Description & Review
“A World War II veteran recounts firsthand horrors on bloody battlefields and passionate liaisons in Middle Eastern nightclubs as a Grecian soldier.
Hadjifotiou’s (Games of Passion in Mykonos, 2015) life was interrupted by war, with Mussolini’s invasion of Greece spurring him to leave home and join the fight against the Axis powers. He enlisted in the British army and found himself in the port city of Tobruk, Libya. Here, he was one of history’s famous “Desert Rats”—men who spent eight months of hell under siege by Field Marshal Erwin Rommel’s troops: “Thirty-five thousand wounded and several thousand dead.” Hadjifotiou’s reputation as one of Tobruk’s heroes afforded him numerous promotions and military decorations. He was eventually assigned to pilot a crane named “Mac” to salvage Allied vehicles and save trapped soldiers. Between the siege and battles against German forces in both El Alamein, Egypt, and Rimini, Italy, he spent many of his nights with fellow soldiers acting out in the urbane nightclubs of Egypt, and later Beirut, seeking pleasure and luxury with alcohol and women. The author recalls his wartime adventures with a dry romanticism, never shying away from his experiences, be they vodka-fueled nights or hand-to-hand combat on the battlefield. Hadjifotiou is short-tempered and apolitical, prone to nostalgia in unexpected ways—the soldier recalls his crane with more sentimentality than his whirlwind marriage to a French general’s daughter. When reunited with his lost love, Yuki Russell, a Jewish-American singer he met early in the war, his enthusiasm will likely seem shocking to some, as he seemed to have all but forgotten her before. There’s no sugarcoating these oddities, no rationalizations made for these arrogant or reckless turns any more than for the heroic ones. The closest the book comes to indemnifying the actions of any—from womanizing to looting—is to maintain that those who were not there cannot know. The autobiography is remarkably concise, perhaps to its detriment—it’s unlikely readers will feel transported to nightclubs or war zones with its minimalist approach.
A pithy and unapologetic memoir, as much about the good times of war as the bad.” — Kirkus Reviews, August 19, 2016
About the Author
Zahos Hadjifotiou was born in Athens in the picturesque district of Plaka. He lived, as he himself often says, in a town resembling a theatrical setting. Zahos Hadjifotiou is a Greek best-selling author who met success from his first book. He has written dozens of books, many of them translated into foreign languages. All his books are best sellers. The Middle East Affairs recounts Zahos’ adventures in legendary events of WWII (siege of Tobruk, battles of El Alamein and Rimini), with all its tragedy and specific details, exactly as they were experienced by the writer. All stories are true and based on the author’s experiences, not based on descriptions as are used by many war historian authors. At the same time, it is a vivid depiction of the cosmopolitan and aristocratic urban environments of Alexandria, Cairo, and Beirut during those turbulent years when death was highly probable and people tried to enjoy life to the fullest. Zahos Hadjifotiou is a remarkable and fearless individual who lived life to the fullest, fighting in battles as fiercely as he loved, partied, and enjoyed life.
At the age of seventeen, just out of school and right after the Germans occupied Greece in 1941, he fled to the Middle East and fought in Tobruk, El Alamein, and with the Rimini Brigade in Italy. After the war, he got involved for a while with the family business but later left for Paris, where he lived for several years.
On his return to Greece, he took up journalism as a columnist in most of the prominent daily newspapers. He is the prolific author of fourteen books, some of which made record sales. He is also the author of verses put to music by distinguished popular musicians, has written plays for the theatre, and has translated and adapted theatrical plays that were staged with success.
He has worked for twenty-three years on television and became famous for his daily five-minute political humour talk show.
He has travelled extensively, has taken part in car rallies, and always was and still very much is a ladies’ man. He was deputy mayor of Athens.
Today, at the age of ninety-something, he appears on many television talk shows and still drives fast cars…
Title: Middle East Affairs
Subtitle: War Adventures of Zahos Hadjifotiou in Tobruk, El Alamein and Rimini
Author: Zahos Hadjifotiou
Copyediting: CreateSpace (an Amazon company)
Category: Autobiography: historical, political & military / Memoirs
Regional Subject: Middle East
Thema: History & Archaeology, Fiction & Related items, Autobiography: historical, political & military
ISBN-13: 978-1-910370-82-7 (assigned to Stergiou Limited)
Publication Date: August 20, 2016
Country of Publication: United Kingdom
Copyright: © 2016 Zahos Hadjifotiou
Book type: B&W 5 x 8 in or 203 x 127 mm Perfect Bound on White w/Matte Lam
Weight: 0.400 lbs
Publisher: Stergiou Limited
eBook: e-Pub ISBN-13: 978-1-910370-83-4 (assigned to Stergiou Limited)
Audiobook: Mp3 (449 MB), M4b (266 MB)
First edition in Greek: October 1997
Second edition in Greek: November 1998
First edition in English: Athens 2001 (ISBN: 960-8172-13-6)
Second edition in English: London 2015 (ISBN: 978-1-910370-61-2), Stergiou Limited
Title of the first and second edition: Love & War