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Patrick Leigh Fermor

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Patrick Leigh Fermor
 
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Sir Patrick Michael Leigh Fermor, DSO, OBE (11 February 1915 – 10 June 2011) was a British author, scholar and soldier, best known as Paddy Fermor, who played a prominent role behind the lines in the Cretan resistance during World War II.[1] He was widely regarded as "Britain's greatest living travel writer",[2] with books including his classic A Time of Gifts (1977). A BBC journalist once described him as "a cross between Indiana Jones, James Bond and Graham Greene."[3]
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Sir Patrick Michael Leigh Fermor, DSO, OBE (11 February 1915 – 10 June 2011) was a British author, scholar and soldier, best known as Paddy Fermor, who played a prominent role behind the lines in the Cretan resistance during World War II.[1] He was widely regarded as "Britain's greatest living travel writer",[2] with books including his classic A Time of Gifts (1977). A BBC journalist once described him as "a cross between Indiana Jones, James Bond and Graham Greene."[3]
Books by thisAuthor
  • The Broken Road

    The Broken Road
    From the Iron Gates to Mount Athos
    In the winter of 1933 eighteen-year-old Patrick (“Paddy”) Leigh Fermor set out to walk across Europe, starting in Holland and ending in Constantinople, a trip that took him the better part of a year. Decades later, when he was well over fifty, Leigh Fermor told the story of that life-changing journey in A Time of Gifts and Between the Woods and the Water, two works now celebrated as among the most vivid, absorbing, delightful, and beautifully-written travel books of all time. The Broken Road is the long and avidly awaited account of the final leg of his youthful adventure that Leigh Fermor promised but was unable to finish before his death in 2011. Assembled from Leigh Fermor’s manuscripts by his prize-winning biographer Artemis Cooper and the travel writer Colin Thubron, this is perhaps the most personal of all Leigh Fermor’s books, catching up with young Paddy in the fall of 1934 and following him through Bulgaria and Romania to the coast of the Black Sea. Days and nights on the road, spectacular landscapes and uncanny cities, friendships lost and found, leading the high life in Bucharest or camping out with fishermen and shepherds: in the The Broken Road such incidents and escapades are described with all the linguistic bravura, odd and astonishing learning, and overflowing exuberance that Leigh Fermor is famous for, but also with a melancholy awareness of the passage of time, especially when he meditates on the  scarred history of the Balkans or on his troubled relations with his father. The book ends, perfectly, with Paddy’s diary from the winter of 1934, when he had reached Greece, the country he would fall in love with and fight for. Across the space of three quarters of century we can still hear the ringing voice of an irrepressible young man embarking on a life of adventure.

    Words of Mercury

    Words of Mercury
    Tales from a Lifetime of Travel
    A career-spanning anthology from the greatest traveler—and travel writer—of the twentieth century. The adventures of Patrick “Paddy” Leigh Fermor, Britain’s most beloved traveler, began in 1933, when he embarked on a walk from Holland to Constantinople—the entire length of Europe—at the tender age of eighteen. Sleeping in barns, monasteries, and, on occasion, aristocratic country houses, the young adventurer made way his through the Old World just as everything was about to change. Words of Mercury collects pieces from every stage of Leigh Fermor’s life, from his journey through Eastern Europe just before the outbreak of the Second World War—described in gorgeous, meditative detail—to his encounter with voodoo in Haiti, to a monastic retreat to Normandy to try to write a book. Also included is the story of one of his most well-known exploits from the war—his planned and executed kidnap of a German general under British orders. Ever the student, “Paddy” also wrote extensively on his encounters with polymaths, linguists, and artists all over the world. Over the course of his illustrious lifetime, Leigh Fermor wrote several acclaimed travel books, countless essays, translations, and book reviews, many of which are compiled in this anthology. His unique experiences out in the world fed his insatiable curiosity and voracious appetite for scholarship. His tales, written in a singular, elegant style, have inspired generations of writers and continue to shape the language of travel.

    The Traveller's Tree

    The Traveller's Tree
    A Journey Through the Caribbean Islands
    In the late 1940s Patrick Leigh Fermor, now widely regarded as one of the twentieth century’s greatest travel writers, set out to explore the then relatively little-visited islands of the Caribbean. Rather than a comprehensive political or historical study of the region, The Traveller’s Tree, Leigh Fermor’s first book, gives us his own vivid, idiosyncratic impressions of Guadeloupe, Martinique, Dominica, Barbados, Trinidad, and Haiti, among other islands. Here we watch Leigh Fermor walk the dusty roads of the countryside and the broad avenues of former colonial capitals, equally at home among the peasant and the elite, the laborer and the artist. He listens to steel drum bands, delights in the Congo dancing that closes out Havana’s Carnival, and observes vodou and Rastafarian rites, all with the generous curiosity and easy erudition that readers will recognize from his subsequent classic accounts A Time of Gifts and Between the Woods and the Water.  

