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John Kass's Odyssey is a nine-article Chicago Tribune series from April 2012 that relates the economic and political transformations of Greece and Turkey from the always-honest perspective of an award-winning columnist. As a first-generation American born to Greek immigrants, Kass explores his family's history and his personal connections to these neighboring nations whose own relationship is often tumultuous.
While ancient Greece's traditions are at the heart of our American democracy, modern Greece has become notorious for making headlines as an economic harbinger of doom. Kass finds a desperate situation in Greece: the citizens are frustrated and in despair, due to government corruption and the inevitable fiscal disaster that follows (a situation not unfamiliar to the ready hypocrisies and injustices of Chicago that Kass regularly unearths in his daily column). In the same balanced style that has won him respect from readers and peers alike, Kass sojourns from Athens to his ancestral village of Rizes, finding moments of hope that are uplifting and poignant as well as interpersonal stories that are eminently memorable.
From Greece, Kass crosses the Aegean sea to neighboring Turkey—a country that may be Greece's inverse when it comes to both economics (Turkish GDP growth has boomed over the past decade) and democracy. Turkey is painted as a place of burgeoning democracy driven by Islamist reformers, which is a far cry from the republic's founding and unique status as a secular Islamist state. Traveling from Istanbul to Ankara, and then to the ancient city of Izmir with its rich shared Turkish-Greek history, Kass discovers not only the intimate intertwining of Greece and Turkey, but also his own deep, personal connections to the two lands. Kass brilliantly highlights the surprising circumstances these two countries share, not only with each other but with his hometown of Chicago and with Illinois and the United States as a whole.
John Kass is a columnist and reporter for the Chicago Tribune, where he has covered a variety of topics since arriving in 1983. Kass has been awarded the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi national award for general column writing, the Scripps Howard Foundation's National Journalism Award for commentary, the Press Club of Atlantic City's National Headliner Award for local interest column writing on a variety of subjects, and the Chicago Headline Club's Lisagor Award for best daily newspaper columnist. He also has won the Chicago Tribune's Beck Award for writing. Kass lives in the western suburbs with his wife and twin sons.
Title John Kass's Odyssey
Subtitle A Journey of Discovery in Greece and Turkey
Author John Kass
Audience 01 General / trade
Title First Published 17 May 2012
Nb of pages
GTIN13 (EAN13) 9781572844131
Reference no. 978-1-57284-413-1
Publication Date 17 May 2012
List Price $0.99
John Kass's Odyssey presskit ( pdf 179 KB )