Greek Fire: The Story of Maria Callas and Aristotle Onassis

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Overview

The love affair between Maria Callas and Aristotle Onassis scandalized and fascinated the world from the moment it began in 1959 during a cruise on
the fabled yacht Christina. Now, for the first time, acclaimed author Nicholas Gage reveals the full story behind the tempestuous affair between the legendary opera diva and the tycoon. Drawing
upon Callas' most private papers, Gage narrates
the relationship from...
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Overview

The love affair between Maria Callas and Aristotle Onassis scandalized and fascinated the world from the moment it began in 1959 during a cruise on
the fabled yacht Christina. Now, for the first time, acclaimed author Nicholas Gage reveals the full story behind the tempestuous affair between the legendary opera diva and the tycoon. Drawing
upon Callas' most private papers, Gage narrates
the relationship from Onassis' pursuit of Callas throughout Europe to the strange covert courtship Onassis conducted prior to his marriage to Jacqueline Kennedy-a surprise that stunned the world and nearly destroyed Callas.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Arguing that previous books about Maria Callas (1923-1977) and Aristotle Onassis (1904-1975) are full of errors, investigative reporter Gage (Eleni) attempts to set the record straight on the couple's birth dates, where they first met, when they first slept together and many other details of their ill-starred love affair. His most interesting revelation, based on Callas's private papers and statements by her maid and butler, is that instead of the abortion Callas said Onassis forced her to have in 1966, she actually had a "secret son," a baby, conceived at the beginning of their affair in 1959, who died the day he was born. Gage gives an exhaustive account of the infamous three-week cruise on which the much-publicized liaison began, accounting for each meeting between the opera diva and the shipping tycoon, what they said, what they ate and wore, and how the other passengers, including Callas's husband and Onassis's wife, reacted to the developing scandal as they sailed along the Greek and Turkish coasts on Onassis's opulent yacht. The author asserts that the lovers were drawn together in large part by their shared Greek heritage, and he equates their mutual passion with "Greek Fire," the all-consuming incendiary substance used in battle by the warships of the Byzantine empire. Unfortunately, the book, laden with excess detail, fails to emanate the same heat. So much has already been written about the affair that, even though the particulars may change and new facts are found, the story is all too familiar, especially the depressing ending--the aging tycoon marrying Jackie Kennedy instead of Callas and immediately regretting it, and the prescription-drug-dependent diva living as a recluse in Paris, still in love with Onassis but refusing to accept him again as a lover. Photos not seen by PW. (Oct.) Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.
Library Journal
The Greek-born Gage, a former reporter (the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times) and the author of Eleni, traveled around the world to research Maria Callas, Aristotle Onassis, and their relationship. Among those he interviewed were Callas's friends, her sister and maid, Onassis's sisters, and several guests who were aboard the fateful cruise where their affair again. The author, who contradicts many of the other numerous accounts of their relationship, provides evidence for his version of the events. Tracing Onassis's and Callas's pasts, their relationship, and the Jackie Kennedy years, Gage provides the first work devoted solely to the complex couple. His research is supplemented by his knowledge of Greek language, tradition, and culture. This dramatic and well-written work should be purchased for collections containing other works about Callas or Onassis. [Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 6/1/00.]--Maria C. Bagshaw, Lake Erie Coll., Painesville, OH Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.
Booknews
Using interviews with contemporaries and associates as well as letters and other documents, Gage, author and former reporter for the , follows Callas and Onassis from their meeting in Venice in 1957 to the scandalous cruise that ruined their marriages and initiated an affair that continued through Onassis' marriage to Jacqueline Kennedy in 1968. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
Kirkus Reviews
The illfated, wellpublicized love affair between the powerful shipping magnate and the acclaimed opera star is depicted as a modern version of an ancient Greek tragedy—but the details are rather less exalted.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780756779146
  • Publisher: DIANE Publishing Company
  • Publication date: 8/28/2004
  • Pages: 422

Meet the Author

Nicholas Gage is the author of six other books, including the award-winning Eleni. He lives in North Grafton, Massachusetts.
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