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Daddy's War: Greek American Stories
Synopses & Reviews
When she was very young, Irene Kacandes knew things about her father that had no plot, no narrator, and no audience. To her childhood self these things resembled beings who resided with her family, like the ancestresses whoand#8217;d thrown themselves off cliffs rather than be taken by the Turks, or the forefathers whoand#8217;d fought the Trojans. For decades she thought of these cohabitants as Daddyand#8217;s War Experiences and tried to stay away from them. When tragedy touched the adult life she had constructed for herself, however, she realized she had to confront her familyand#8217;s wartime past.and#160;
Kacandes begins with what she did know: that her immigrant grandmother returned to Greece with four young childrenand#8212;and without her husbandand#8212;only to get trapped there by the Nazi occupation. Though still a child himself, her father, John, helped feed his younger siblings by taking up any task possible, including smuggling arms to the Resistance. Kacandes painstakingly uncovers a complex truth her father chose not to tell, a truth inextricably entwined with the Holocaust, discovering, too, a common but little-told story about how the telling of such memories is negotiated between survivors and their children. Daddyand#8217;s War brings new understanding to how trauma, like the revenge of Greek gods, can visit each generation and offers a model for breaking the cycle.
Wealth and family privilege are no match for the brutal forward march of two armies intent on eliminating each other. As a teenager, Anastasia Saporito discovered that truth as she and her family found themselves exiled, vulnerable, and no longer able to call on their social standing and accumulated riches as the Soviet and German armies converged during World War II.
Saporito recounts in vivid detail the difficulties of her childhood as the daughter of White Russian aristocrats forced to flee their native Russia for refuge in Yugoslavia. In Ancient Furies Saporito skillfully depicts her family, her own struggles as a girl coming of age in war-torn central Europe, and the devastation incurred as a result of Nazi actions toward civilian populations of occupied countries. Personal recollections form the basis of this memoir, but the trials and tribulations faced by this young woman shed light on the often-hidden experiences of the once-wealthy elite of central and eastern Europe as the Nazi war machine tore much of that region asunder. Through the words of her teenage self, Saporito brings a different civilian experience of World War II into the open.
About the Author
Irene Kacandes is a professor of German and comparative literature at Dartmouth College in Hanover, New Hampshire, and the author of several books, including Talk Fiction: Literature and the Talk Explosion (Nebraska 2001).
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History and Social Science » Ethnic Studies » European American