The Full Catastrophe: Travels Among the New Greek Ruins is a book of stories from Greece about the causes and consequences of the monumental debt crisis that has spurred economic ruin and tested Europe's decades-old project of forging a closer union. Deeply reported and vividly told, it offers an absorbing portrait of modern Greece. The book, first published in the summer of 2015 by Crown, was a New York Times Book Review Editor's Choice, and has been translated into Chinese and Estonian.


Praise for The Full Catastrophe:

“Angelos dismantles the facile narrative accepted by many in the eurozone, in which hardworking Germans must clean up a mess made by their lazy and ‘Oriental’ southern neighbors. But he is equally tena- cious when it comes to exposing the misconduct of Greek politicians, not to mention the country’s corrupt system of career tenure and its, well, truly Byzantine bureaucracy. . . . The book is saved from being a withering catalog of absurdity by Mr. Angelos’s subtle, often loving analysis of modern Greek culture.”

Wall Street Journal


“Angelos is a superb guide to the cultural history of modern Greece, and his analysis gives a nuanced background to the screaming headlines that keep Greece in the news.”

Daily Beast


“Angelos, who has traveled from Athens to Thessaloniki, from mountain villages to outlying islands, describes with an engaging mix of disgust and brio the scams Greeks have perpetrated for decades, with the frequent complicity of their government, and the devastating con- sequences now that the con has unraveled.”

The New York Times Book Review, Editor’s Choice


“Revealing and well-informed . . . Angelos follows [his] many threads with aplomb. A candid, unsparing look at the challenges Greece has yet to overcome.”

Kirkus Reviews


“A fast-paced, gripping survey of the problems leading to and result- ing from Greece’s debt crisis . . . Angelos’s often amusing, occasionally dismaying stories form a necessary and compelling read for anyone interested in the current crisis and its possible remedies.”

—Publishers Weekly


“Reporter James Angelos is an excellent tour guide to the fascinating and frustrating paradoxes of modern Greece, as he examines the entrenched cultural habits, historical wounds, prejudices, and civic scandals that have helped make his proud ancestral homeland the reluctant charity case of modern Europe. The Full Catastrophe sheds light not only on how Greek society got to where it is today, but also on the enormous diversity of experiences and assumptions bundled together in the European project. But reader beware: after you follow Angelos into the heart of the Greek crisis, those postcard-perfect islands will never look quite the same again.”

—Meline Toumani, author of There Was and There Was Not


“In seven vignettes of daily life and stories from the news, interspersed with brief historical asides, The Full Catastrophe vividly captures the grim consequences of the Greek financial collapse. A sympathetic and insightful journalist with an eye for the telling detail, Angelos (a second-generation Greek-American himself) subtly exposes long-held contradictions and prejudices rekindled by a brutal austerity. As he navigates a country coming apart, where farce and disaster go hand in hand, a sense of wry humor saves him—and the reader—from utter resentment or despair. By turns entertained and dismayed, we come away with the nagging impression that the greatest tragedy of Greece today may not be the dire situation it has found itself in, but the fact that no one really seems to know what to do about it. The Full Catastrophe is a notable achievement.”

—Panos Karnezis, author of The Convent


“Greek-American journalist James Angelos has taken the full measure of contemporary Greece’s economic, political, and, not least, social meltdown. But this is not only a lament. The vigorously written narrative also contains several bright spots—such as the firsthand testimonies drawn from veteran antifascist Manolis Glezos, Thessaloniki mayor Yiannis Boutaris, and unconventional prelate Bishop Prokopios—that add nuance and balance to a picture that overall remains quite stubbornly dark.” 

—Paul Cartledge, A. G. Leventis professor of Greek culture emeritus, University of Cambridge


Media Appearances for The Full Catastrophe:

Interview with Leonard Lopate

Interview on Writer's Voice

HuffPost Live





Barnes & Noble