SUE PIAZZA’S BOOK REVIEWS – Growing Up Under the Nazi Boot and the Greek Civil War, 2nd Edition

Growing Up Under the Nazi Boot and the Greek Civil War, 2nd Edition
By: George Kakridas © 2023 George Kakridas
Genre: Autobiography
Bookmarkers: 4 of 5

I have read both of Mr. Kakridas’ book editions. The first touches on his life under occupation while the second deals entirely with his growing up under the occupation and then the civil war. With more depth and detail, I found this second edition more in keeping with the title of the book.

If you are looking to read about the Nazi and civil war struggle from the author’s point of view, then I would suggest this 2nd edition.

For transparency, I know Mr. Kakridas. We are both military veterans and serve in Andover’s American Legion Post 8. I have also shared many events with him with and without our Legion Post. We also share a Greek background. Given our connection, I still feel I have given an impartial review.

After April 1941 life changed in Greece. For the next nine years, the country was at war. First under the German occupation and later in a bloody civil war. Mr. Kakridas does an excellent job of explaining his formative years and life in and around his small town. One can feel and see life as it appeared to this five-year-old child. The horror and confusion over why they were being attacked are also evident.

There is so much more that history’s first-hand account can tell us. For example: “…the Nazis retaliated harshly against the civilian populations by rounding up women and children in the squares and torturing and brutally executing them. The Nazis ordered that ten civilians would be executed for every Nazi soldier killed. Still, when they realized this measure was not working, they raised the retaliation killings to fifty villagers for every Nazi killed by the andartes or civilians.”

Time is now revealing a little-known fact about Hitler that this author mentions —that Hitler was an addict. While I did know this, what I did not know was that his troops were also given drugs to keep them alert and active.

The staggering statistics of kidnapped children was eye-opening. It appears that this author, as well as the others in his area, were in constant fear of being abducted. Young children were routinely captured and taken to communist countries. These once-innocent souls were indoctrinated into communist theory and practice. They were then returned back to Greece to aid the communists in the country’s civil war.

This author explains several times how his childhood and his life in Greece still affects him. This is apparent in his word choices. I could feel his hopelessness and despair at his lost immigration opportunity. I also felt the anger at his father for his perceived lack of help.

This book is at its best when the author recounts these personal experiences. The author’s encounter with the locusts is a horror of Biblical proportions. This second edition has overcome some of the grammar and technical issues that were prevalent in the first edition, but not all.

While all the firsthand experiences were great, I could have done without the back-and-forth history. A lot of the historical facts are repeated, dates jumped around, and became confusing as times and chapters fluctuated between the Nazi occupation, and the Greek civil war.

Some passages were not clear. Ex: Amnesty Law of 1982 is mentioned at least three times without an explanation given as to what it is or what it did. At other places, paragraphs seemed out of order.

Despite some grammatical flaws, this book is well worth the read. It is a poignant, heartfelt narrative that should not be missed. I would recommend this autobiography.

Susan Piazza, a Navy veteran, is an author, columnist, and blogger. “A Bird Call That Isn’t,” her first book in her Ongoing Indigenous Tale series can be found on Amazon at A Bird Call That Isn’t : A Bird Call That Isn’t: American Indian Interracial Historical Romance (An Ongoing Indigenous Tale Book 1) ◊