KATSEHAMOS AND THE GREAT IDEA
A a true story of Greeks and Australians in the early 20th Century
By Peter Prineas
'I found the book fascinating because it contains the dreams and aspirations of all Greek immigrants of my father's generation, a world that has faded from the collective Greek consciousness as much as the Great idea. Most of all, however, I was struck by the literary quality of the book, which is far superior to almost all works of this type that I have read.'
- Nicholas Gage, Pulitzer prize-winning journalist and author.
'The Mass migrations that followed the early 20th-century turmoil in the Balkans laid the foundations for that great Australian institution the Greek country cafe ... Peter Prineas's spirited account of migrants building small empires of cafes and cinemas is also tinged with the loneliness and isolation they experienced in xenophobic bush towns.'
- Tony Maniaty, Weekend Australian
Lyrical style and effective use of imagery, as well as the skilful juxtaposition of biographical detail with historical fact ... A poignant celebration of early Greek migrants.'
- Odyssey Magazine 'A tale of struggle, courage, stoicism, doggedness and pride which is profoundly recognizable to the children of the Greek Diaspora.'
- Kiriaki Orfanos, Kythera-Family.net
'Katsehamos and the Great Idea tells a tale of struggle, courage, stoicism, doggedness and pride that is profoundly recognizable to the children of the Greek diaspora, echoing in the secret part of our soul, to remind us of who we are; where we come from. It presents us with the spectacle, often poignant, always moving, about the young people who were forced out of Greece by historical imperatives beyond their control, into a stubborn and hostile world where they were expected to make their way minus language, minus marketable skills, minus opportunity... But to think of this only as an account about Greeks for Greeks would be to miss the point. It is more than that; it taps into the experience of everybody who has had to up stakes and move somewhere else in order to make a life. ...There is very little to choose between the behaviour of local bureaucrats in the matter of planning permission for a cinema or the Great Powers when it came to deciding the fate of Greece. And yet you are heartened by the natural fairness that was displayed time and again on a personal level. Prineas tells his tale lucidly and objectively, endeavouring at every turn to give both sides of the argument. Although there is treachery and duplicity, there are no real villains here, just flawed individuals trying to do the best they can' - Kiriaki Orfanos, Kythera-Family.Net