A new book shows how the Greek revolution shaped Europe


The Greek Revolution: 1821 and the Making of Modern Europe. By Mark Mazower. Penguin Press; 608 pages; $35. Allen Lane; £30

WHEN A COALITION of footloose merchants, sea captains, hard-pressed peasants, landlords, bandits, clerics and intellectuals raised the flag against the Ottomans in the spring of 1821, the great powers of Europe knew exactly what they thought. This impertinent move to establish a state called Greece spelled trouble and should be discouraged.

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After six years of grinding warfare, economic ruin and atrocities, the calculus shifted. Europe’s masters felt they had more to fear from an Ottoman victory, with all the punitive killings and deportations that would follow. In October 1827 the British, French and Russian navies—notionally bent on enforcing a truce—sank the Ottoman and Egyptian fleet in Navarino…

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