Eleni- Book Review

By: Nicholas Gage

My Rating: 5/5 Stars — Genre: Historical Fiction, Biography — N. of Pages: 480

This book, written by Nicholas Gage, begins in the 1930s in Lia, Greece and takes the reader through World War II and the Greek Civil War. This book shows the deep routes of communism in Greece that began before WWII but deepened during the war. The reader also gains an understanding of the role other communist countries had in influencing border nations to join communism.
The book is focused on the life of Eleni, Nicholas Gage’s mother. The reader sees the trials and tribulations that Eleni and her family underwent before war hit Lia, during the Nazi occupation, and the bloody civil war that tore Greece apart later on. As a Greek Canadian, I especially liked reading this book because there were many connections I could make to my family and their stories of Greece during those times.
This book shows the brutality of humankind and how easily their fundamental/fanatical beliefs can make them turn on their neighbours in such an extreme way. It also shows that, like all political ideologies, once humans take control, their dreams for the world go to the wayside for the love of power.
I highly recommend this book to anyone. Even if you are not a history buff, you will love following along in this true story. It is written so elegantly that you sometimes forget it isn’t a work of fiction. There is incredible detail in this story, and the ending takes you on a path with Nicholas, Eleni’s only son, while he seeks revenge on the people who killed his mother. There is also some humour in the book, especially when their father, who lives in America, sends them gifts that they don’t understand like a duster (they think they are fake flowers and place the duster in a vase). Great historical book on a topic that many people don’t know about. It is a very humbling and incredible true story.

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