The book “On the Unhappiness of being Greek” was written in the dark years of the Greek Junta and published after its fall. (1975).
It became a runaway bestseller, went through 38 printings and is still selling well. People reading it now, tell the author: “I just finished reading your last book”, proving that it is still actual.
The book was translated into many languages (German, French, English, Italian, Spanish, Polish Bulgarian, Turkish, Albanian, Chinese) and became an international bestseller.
In 2012, Nikos Dimou wrote a postscript for the foreign editions:
People who enjoy reading this book are probably not Greek. For a Greek this book is painful. He may smile at some aphorisms, even laugh sometimes, but closing it, he will feel well …unhappy. It portrays the basic problem of his existence, his urge for more and his inability to cope with less. Conflicts undermine his identity, make him uncertain and changeable. He is divided between his glorious past and his meager present, between his Eastern mentality and his European aspiration – torn asunder by forces of tradition (like the Orthodox Church) and modernity. His is a difficult fate.
This book is not a humorous collection of aphorisms about the shortcomings of Greeks – but a bitter reflection on their tragic destiny of being split among past and present, north and south, east and west. It is a declaration of love for Greece, the true, the profound Greece – and not the superficial land of myths that Greek themselves have created in order to escape from reality. By no means is it the work of an “Anti-Hellene” but the product of a man who cares deeply for his country, and tries to help his fellow citizens fulfill the Delphic motto: “Know thyself”. Something that can be a painful procedure, if your mentality, education and upbringing have taught you to avoid truth.
Greece’s present predicament is to a large extend the result of all these flaws. More emotional and less rational, a Greek must re-think himself in order to survive in the modern world. This book tries to help him on the way.