An Amulet of Greek Earth: Generations of Immigrant Folk Culture

Overview

The boys and men who left their Greek valley and mountain villages in the early 1900s for America came with amulets their mothers had made for them. Some were miniature sacks attached to a necklace; more often they were merely a square of fabric enclosing the values of their lives: a piece of a holy book or a sliver of the True Cross representing their belief in Greek Orthodoxy; a thyme leaf denoting their wild terrain; a blue bead to ward off the Evil Eye; and a pinch of Greek ...

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Overview

The boys and men who left their Greek valley and mountain villages in the early 1900s for America came with amulets their mothers had made for them. Some were miniature sacks attached to a necklace; more often they were merely a square of fabric enclosing the values of their lives: a piece of a holy book or a sliver of the True Cross representing their belief in Greek Orthodoxy; a thyme leaf denoting their wild terrain; a blue bead to ward off the Evil Eye; and a pinch of Greek earth.

In her evocative and meticulously researched book An Amulet of Greek Earth, author Helen Papanikolas explains and examines the vibrant culture these immigrants brought with them to the new world. The Romiosini culture, as it was called, provided the foundation for their new lives and was oftentimes the cause of strife as they passed on their beliefs and traditions to successive generations of Greek Americans.

In the tradition of her fictional accounts of Greek immigrant life, Helen Papanikolas unearths the cultural beliefs and passions that compelled the Greek-American community to make its own way into the broader culture of America. Based on extensive study, personal interviews, and a lifetime of experience, An Amulet of Greek Earth is a revealing and informative chronicle of the immigrant's experience in becoming an American

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Writers like Papanikolas should live a thousand years.”

Journal of the Int. Greek Folklore Society

Booknews
An author of fiction and non-fiction, Papanikolas began writing down some of the stories she had heard growing up in a Greek immigrant community during the 1920s in a mining town in Utah. Later she incorporated studies of immigrants into her college courses about the state. Since the early 1970s, she has given talks to Greek Americans around the country, and here assembles stories of their experience and cultural traditions. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780804010382
  • Publisher: Ohio University Press
  • Publication date: 9/1/2002
  • Pages: 312
  • Product dimensions: 7.00 (w) x 10.00 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Helen Papanikolas was the author of several books of fiction and non-fiction, most recently the novel The Time of the Little Black Bird, winner of the Utah Book Award for Fiction.

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Table of Contents

Preface
Acknowledgments
Pt. 1 Ancient Lore and Lost Greatness
1 The Azure Land 3
2 The Byzantine Eagle 13
3 Seed in Numbers 19
4 Poverty and Communal Celebrations 31
5 Death and Black Flowers 39
6 Stories for the Poor 42
Pt. 2 Nationhood and Exile
7 Romiosini, the Beautiful Word 47
8 Toward the Unknown 51
9 Leaving the Ships with Fleas 60
10 Shoeshine Boys 67
11 The Coffeehouse 70
12 The Greek American Press 76
13 Priests and Apostates 78
14 The Midwest and West 88
15 Strangers among Strangers 92
16 Riding the Rails 98
17 The Midwife Magherou 109
18 Men Wanting to See the Sky 113
19 Maria Economidhou, Journalist 116
20 Picture Brides 122
21 Strikes and Strikebreakers 138
Pt. 3 Americanization
22 Disorder and World War I 151
23 The Ku Klux Klan and the American Legion 158
24 The Greek Cult of Success 164
25 America Swallows the Young 169
26 Refugee Songs for Solace 174
27 Straddling Two Cultures 179
28 Never a Nickel for a Drink 205
29 Archbishop Athenagoras 214
30 The End of the Great Immigrant Era 224
31 The Lost Native Land 238
32 Rebels and Pilgrims 245
33 Maria Callas: A Lost Childhood 251
34 Anguish in the Confessionals 254
Epilogue: Vestiges of Romiosini 262
Notes 283
Glossary 303
Index 305
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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 29, 2002

    More than informative this book is really enlightening .

    I have read all of Ms Papanikolas books of Greek interest. Being myself an imigrant I really apreciate her insights into the experience of the American born, a group that I only know tangentialy. What was really new to me in "Amulet" was the place in life of the women children of the first immigrants. It was a sad story and Helen Papanikolas is a most credible observer. At a time that multiculturalism in this country is clearly here to stay studies of the many American subsets become more and more important. This is 21st century America! I just hope that other ethnic groups were lucky enough to have researchers of the integrity and the talent of Helen Papanikolas.

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