December 10, 1987 President Reagan cited Eleni
in his speech to the nation as a motivation for his efforts to seek
an arms agreement with Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev. He said
in part: "You know, a couple of years ago Nancy and I were deeply
moved by a story told by former New York Times reporter and Greek
immigrant Nicholas Gage. It's the story of Eleni, his mother. A
mother who was tried and executed because she smuggled her children
out to safety in America. And her final cry was not a curse on her
killers, but an invocation of what she died for, a declaration of
love. These simple last words of Mr. Gage's mother---Eleni---were:
'My children.' How that cry echoes down through the centuries, a
cry for all children of the world, a cry for peace, for a world
of love and understanding."
In 1987 Mr. Gage published Hellas,
a portrait of his native Greece, which has been widely acclaimed
by critics. The New Yorker said the book is "remarkable for its
color and sharp detail, as well as for its expression of an almost
devout love for Greece," and Christopher Janus wrote in The Chicago
Sun Times that, "Hellas is the best book I've ever read on Greece."
Mr. Gage was awarded an honorary Doctor of Letters degree on May
19, 1985 by Boston University at graduation exercises in which he
delivered the commencement address. In presenting him the degree,
Boston University President John Silber said in part: "Like Joseph
Conrad and Samuel Beckett, you write in your second language with
a brilliance rarely achieved by those writing in their first. Having
been both refugee and immigrant, as you have risen to the top of
your demanding profession, you have remained true both to your native
land and to the colony of its sons and daughters planted in America.
In addition to writing, Mr. Gage has pursued a career in films,
serving as co-producer of the movie version of Eleni and as an executive
producer of The Godfather, Part III. He is currently working an
another film project, which is in the early stages of development.