... a rich, illuminating, and imposing history of that paradigm-shifting conflict. Like characters in a Homeric epic, the players in Greece’s war emerge, in Mazower’s telling, in an apparently orderly fashion. An expert storyteller, Mazower unravels a Gordian knot of local, regional, and international factionalisms ... The book deftly weaves in the broader international context[.]
Mark Mazower has turned the tables and shown, with consummate skill and attention to all the available Greek and international sources, that the Greek Revolution was indeed foundational for the 'making of modern Europe' ... Mazower tells the story as it always needed to be told ... Mazower can add the hindsight of two whole centuries, along with much documentary evidence that has come to light during the intervening years, to supplement the often oral testimonies that Finlay was able to draw on. This is the material that Mazower has combed and sifted, to bring vividly to life a kaleidoscope of harrowing, touching, telling detail, much of it never accessible in English before ... But the path from warlord to revolutionary was a long one, and Mazower unflinchingly charts the many deviations that can make the story of the Greek Revolution, in its fine-grained detail, such depressing reading ... the best and fullest explanation, to date, for a series of events whose effects would change the entire geopolitics of Europe. Written with compassion and understanding for the human cost of that achievement, it deserves to remain the standard treatment of the subject in English for many decades to come.
... represents the perfect union of these two poles of his career — a largely internationalist history of what is often seen as a local even ... With a pulsating narrative — dizzying for some perhaps, not enough for others — Mazower’s book sends us scrambling up mountain ascents, slogging down into the valleys and paddling onto craggy island coasts as Greeks of all stripes, mercenaries and commoners, nuns and priests, fought for 'freedom or death' against a depleted Ottoman Army ... This thick book is a long journey, rich with social history and the luminaries of the age. It is hard to imagine it being surpassed any time soon as the definitive English-language account of the Greek Revolution ... Still, it leaves much unsaid. Offering a history of the Greek Revolution without a deep accounting of the Ottoman imperial system — its role in producing the revolution and its reactions to it — is a significant omission (and never mind the fact that many Greeks remained in the Ottoman Empire after Greek independence). In Mazower’s story, as in so many others of the Greek Revolution, the Ottoman Turks appear one-dimensional, presented mostly as perpetrators. To be sure, Mazower is attentive enough to occasionally show them as victims too. But along with the Greeks, Albanians, Arabs, Serbs and many others, the Turks were major creators of a system that produced centuries of intercultural coexistence ... In the end, The Greek Revolution causes us to think more deeply about the role of the nation-state in a global context.
Mark Mazower, a professor of history at Columbia University in New York City, revels in complexity. One can sense his frenzied enthusiasm when he describes 'bewildering twists' and politics of 'mind-boggling' convolution. While some of the revolution’s conundrums are solved, Mazower throws a host of new ones into the mix. Clarity, it seems, is a contrivance. While this is an altogether impressive book, it left me breathless with confusion ... Mazower’s cornucopia of revolution is best read in small doses, to savour the otherwise overwhelming detail.
Mazower, a professor at Columbia University, sets himself the task not just of retelling the familiar story of the Greek fight for independence but of placing the event in the broader context of modern European history. His book unfolds as an engaging combination of fast-flowing narrative and insightful analysis ... Both sides committed atrocities in the war, and Mazower makes the perceptive point that some western European philhellenes who went to fight for the Greeks were shocked by episodes such as the slaughter in 1822 of Muslim civilians in Corinth. Yet it was the Ottoman massacre in 1821 of Greeks in Constantinople, and the public hanging of the city’s Greek Orthodox patriarch, that inflamed European opinion.
... [a] superb new history of the rebellion and its broader implications ... That it very nearly failed provides Mr. Mazower with a compelling story—full of conflicting characters, rivalries, massacres, betrayals, enslavements—all of which he narrates with earned authority and exceptional power ... He achieves more clarity on this tangled subject than other historians in English have managed before.
Mark Mazower’s...elegant and rigorous account...holds lessons for modern geopolitics: about the galvanising effects of violence, the role of foreign intervention and the design flaws in dreams ... He writes sympathetically of the swashbuckling commander Georgios Karaiskakis ... If such laudatory views were expressed in a Greek textbook, they might be dismissed as patriotic hype. But coming from Mr Mazower, an eminent historian of the Balkans, they command respect ... Mr Mazower’s argument is a counterweight to that pessimism, albeit a nuanced one. In the story he tells, native pluck and endurance really can combine with strategic intervention to create new political and social realities. The proviso is that the intervention must go with the grain of local powerbrokers and the traditions they personify. That vital rider may explain why, in its own terms, nato succeeded in Kosovo and failed in Afghanistan.
... a detailed examination of the Greek quest for independence from the Ottoman Empire during the first portion of the 19th century ... Mazower discusses complex social issues...[and] delves into the complicated politics of the latter Ottoman Empire and its own frictions. His writing is detailed and scholarly throughout ... Mazower contextualizes a major transformation in 19th-century Eastern Europe for readers of European history and provides a solid background of modern Greece for students of ancient history.
His lucid, elegantly written, and often gripping account of the chaos contains hopeful developments, including the fitful growth of a constitutional Greek government and the rise of a geopolitics of national self-determination and international humanitarian intervention that led to the break-up of European empires into independent nation-states in the 19th and 20th centuries. Broad in scope and colorful in detail, this is a masterful portrait of a historic watershed.
... Mazower...ably ties together the many disparate threads of this complex history ... In a narrative that may overwhelm general readers but will prove indispensable to scholars, Mazower underscores that it was largely a provincial struggle, financed by European sympathies and bonded by Christianity ... An elucidating history that is relevant to understanding the geopolitics of Greece today.