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One of the most daring feats in Patrick Leigh Fermor’s daring life was the kidnapping of General Kreipe, the German commander in Crete, on April 26, 1944.
Abducting a General, now published for the first time in the United States, is Leigh Fermor’s own account of the kidnapping. Written in his inimitable prose, and introduced by the acclaimed Special Operations Executive historian Roderick Bailey, it is a glorious firsthand account of one of the great adventures of the Second World War. Also included in this book are Leigh Fermor’s intelligence reports sent from caves deep within Crete, which bring the immediacy of SOE operations vividly alive, as well as the peril under which the SOE and Resistance were operating, and a guide to the journey that Kreipe took, from the abandonment of his car to the embarkation site, so that the modern visitor to Crete can relive this extraordinary trip.
About the Author
Patrick Leigh Fermor (1915–2011) was an intrepid traveler and a heroic soldier who is widely considered to be one of the finest travel writers of the twentieth century. After his stormy school days, followed by the walk across Europe to Constantinople that begins in A Time of Gifts (1977) and continues through Between the Woods and the Water (1986) and The Broken Road (published posthumously in 2013), he lived and traveled in the Balkans and the Greek archipelago. His books A Time to Keep Silence (1957), Mani (1958), and Roumeli (1966) attest to his deep interest in languages and remote places. In the Second World War he joined the Irish Guards, became a liaison officer in Albania, and fought in Greece and Crete. He was awarded the DSO and OBE. Leigh Fermor lived partly in Greece—in the house he designed with his wife, Joan, in an olive grove in the Mani—and partly in Worcestershire. In 2004 he was knighted for his services to literature and to British–Greek relations. Artemis Cooper’s biography, Patrick Leigh Fermor: An Adventure, was published by New York Review Books in 2013.
Roderick Bailey is a historian of irregular warfare and a specialist in the study of Britain’s Special Operations Executive. His books include Target: Italy—The Secret War Against Mussolini. A graduate of Cambridge and Edinburgh universities, he has also served in Afghanistan with the British army. He is currently a Wellcome Trust research fellow at Oxford University.
“[Fermor’s] talents certainly are evident in this colorfully rendered tale…Fermor loved adventure, and he recounts this one with heady enthusiasm.” —Kirkus Reviews
"Paddy (as he is known to nearly one and all) left us three years ago, but since then he has been commemorated by majestic obituaries everywhere, a magnificent biography, a reconstructed final volume of his own masterpiece of travel writing, an eager book of travel that follows in his footsteps and a website largely dedicated to his memory. Now we have a book that specifically commemorates him not as an adolescent adventurer, or as a scholar-linguist, or as a gypsy- wanderer, or as a legendary hero, or even as the wonderful writer that he ultimately became, but as a soldier. Not so much as a regimental soldier but as a born guerrilla." —Jan Morris, Literary Review
"It takes some chutzpah to kidnap a German general—and serious presence of mind to get away with it. Paddy, the Special Operations Executive commander of a group of 11 Cretan andartes, or guerrilla fighters, together with his second-in- command, Captain William Stanley Moss, had excessive stores of both....Abducting a General is the work of a mature man, anxious to pay proper tribute to the Cretans who were the backbone of the resistance and ran by far the greatest risks. His SOE reports, which run to 90 pages here, provide gripping cinematic portraits of
Leigh Fermor the soldier." —The Spectator