New Greek TV's featured Greek of the Week is best-selling author and investigate journalist Nicholas Gage.
The father of three was born in in the village of Lia in Filiates, Thesprotia, Epirus, Greece with the original name of Nikolaos Gatzoyiannis (Νίκόλαος Γκατζογιάννης). Gage is recognized around the world for his autobiographical memoirs that include the best-seller Eleni and A Place for Us. Eleni chronicles his mother's life and death during the Greek Civil War. Its sequel, A Place for Us, documents Gage's immigration experience to Massachusetts, where he is reunited with his father.
President Ronald Reagan referenced Eleni as an inspiration for his summit meeting to halt the arms race with the USSR. Gage's renowned Mafia reports resulted into two best-sellers, The Mafia Is Not An Equal Opportunity Employer and Mafia, U.S.A. He was extremely influential in exposing Vice President Spiro Agnew's corruptive means, that resulted in his resignation. The Greek writer also penned Greek Fire: The Story of Maria Callas and Aristotle Onassis, that covered the tragic romance between the two Hellenic legends.
Nicholas Gage sat down with New Greek TV's President Yanna Darilis, and offered an inside look into his life and career, which can be viewed by scrolling to the very bottom of this article's page. Below are the highlights of his interview.
Yanna Darilis: You have a very interesting story, can you tell us about your experience immigrating to Massachusetts at 9-years-old?
Nicholas Gage: I didn't know any English at all and there weren't any English as a second language classes back then. I was put in a class with learning disabled children. But what looks like a tragedy can often have benefits; that moved me to learn English very well and fast. Twelve years later I received an award from President Kennedy at the White House, for the best published writing by a college student. America is a great country.
Yanna Darilis: Did this prompt you to start a career in journalism?
Nicholas Gage: My motivation was that my mother was executed during the Greek Civil War by Communist guerillas. I wanted to find out what happened to her. I went to Boston University and Columbia University's Graduate School of Journalism and focused on investigative reporting. I wanted to develop the skills to dig out information and how to get people to talk to you and reveal things. I pursued a career with The Associated Press, The Wall Street Journal and then The New York Times, where I was the chief investigative reporter for many years.
Yanna Darilis: How difficult is it to sustain an investigative journalist career?
Nicholas Gage: You have to have a low threshold of indignation. You need to be able to develop sources, to keep your word, to maintain a professional distance and to be dogged, not to yield until you get the story. It takes patience and ingenuity, you have to be very agile in how you treat people to get them to trust you...I get them to like me, that's the key.
Yanna Darilis: Can you tell us about some moments in history that have remained with you that you were investigating at the time?
Nicholas Gage: I was in Greece when the junta fell, I was in Iran when the Shah left, I was at the first takeover at the U.S. Embassy in Iran. I had a few moments in my time.
Yanna Darilis: Is the truth given to the world or is it portrayed the way it needs to be portrayed?
Nicholas Gage: In my stories, I always stuck to the truth. Also in my book Eleni, a lot of Leftists weren't happy with my book. They tried to attack it but no one found one error, no one sued me because all of the information was documented and recorded. I wrote Eleni really for my children and nephews and nieces, so they would know who their grandmother was and what they owed to the life they had. I thought it would sell 5,000 copies to Greek-Americans and then it became huge. I had seventy movie offers and it was translated into thirty-four languages. Thirty years later it's still in print all over the world.
Yanna Darilis: Do you suggest that the new generation travels to Greece and introduces their children to Greece to learn about their country?
Nicholas Gage: It will be very hard for people to keep the language up, but to maintain the identity...what group has a greater history than the Greeks? Every society before the Greeks was a tyranny and were ruled by strong rulers and dictators. The Greeks were the first to say that you could have order and freedom and they produced the first democracy and the values that came out of that-individual rights, artistic freedom. If you're part of the culture that produced all that, why would you not be proud of that and pass it on to your children? It's a matter of parents passing it on.
To watch Nicholas Gage's interview in full on NGTV's Kalimera USA, scroll down to the bottom of the page.
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