CAREER: Writer, editor, and educator. Princeton University, Princeton, NJ, former assistant professor of history; Sussex University, former reader in history; Birkbeck College, London, England, former professor; Columbia University, New York, NY, professor of history and program director of the Center for International History.
AWARDS, HONORS: Runciman Award, 2005, for Salonica, City of Ghosts.
Greece and the Inter-War Economic Crisis, Clarendon Press (New York, NY), 1991.
(Editor) The Policing of Politics in the Twentieth Century: Historical Perspectives, Berghahn Books (Providence, RI), 1997.
Dark Continent: Europe's Twentieth Century, Knopf (New York, NY), 1998.
The Balkans: A Short History, Modern Library (New York, NY), 2000.
(Editor) After the War Was Over: Reconstructing the Family, Nation, and State in Greece, 1943–1960, Princeton University Press (Princeton, NJ), 2000.
(Editor, with John R. Lampe) Ideologies and National Identities: The Case of Twentieth-Century Southeastern Europe, Central European University Press (New York, NY), 2004.
Salonica, City of Ghosts: Christians, Muslims, and Jews, 1430–1950, HarperCollins (London, England), 2004, Knopf (New York, NY), 2005.
Contributor to periodicals, including Financial Times and Nation.
SIDELIGHTS: Mark Mazower is a professor of history at Columbia University with a particular interest in Europe during the twentieth century. His 1991 book Greece and the Inter-War Economic Crisis grew out of his doctoral thesis, which he wrote under the supervision of John Campbell of St. Anthony's College, Oxford. The book is the first study in English of the Greek economy during the turbulent period between the world wars. During this time, as Dudley Baines noted in the English Historical Review, "the history of Greece … was not without incident. There were three periods of republican government, a monarchy that was abolished twice and reinstated twice, and a dictatorship. There were two coups and two periods of virtual civil war." Drawing on Greek sources that had not previously been accessible to English readers, Greece and the Inter-War Economic Crisis describes this watershed time in Greek history. Nigel Clive in the Times Literary Supplement wrote that it is "an authoritative analysis of Greek politicians in their social and economic context and of the interplay of domestic political, economic and social forces."
In Inside Hitler's Greece: The Experience of Occupation, published in 1993, Mazower draws on German military archives to provide what Richard Overy in the Observer called a "sensitive, illuminating portrait of Greek society at war." As Overy remarked: "The story of resistance and collaboration is complex and demoralizing, conditioned by circumstances of brutality and hardship, fired by a harsh ideological war, shot through with criminality and double-dealing." Mazower describes that double-dealing, explaining that it was often not clear who was fighting for what cause, or why the Germans were in Greece. In addition to murdering thousand of Jews, the Germans also slaughtered thousands of Greeks, destroying 1,200 villages in the process.
"Europe for much of the twentieth century has been a dark and sinister place," wrote Richard Gott in the New Statesman. "A continent of trains and cemeteries, of goose-stepping soldiers and unsmiling secret policemen, of peasants with pitchforks obeying the sun and city workers in overalls respecting the factory siren—this somber Europe of ancient hatreds and unexpected alliances has long been a site of historical interest." Mazower reconstructs this turbulent history in his 1998 volume Dark Continent: Europe's Twentieth Century. His main argument is that liberal democracy, as Gott noted, "is not obviously rooted in Europe's soil, nor is it the natural conclusion to its history. New to the continent in 1918, it had all but collapsed 20 years later. Its eventual triumph after 1945—and 1989—was by no mean preordained." Ma-zower notes that communism and fascism were real contenders for the domination of Europe and that liberal democracy did not always have all the answers for the questions that troubled Europe. Europe has been shaped, he contends, not by a gradual growth of democracy but by continual clashes between these three political world views. The book is not an argument for communism, or for fascism; Mazower, as Gott remarked, "just wants us to understand that it might all have turned out differently—and that the future is uncertain."
Mazower is the editor, with John R. Lampe, of Ideologies and National Identities: The Case of Twentieth-Century Southeastern Europe. The contributors to this volume examine in depth the internal and external wars that plagued the region, as well as the fundamental changes brought by war and its aftermath. Contributors include scholars from a variety of disciplines, including history, political science, comparative literature, and anthropology. The major political and social forces are discussed, including fascism, socialism, communism, and more. The editors include contributions that offer a transnational approach that searches for answers beyond the histories of individual countries. The historical impact on modern ideology and national identity is also covered.