    A Time of Gifts

    A Time of Gifts
    On Foot to Constantinople: From the Hook of...
    At the age of eighteen, Patrick Leigh Fermor set off from the heart of London on an epic journey—to walk to Constantinople. A Time of Gifts is the rich account of his adventures as far as Hungary, after which Between the Woods and the Water continues the story to the Iron Gates that divide the Carpathian and Balkan mountains. Acclaimed for its sweep and intelligence, Leigh Fermor’s book explores a remarkable moment in time. Hitler has just come to power but war is still ahead, as he walks through a Europe soon to be forever changed—through the Lowlands to Mitteleuropa, to Teutonic and Slav heartlands, through the baroque remains of the Holy Roman Empire; up the Rhine, and down to the Danube. At once a memoir of coming-of-age, an account of a journey, and a dazzling exposition of the English language, A Time of Gifts is also a portrait of a continent already showing ominous signs of the holocaust to come.

  • Roumeli

    Roumeli
    Travels in Northern Greece
    Roumeli is not to be found on present-day maps. It is the name once given to northern Greece—stretching from the Bosporus to the Adriatic and from Macedonia to the Gulf of Corinth, a name that evokes a world where the present is inseparably bound up with the past. Roumeli describes Patrick Leigh Fermor’s wanderings in and around this mysterious and yet very real region. He takes us with him among Sarakatsan shepherds, to the monasteries of Meteora and the villages of Krakora, and on a mission to track down a pair of Byron’s slippers at Missolonghi. As he does, he brings to light the inherent conflicts of the Greek inheritance—the tenuous links to the classical and Byzantine heritage, the legacy of Ottoman domination—along with an underlying, even older world, traces of which Leigh Fermor finds in the hills and mountains and along stretches of barely explored coast. Roumeli is a companion volume to Patrick Leigh Fermor’s famous Mani: Travels in the Southern Peloponnese.

    A Time to Keep Silence

    A Time to Keep Silence
    While still a teenager, Patrick Leigh Fermor made his way across Europe, as recounted in his classic memoirs, A Time of Gifts and Between the Woods and the Water. During World War II, he fought with local partisans against the Nazi occupiers of Crete. But in A Time to Keep Silence, Leigh Fermor writes about a more inward journey, describing his several sojourns in some of Europe’s oldest and most venerable monasteries. He stays at the Abbey of St. Wandrille, a great repository of art and learning; at Solesmes, famous for its revival of Gregorian chant; and at the deeply ascetic Trappist monastery of La Grande Trappe, where monks take a vow of silence. Finally, he visits the rock monasteries of Cappadocia, hewn from the stony spires of a moonlike landscape, where he seeks some trace of the life of the earliest Christian anchorites. More than a history or travel journal, however, this beautiful short book is a meditation on the meaning of silence and solitude for modern life. Leigh Fermor writes, “In the seclusion of a cell—an existence whose quietness is only varied by the silent meals, the solemnity of ritual, and long solitary walks in the woods—the troubled waters of the mind grow still and clear, and much that is hidden away and all that clouds it floats to the surface and can be skimmed away; and after a time one reaches a state of peace that is unthought of in the ordinary world.”

    Between the Woods and the Water

    Between the Woods and the Water
    On Foot to Constantinople: From The Middle...
    Continuing the epic foot journey across Europe begun in A Time of Gifts The journey that Patrick Leigh Fermor set out on in 1933—to cross Europe on foot with an emergency allowance of one pound a day—proved so rich in experiences that when much later he sat down to describe them, they overflowed into more than one volume. Undertaken as the storms of war gathered, and providing a background for the events that were beginning to unfold in Central Europe, Leigh Fermor’s still-unfinished account of his journey has established itself as a modern classic. Between the Woods and the Water, the second volume of a projected three, has garnered as many prizes as its celebrated predecessor, A Time of Gifts. The opening of the book finds Leigh Fermor crossing the Danube—at the very moment where his first volume left off. A detour to the luminous splendors of Prague is followed by a trip downriver to Budapest, passage on horseback across the Great Hungarian Plain, and a crossing of the Romanian border into Transylvania. Remote castles, mountain villages, monasteries and towering ranges that are the haunt of bears, wolves, eagles, gypsies, and a variety of sects are all savored in the approach to the Iron Gates, the division between the Carpathian mountains and the Balkans, where, for now, the story ends.

