30 JANUARY 1942, Page 16

The Voice of Greece

THIS is a good book—limpid in style, swift in narration, rich in all the qualities of an educated mind, including humour, modera- tion and poetry—a fitting memorial of that six months' war in which Greece, a nation of seven millions, stood up and beat down an aggressor six times her size, and then defied the accumulated might of Hitler's European Empire.

The author puts first things first. " In the events which I shall • describe, the reader will find for himself how victory lies in the soul and not in the hand." The spiritual exaltation with which the Greeks faced their ordeal of fire is the dominant theme of Mr. Casson's book. His outlook is throughout very subjective— more like a lyric than an epic poet's—this may be in part ex- plained by the fact that, Mr. Casson was a member of the British Military Mission to Greece and must not divulge military infor- mation to which he ha& special access. One curious effect of this is to be seen at the end of the book, where we are shown, not the tragic dissolution of the Greek armies, not even those inexpressibly heroic actions by which Greek forces covered the British with- drawal, but simply a picture of the author's own embarkation at Navplion, between the German dive-bombers and the guns of the British Fleet. Perhaps later Mr. Casson will write another book . . . .

It is a good illustration of the author's instinctive values that he should reprint ' in an appendix Vlachos' " Open Letter to Adolf Hitler," one of the immortal documents of this war, and one of the most moving tributes ever paid by a foreigner to the British people. " And those whose own homeland was in flames, those who were keeping anxious watch and ward on the Channel, those who, they said it themselves, had not sufficient material for their own defence, they came and they came immediately. Without haggling, without excuses, they came, and a few days


later on the front in the mountains of Epirus, whene the brutal Italian aggression had begun, the Greek troops and the first