The Ghosts of Plaka Beach: A True Story of Murder and Retribution in Wartime Greece
Stylianos (Stelios) Perrakis

About the Author :
Stylianos (Stelios) Perrakis, born and raised in Greece, left in 1964 to study in the U.S. He got his PhD from U.C. Berkeley in 1970 and emigrated to Canada the same year. He has been teaching economics and finance since then, first at the University of Ottawa and presently at Concordia University in Montreal; he has also taught as a visiting professor in France, Switzerland, Greece, Thailand, China, and in the U.S. He is the author of more than forty research publications in prestigious academic journals in areas as disparate as economic development, regulatory economics, capital budgeting, and financial derivates. He has also authored and co-authored several book chapters, a textbook on Canadian Industrial Organization, a textbook on investment that is currently in its fifth edition, as well as several newspaper articles on economics and current affairs for Canadian newspapers. The Ghosts of Plaka Beach is his first book-length work of historical non-fiction.




Sixty years after the end of World War II Stylianos (Stelios) Perrakis, Greek-born finance professor who has lived most of his life in Canada, went back to Greece to investigate a traumatic event in his family’s history that colored his childhood years. The circumstances surrounding the kidnapping and murder of his maternal uncle by a Communist death squad in May 1944, in the Argolida region of the Greek Peloponnese, were cloaked in mystery, never discussed openly by family members. Using trial transcripts, interviews with survivors and with people involved in his uncle’s kidnapping, and such primary materials as unpublished diaries and family correspondence, Perrakis managed to document the full sequence of events that led up to this family tragedy. He then widened his focus to draw out the implications of this particular event, painting an intimate picture of a prosperous middle-class provincial world faced with extraordinary challenges that it was unable to overcome.

This is a book full of haunting images that far transcend the boundaries of family history. There are resistance fighters who turn into mass murderers, German troops who rescue innocent hostages slated for execution, entire communities who join the fight against the Communist resistance. There are also unexpected outbreaks of generosity and compassion. As distinguished Yale professor Stathis Kalyvas writes in the foreword, “Don’t be fooled by the small scale of The Ghosts of Plaka Beach, its modest ambition, and the author’s claim that he has not written a history book. This is as rigorous and thoroughly researched a history book as they come; it is also much more insightful than most.”


“Perrakis reveals nuances, grey zones, and uncomfortable truths: of resistance fighters turning into mass criminals; of collaborators driven by revenge rather than ideology; of ordinary people who far from being mere innocent and passive recipients of the surrounding violence are also inactive, if often myopic, agents of war’s violence; but also of unexpected small acts of great courage and compassion. Despite its personal focus and small scale, The Ghosts of Plaka Beach is one of the most insightful books about the Greek Civil War.” --Stathis N. Kalyvas, Arnold Wolfers Professor of Political Science, Yale University

ISBN 0-8386-4090-7

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