    In Tearing Haste

    In Tearing Haste
    Letters between Deborah Devonshire and Patrick...
    In the spring of 1956, Deborah, Duchess of Devonshire, youngest of the six legendary Mitford sisters, invited the writer and war hero Patrick Leigh Fermor to visit Lismore Castle, the Devonshires’ house in Ireland. The halcyon visit sparked a deep friendship and a lifelong exchange of highly entertaining correspondence. When something caught their interest and they knew the other would be amused, they sent off a letter—there are glimpses of President Kennedy’s inauguration, weekends at Sandringham, filming with Errol Flynn, the wedding of Prince Charles and Camilla Parker-Bowles, and, above all, life at Chatsworth, the great house that Debo spent much of her life restoring, and of Paddy in the house that he and his wife designed and built on the southernmost peninsula of Greece. There rarely have been such contrasting styles: Debo—smart, idiosyncratic, and funny—darts from subject to subject, dashing off letters in her breezy, spontaneous style. Paddy, the polygot and widely read virtuoso, replies in the fluent polished manner that has earned him recognition as one of the finest writers in the English language. As editor Charlotte Mosley writes, “Much of the charm of the letters lies in their authors’ particular outlook on life. Both are acutely observant and clear-sighted about human failings, but their lack of cynicism and gift for looking on the bright side bear out the maxim that the world tends to treat you as you find it. On the whole, the people they meet are good to them, the places they visit enchant them, and they succeed splendidly in all they set out to do. This lightheartedness—a trait that attracted many, often less sunny, people towards them—gives their letters an irresistible fizz and sparkle.”

  • Words of Mercury

    Words of Mercury
    The travels and writings of Britain's legendary Patrick Leigh Fermor Patrick Leigh Fermor was only 18 years old when he set off to walk from the Hook of Holland to Constantinople. It was during these early wanderings that he started to pick up languages, and where he developed his extraordinary sense of the continuity of history. Whether he is drawing portraits in Vienna or sketching Byron's slippers in Missolonghi, his touch in unmistakable. Its infectious enthusiasm is driven by an insatiable curiosity and an omnivorous mind—all inspired by a passion for words and language.

    Ill Met By Moonlight

    Ill Met By Moonlight
    "This amazing story is marvelously well told, in an exuberant, racing style that makes it impossible to lay the book aside once the first page is read." —San Francisco Chronicle Ill Met By Moonlight is the gripping account of the audacious World War II abduction of a German general from the island of Crete. British special forces officers W. Stanley Moss and Patrick Leigh Fermor, together with a small band of Cretan partisans, kidnapped the general, then evaded numerous German checkpoints and patrols for nearly three weeks as they maneuvered across the mountainous island to a rendezvous with the boat that finally whisked them away to Allied headquarters in Cairo. "It was a mad adventure, and it came off. Moss recorded the whole escapade in a diary, which survives as a thrilling account of one of the most reckless and dramatic actions of the war." —Patrick Leigh Fermor "A twin masterpiece of action and narrative." —Spectator "[An] exciting account of a feat which demanded an extreme of daring and determination." —London Times The 2011 Paul Dry Books edition includes an Afterword by Patrick Leigh Fermor. W. Stanley Moss was a World War II hero and later a best-selling author. He traveled extensively after the war, notably to Antarctica with a British Antarctic Expedition. Eventually he settled in Kingston, Jamaica.

    The Way of the World

    The Way of the World
    In 1953, twenty-four-year old Nicolas Bouvier and his artist friend Thierry Vernet set out to make their way overland from their native Geneva to the Khyber Pass. They had a rattletrap Fiat and a little money, but above all they were equipped with the certainty that by hook or by crook they would reach their destination, and that there would be unanticipated adventures, curious companionship, and sudden illumination along the way. The Way of the World, which Bouvier fashioned over the course of many years from his journals, is an entrancing story of adventure, an extraordinary work of art, and a voyage of self-discovery on the order of Robert M. Pirsig’s Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance. As Bouvier writes, “You think you are making a trip, but soon it is making—or unmaking—you.”

    Gigi, Julie de Carneilhan, and Chance Acquaintances

    Gigi, Julie de Carneilhan, and Chance Acquaintances
    Three Short Novels
    Two volumes of Colette's most beloved works, with a new Introduction by Judith Thurman. Perhaps Colette's best-known work, Gigi is the story of a young girl being raised in a household more concerned with success and money than with the desires of the heart. But Gigi is uninterested in the dishonest society life she observes all around her and remains exasperatingly Gigi. The tale of Gigi's success in spite of her anxious family is Colette at her liveliest and most entertaining. Written during the same period as Gigi, Julie de Carneilhan, based on Colette's last years with her second husband, focuses on a contest of wills between Julie, an elegant woman of forty, and her ex-husband. Chance Acquaintances, a novella, involves an invalid wife, her philandering husband, and a music-hall dancer whose odd meeting at a French spa affects and indelibly marks each one of their lives.

  • Three Letters from the Andes

    Three Letters from the Andes

    The Seven Deadly Sins

    The Seven Deadly Sins

    The Rash Adventurer

    The Rash Adventurer
    A Life of John Pendlebury

    A Hideous Disguise

    A Hideous Disguise

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