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The Bellstone: The Greek Sponge Divers of the Aegean One American's Journey Home: Kalafatas, ... The Bellstone: The Greek Sponge Divers of the Aegean One American's Journey Home: Kalafatas, ... The Bellstone: The Greek Sponge Divers of the Aegean One American's Journey Home: Kalafatas, ... The Bellstone: The Greek Sponge Divers of the Aegean One American's Journey Home: Kalafatas, ...

The Bellstone: The Greek Sponge Divers of the Aegean One American's Journey Home

Kalafatas, Michael N.

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ISBN 10: 1584652721 / ISBN 13: 9781584652724
Published by Brandeis University Press, Hanover, New Hampshire, U.S.A., 2003
Condition: Fine Hardcover
From Garrison House Books IOBA (Medina, OH, U.S.A.)

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Quantity Available: 1

About this Item

Crisp beautiful book with no tears or chips, and no bumps to boards. Pristine inside and out and jacket protected by brand new mylar cover. SIGNED and inscribed by author thus, "June, 20, 2004, To ---- with high admiration and fond regards. Michael Kalafatas." The author tells the saga of the Greek sponge divers of the Dodecanese Islands which lie in the Agean between Greece and Asia Minor. Traces both the historial and cultural aspects. 287 pages, Black and white photographs at center of the book printed on coated paper. Bookseller Inventory # 25021TB

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Bibliographic Details

Title: The Bellstone: The Greek Sponge Divers of ...

Publisher: Brandeis University Press, Hanover, New Hampshire, U.S.A.

Publication Date: 2003

Binding: Hard Cover

Book Condition:Fine

Dust Jacket Condition: Fine

Signed: SIGNED by Author

Edition: First Printing

About this title


For centuries, the young men of the Dodecanese Islands, a string of islands in the Aegean Sea between Greece and the coast of Asia Minor, earned their living by diving for sponges. They would descend to the bottom of the sea on just a single breath of air, using as a weight and rudder a flat, marble diving stone called a bellstone. They used this ancient technique of "naked diving" until 1863 when the deep-sea diving suit was introduced into the sponge-fishing industry. The new diving suit (dubbed "Satan's machine" by the divers) allowed the diver to remain under water for long periods of time, increasing his productivity a hundredfold, but it also brought a dramatic change in the physiology of diving. Rather than taking one deep breath, the diver now breathed compressed air, which caused "the bends" if he rose from the depths of the sea too quickly. Pressure from international companies to increase the number of sponges harvested on each dive led to mounting casualties. Between 1866 and 1895, on the island of Kalymnos alone, 800 young men died of the bends and 200 more were paralyzed. Michael N. Kalafatas's grandfather, born on the island of Symi, was eye-witness to these events. In 1995, Kalafatas discovered an epic poem entitled "Winter Dream" written by his grandfather, Metrophanes Kalafatas. The poem, composed a century earlier in Greek, recounts the plight of sponge divers confronted with this new technology. He had the poem rendered into English by poet Olga Broumas, and using it as his bellstone, dove into his own past. While tracing the historical and cultural contours of this Greek livelihood, Kalafatas carries the reader from the Dodecanese Islands in the 19th century to Constantinople and the Black Sea as well as to contemporary Tarpon Springs, Florida, and Melbourne, Australia - the far-flung outposts of the Greek sponge-diving diaspora. He portrays the hubris of young sponge divers defying the odds; the passion of their wives and mothers in protesting the new diving suits; the venality of international capitalists intent on maximising their investments; and the courage of the Dodecanese people in adapting to catastrophic changes beyond their control. The story Kalafatas weaves is deeply personal, as his grandfather's poem leads the author back to Greece. But it is more than a personal story; it is a lamentation for and celebration of the families, history and culture of the sponge divers of the Dodecanese.

From the Publisher:

6 x 9 trim. 21 illus.

"About this title" may belong to another edition of this title.

Store Description

Garrison House Books has maintained an on-line presence since 1997. We are a general interest used, rare, and out-of-print bookstore based in the quaint Victorian town of Medina, Ohio. American history, children's books and ephemera (the history of the people) intrigue us most, but we buy and maintain books in all categories. We are Tess and Eric Kindig, married forever, and passionate about books, bookselling and readers. Tess has been a newspaper reporter, magazine writer, and public relations director, and is still a working author with 13 published books to her credit. Eric owns Log Cabin Inc. in Lodi, Ohio, an 8,000-plus square foot retail establishment specializing in historical books and reenactment accoutrements. In addition to his remarkable ability to schlep large piles of books from hither to yon, Eric brings over 30 years of retail experience to this endeavor! Also, joining our staff are our beloved bookshop kitties -- Miss Lil and Mickey. The former provides gentility and elan, and the latter (who is basically a street thug) provides comic relief. We believe that books are treasures, not commodities, and that readers are individuals, not numbers. Our greatest joy is in getting to know you and serving you with grace and good humor. We appreciate your business very much!

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