the committee were equally impressed. Each of us had independently ranked it as highest of a very large group of applicants. Such unanimity was totally unprecedented. The project-jovially referred to in our discussion as "the semiotics of sheep stealing"—received the maximum assistance we were empowered to award. It gives me great pleasure —and greater confidence in our award granting abilities than I have hitherto held—to now read the final product and find our evaluation confirmed. The book is a study of "the semiotics of sheep stealing," but it is also much, much more. In the author's words, it is about how Glendiots (the pseudonym for the villagers on which the study is based) 168 Reviews "find and make meaning in their lives" (p. xv) or, elsewhere, about "the poetics of being a true Glendiot man" (p. 46). More precisely, Herzfeld explores a number of dichotomies and the tensions among Glendiots that give meaning to their lives: agnatic vs. cognatic kinship , individual vs. collective consciousness, herding vs. agriculture, village vs. national concerns, private vs. public space, male vs. female domains, mountainside (aori) vs. home, Glendiot vs. Cretan vs. Greek identity, oil-cooked vs. stolen meat, and, inevitably, nature vs. culture. It should not surprise the reader that most of these dichotomies turn out to be but different manifestations of the same one. Herzfeld's data consist primarily of a certain set of male "rhetorical strategies," including animal theft, blood feud, card games, bride abduction, hospitality, song dueling and coffeehouse one-upman -ship. These strategies are filled with paradoxes: Glendiots are "good patriots, rebellious citizens," they equate their Greek state with the Turkish enemy, and, perhaps the principal paradox, they steal sheep from one another in order to establish friendships (by proving in this way that one is a worthy friend, a "true man"). Herzfeld's style of presentation is largely anecdotal, leaving Glendiots to tell most of their own tales. But the style is at the same time highly analytical. This is a book filled with ideas, those of Glendiots, as well as those of the author and his references. It may seem at first glance, because of the anecdotal style, to be a quick read. The tales of derring-do are indeed fascinating. But the sophisticated analysis that accompanies them requires and deserves careful attention in order to keep the various relationships straight and the arguments in mind. The key concept of both Glendiot life and this book is simasia, most closely translated as "meaning." This word is described as "an essentially poetic notion," but recognized in action rather than as a lexicographical abstraction. Thus, both Glendiots themselves and the author who produced this study are preoccupied with questions of meaning. For this reader, the book is...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1086-3265
Print ISSN
0738-1727
Pages
pp. 167-169
Launched on MUSE
2010-06-24
Open Access
No
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