In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:

Reviews 341 Since Fleischer finished working on this book (the bulk of which appears to have been written before 1982), a number of fine studies of various aspects of this period have become available. Three works in particular—John Hondros' Occupation and Restóance (New York: Pella, 1983), Procopis Papastratis' Brifah Policy towards Greece (vid. supr.), and Greece in the 1940s (Hanover, N.H.: University Press of New England, 1981), a volume of essays (including one by Fleischer) edited by John Iatrides—cover many of the issues raised in this book. Does Fleischer's work offer anything we could not learn from them? The answer is undoubtedly yes: the Greek side is covered in unprecedented depth, while there is much additional information on other matters too. Yet many of the misgivings aroused by the author's opening remarks are borne out. Compared to the three books cited above, which contain many analytical aperçus as well as being characterized by a sense of balance in their treatment of controversial matters, this work's defects emerge clearly. The author's reluctance to draw back from detail and provide an analytical framework for his account obscures the main contours of his argument. An overall view of the period is never made explicit: occupied Greece remains in the "crossshadows ." Mark Mazower Princeton University John S. Koliopoulos, Brigands with a Cause: Brigondage and Irredentism in Modern Greece 1821—1912. Oxford: The Clarendon Press. 1987. Pp. ix + 342. $68.00. Professor Koliopoulos' latest book is not only a delight to read. It also constitutes a landmark in contemporary Greek scholarship. Recent years have seen historians in Greece produce exciting work in a number of previously neglected fields, using domestic archival sources to explore social and economic as well as political matters. Brigands with a Cause reveals the quality of the best of this work to a wider readership. The book is based on an earlier work which appeared in Greek as ΛηστÎ-Ï‚: H κεντϕική Ελλάδα στα μÎ-σα του 19ου αι. (Athens: Ermis, 1979). As the title suggests, it focused on the brigand problem over a shorter period of time. Koliopoulos has extended the narrative to 1912, and has added several analytical chapters which describe the social background of brigandage and its connection with the manner of development of the modern Greek state. 342 Reviews By "settling in with the outlaws to explore and explain their ways" (p. 286), the author undermines various popular myths. To non-Greek specialists, most valuable will be his convincing refutation of Hobsbawm's social banditry thesis. He shows that brigands were not Robin Hood figures, nor were they concerned with social reform: on the contrary, their principal victim was the helpless peasant and their chief motivation was the desire to regain a position in the community , either through amnesty or appointment to a post in the local security system. Students of Greek history will profit from the new light cast on the drama of Greece's struggle for independence. Nationalism appears to have been only one—and not necessarily the most important—of the sentiments that moved many of the leading actors. Koliopoulos observes that in the context of the 1853—54 uprising, "exposure in battle for abstract causes was not, after all, what the protagonists of this study were after" (p. 144). Rather blunter was the reply received by the Greek consul at Thessaloniki from Macedonian bandits to whose patriotism he had made appeal: ". . . for them there could be only one 'fatherland,' the mountains, and only one guide, their own 'interests' " (p. 286). This book does far more, however, than just refute earlier accounts of the phenomenon. It explores the political dimensions of brigandage and relates it to the weaknesses of the new Greek state: internal weakness, which forced the central government to come to terms with local power-brokers; and external weakness, v^à -vL· the Great Powers who, by precluding Greece from enlarging her boundaries by other means, forced her politicians to sanction irredentist raids by irregulars. For the desperate Greek authorities, such raids became an alternative to judicial crackdowns as a means of combatting brigandage. Casual readers may be deterred by the detailed studies of the careers of leading brigands—though these are an...


Additional Information

Print ISSN
pp. 341-343
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
Back To Top

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Without cookies your experience may not be seamless.