The previously unpublished memoir of social worker Charles Schermerhorn offers new and eye-opening source material pertaining to the epicenter of the early Cold War: northern Greece. This book brings this memoir to light to enrich the discussion about the Greek Civil War and the late 1940s, through the highly perceptive views of a firsthand observer of the turmoil. Schermerhorn’s writings speak most compellingly to the power of human agency amid adverse sociopolitical circumstances. His memoir takes a child-centered and social-historical approach to controversial events, filling a great void in our knowledge.

This book looks at a single mid-twentieth-century crisis in multidimensional ways, as a moral, material, social, and institutional calamity that mobilized a motley crew of actors, from new humanitarian aid organizations to press agents, from soldiers to destitute repeat-refugees, from fledgling modern missionaries to foreign diplomats and economic strategists. It was Schermerhorn’s unique achievement to interact with them all, seeking common ground in the arduous task of trying to improve living conditions for children and rural families. But he also realized how easily foreign aid could become a tool of political power and expediency.

Focusing on the Greek Civil War, this book will interest readers studying the Cold War, the heated peripheries of proxy wars, and the devastating social fallout of conflicts raging in areas hidden from public view. The global history of humanitarian crises is a burgeoning field, and Schermerhorn was the first to place Greek children and villagers, who themselves left hardly any sources behind, at the center of this urgent and ever-relevant debate.

chapter 1|39 pages


chapter 2|205 pages

Charley in Greece: 1946 to 1951