New York.- The Greek Press Office presented the renowned author, cine critic, professor and director of the Greek American Studies Project at the Center for Byzantine and Modern Greek Studies at Queens College Dan Georgakas, at a presentation and panel discussion of his new book My Detroit; Growing Up Greek American in Motor City.
The presentation of the book was followed by a panel discussion along with Q&A with the audience with the participation of Maria Iliou, director of The Journey: The Dream of the Greeks in America, George Tselos, Supervisory Archivist at the Statue of Liberty/ Ellis Island National Monument, Alexander Kitroeff, leading historian of Greek America and Associate Professor of history at Haverford College and the author, Dan Georgakas.
“Dan Georgakas writes with power, intelligence, and keen wit. My Detroit is unique contribution to our understanding of the American ethnic and social experience. It is a rich gathering of personal memoirs combined with broad social insight. The book is essential reading not only for Greek Americans but for anyone who wants to know more about an important era in the history of Detroit” writes Charles Moskos, American Academy of Arts and Sciences and Author: Greek Americans–Struggle and Success.
Growing up Greek in Detroit is just what happened to Dan Georgakas who was born in Detroit’s Eastside in 1938. In his memoir, My Detroit, Growing Up Greek and American in Motor City, he tells the story of the entire community through the prism of the parish of the Assumption Greek Orthodox Church then located on the far east side of the city on Beniteau.
Georgakas explains, “I wanted to give voice to the Greeks of Detroit and share their true stories, those that depict the early period of Detroit’s industrial renaissance and the struggle of this pioneer generation to assimilate.”
Georgakas’ accounts of Detroit are poignant, filled with contrasts and comparisons from his vast grasp of Greek literature, poetry and history, as well as, his personal experiences. The pages are crafted to draw the reader into the story to such an extent that one finds personal memories, though forgotten, become once again vivid and bright. His recount of his visits to Delmar Grocery in Detroit’s Greektown force the abrupt recall of the sounds and scents so familiar, you could almost taste the dark pungent vinegar laced Kalamata olives that were stored in barrels beneath the cramped cheese display case, and hear the warm greeting of its proprietor, “kalo sorisete paidia”.
A recent five star review on Amazon.com states, “Dan Georgakas’ questioning mind makes the history he presents unique, original and interesting. Refreshingly, My Detroit is not a rehash of conventional thinking.”
Georgakas a professor at Queens College-City University of New York, shares that it is important to keep his reader engaged and interested in his characters and themes. He will be in the Detroit area on April 19, 2007 as a guest of the Assumption Community. The lecture begins at 7:00pm and promises to be an entertaining experience.
Dan Georgakas is Director of the Greek American Studies Project at the Center for Byzantine and Modern Greek Studies at Queens College-City University of New York. He is an editor of the Journal of the Hellenic Diaspora and a columnist for the National Herald weekly. Among his non-Greek hats, he is a film critic and is a long-time member of the editorial board of Cineaste film quarterly.