A deeply researched life of a man at the crossroads of history.



Biography of a defiant journalist who worked tirelessly for the cause of Greek democracy.

Barron, founding advisory board member of the New England Center for Investigative Reporting, draws on numerous sources—archives, oral histories, presidential libraries, government documents, legal cases, and broadcast transcripts—to create an overwhelmingly detailed biography of Greek journalist and activist Elias Demetracopoulos (1928-2016). Growing up in war-torn Greece, Demetracopoulos joined the resistance; at age 14, he was incarcerated and tortured by Nazi occupiers. Recognizing the impact that journalists made on shaping public opinion, Demetracopoulos was determined to join their ranks. By the time he was 21, he had gained a position on “the most prestigious and influential paper in Greece,” which gave him access to powerful Greeks and the many Americans who had come to help shape Greece’s economic and political future. Eager to go abroad, Demetracopoulos arrived in the U.S. in 1951 to report for his home paper. He carried with him 24 “letters of introduction to high-ranking officials,” and he quickly came to the attention of the CIA, which offered him a part-time job sharing intelligence. He declined, returning to Greece, where he once again found himself roiled in politics when a military junta came to power in 1967. Barely escaping, he made his way to the U.S., where his outspoken opposition to the junta made him a subject of intense interest to the CIA, FBI, and State Department for the rest of his career. Barron offers an evenhanded portrait of a complex man: Detractors called him egotistical, self-aggrandizing, and narcissistic; admirers praised him as “a highly intelligent, well-informed man of influence, generous in doing favors, and a loyal friend.” Tireless and bold, he cultivated a network of sources who afforded him a close view of political intrigue; Barron gives ample evidence of the tangled machinations that characterized American policy toward Greece from Truman to Reagan.

A deeply researched life of a man at the crossroads of history.

Pub Date: July 7, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-61219-828-6

Page Count: 496

Publisher: Melville House

Review Posted Online: March 1, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2020

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If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.


The authors have created a sort of anti-Book of Virtues in this encyclopedic compendium of the ways and means of power.

Everyone wants power and everyone is in a constant duplicitous game to gain more power at the expense of others, according to Greene, a screenwriter and former editor at Esquire (Elffers, a book packager, designed the volume, with its attractive marginalia). We live today as courtiers once did in royal courts: we must appear civil while attempting to crush all those around us. This power game can be played well or poorly, and in these 48 laws culled from the history and wisdom of the world’s greatest power players are the rules that must be followed to win. These laws boil down to being as ruthless, selfish, manipulative, and deceitful as possible. Each law, however, gets its own chapter: “Conceal Your Intentions,” “Always Say Less Than Necessary,” “Pose as a Friend, Work as a Spy,” and so on. Each chapter is conveniently broken down into sections on what happened to those who transgressed or observed the particular law, the key elements in this law, and ways to defensively reverse this law when it’s used against you. Quotations in the margins amplify the lesson being taught. While compelling in the way an auto accident might be, the book is simply nonsense. Rules often contradict each other. We are told, for instance, to “be conspicuous at all cost,” then told to “behave like others.” More seriously, Greene never really defines “power,” and he merely asserts, rather than offers evidence for, the Hobbesian world of all against all in which he insists we live. The world may be like this at times, but often it isn’t. To ask why this is so would be a far more useful project.

If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1998

ISBN: 0-670-88146-5

Page Count: 430

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 1998

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Buffs of the Old West will enjoy Clavin’s careful research and vivid writing.



Rootin’-tootin’ history of the dry-gulchers, horn-swogglers, and outright killers who populated the Wild West’s wildest city in the late 19th century.

The stories of Wyatt Earp and company, the shootout at the O.K. Corral, and Geronimo and the Apache Wars are all well known. Clavin, who has written books on Dodge City and Wild Bill Hickok, delivers a solid narrative that usefully links significant events—making allies of white enemies, for instance, in facing down the Apache threat, rustling from Mexico, and other ethnically charged circumstances. The author is a touch revisionist, in the modern fashion, in noting that the Earps and Clantons weren’t as bloodthirsty as popular culture has made them out to be. For example, Wyatt and Bat Masterson “took the ‘peace’ in peace officer literally and knew that the way to tame the notorious town was not to outkill the bad guys but to intimidate them, sometimes with the help of a gun barrel to the skull.” Indeed, while some of the Clantons and some of the Earps died violently, most—Wyatt, Bat, Doc Holliday—died of cancer and other ailments, if only a few of old age. Clavin complicates the story by reminding readers that the Earps weren’t really the law in Tombstone and sometimes fell on the other side of the line and that the ordinary citizens of Tombstone and other famed Western venues valued order and peace and weren’t particularly keen on gunfighters and their mischief. Still, updating the old notion that the Earp myth is the American Iliad, the author is at his best when he delineates those fraught spasms of violence. “It is never a good sign for law-abiding citizens,” he writes at one high point, “to see Johnny Ringo rush into town, both him and his horse all in a lather.” Indeed not, even if Ringo wound up killing himself and law-abiding Tombstone faded into obscurity when the silver played out.

Buffs of the Old West will enjoy Clavin’s careful research and vivid writing.

Pub Date: April 21, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-250-21458-4

Page Count: 400

Publisher: St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: Jan. 20, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2020

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