In Salonica, City of Ghosts: Christians, Muslims, and Jews, 1430–1950, Mazower chronicles a nearly 450-year period in which three traditionally diverse and often combative religious groups lived together harmoniously in the Ottoman city of Salonica. Known by various other names—such as Thessaloniki, Selanik, and Solun—Salonica was conquered by Ottoman sultan Murad II in 1430. When Spain expelled its population of Jews in 1492, Salonica welcomed them, ushering in a lengthy era of shared habitation by the three major religious groups. Over the years, Christians and Jews were tolerated by the Muslims of Salonica, "but only if they paid a high tax and accepted second-class status," noted reviewer Mark L. Movsesian in First Things: A Monthly Journal of Religion and Public Life. No other religion could claim superiority over Islam; anyone who did so faced harsh punishment. Though the three groups were not always friendly and closely associated—there was little attempt at cooperation and interaction even into the twentieth century" they managed to coexist relatively successfully. Mazower also relates how the consensus started to unravel in 1912, when the city reverted to full control by the Greeks and how it was completely destroyed by the time of the Nazi occupation. In Commentary, reviewer Andrew Apostolou aimed pointed criticism at what he perceived to be Mazower's downplaying of anti-Semitism and the mistreatment of Jews in Salonica. Other critics had a more favorable response. "Part travelogue, part history, and part cultural study, this is a splendid tour of the fortunes and misfortunes of this Balkan city," remarked a Publishers Weekly reviewer. "Mazower admires the multiethnic character of the Ottoman city and regrets its passing, but he does not gloss over the problems that Ottoman rule posed for non-Muslims," Movsesian remarked. "Using sound scholarship, Mazower brings Thessaloniki's Ottoman era vividly to life," commented Library Journal contributor Robert J. Andrews. Weekly Standard reviewer Stephen Schwartz called it "a major, if incomplete, popular history of one of the most remarkable urban communities ever to exist," while Booklist reviewer Jay Freeman described the book as "a vivid but ultimately tragic light shed on a vanished urban civilization."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
American Historical Review, April, 1995, S. Victor Papacosma, review of Inside Hitler's Greece: The Experience of Occupation, 1941–44, p. 554.
Booklist, March 15, 2005, Jay Freeman, review of Salonica, City of Ghosts: Christians, Muslims, and Jews, 1430–1950, p. 1262.
Choice: Current Reviews for Academic Libraries, March, 1994, S. Bowman, review of Inside Hitler's Greece, p. 1196.
Commentary, July, 1999, David Pryce-Jones, review of Dark Continent: Europe's Twentieth Century, p. 92; July-August, 2005, Andrew Apostolou, review of Salonica, City of Ghosts, p. 75.
English Historical Review, J. S. F. Parker, review of Inside Hitler's Greece, p. 813.
First Things: A Monthly Journal of Religion and Public Life, August-September, 2005, Mark L. Movsesian, review of Salonica, City of Ghosts, p. 59.
Foreign Affairs, May, 1994, review of Inside Hitler's Greece, p. 162.
Historian, autumn, 1994, Omer Bartov, review of Inside Hitler's Greece, p.177.
History Today, January, 2005, Matthew Stewart, review of Salonica, City of Ghosts, p. 58.
Journal of Military History, January, 1995, Michael Marino, review of Inside Hitler's Greece, p. 165.
Kirkus Reviews, February 1, 2005, review of Salonica, City of Ghosts, p. 168.
Library Journal, April 15, 2005, Robert J. Andrews, review of Salonica, City of Ghosts, p. 103.
New Statesman, August 21, 1998, Richard Gott, review of Dark Continent, p. 45.
Observer, September 19, 1993, Richard Overy, review of Inside Hitler's Greece, p. 57.
Publishers Weekly, February 21, 2005, review of Salonica, City of Ghosts, p. 164.
Reference and Research Book News, March, 1994, review of Inside Hitler's Greece, p. 7.
Spectator, January 15, 1994, Nigel Clive, review of Inside Hitler's Greece, p. 27; November 18, 1995, review of Inside Hitler's Greece, p. 50.
Times Literary Supplement, April 9, 1993, Nigel Clive, review of Greece and the Inter-War Economic Crisis, p. 27.
Weekly Standard, January 31, 2005, Stephen Schwartz, review of Salonica, City of Ghosts, p. 39.
Columbia University Department of History Web Site, http://www.columbia.edu/cu/history/ (September 5, 2005), biography of Mark Mazower.
Hellenic Book Service Web Site, http://www.hellenicbookservice.com/ (September 5, 2005), "Professor Mark Mazower Wins the Runciman Award, 2005."