The Broken Road: From the Iron Gates to Mount Athos, by Patrick Leigh Fermor

In the 1930’s, Patrick Leigh Fermor, known to his friends as Paddy, decided to walk across Europe from Holland to Constantinople (Istanbul). This journey took him across Germany just as the Nazis were coming to power, and his earlier books about this journey, A Time of Gifts and Between the Woods and the Water are a fascinating eyewitness account of that time. His account of his journey was always meant to span three volumes, but at the time of his death he had still not completed the third. The Broken Road contains what was meant to be that final volume, written in the sixties but never given its finishing polish for publication, and a diary written on Mount Athos soon after his great hike. Fermor’s lyrical prose and acute eye for detail are as strong as in any of his earlier books and offer a vivid portrait of a world and time now gone.

This is not the last new work from Fermor, either. Although we don’t have it in the library yet, we are definitely going to be getting Abducting a General, the just-published account of Fermor’s wartime adventure on occupied Crete as leader of the SOE commando team that kidnapped the German general Heinrich Kreipe. (One of the other British officers involved, W. Stanley Moss, wrote a book about the mission entitled Ill Met by Moonlight, which was made into a movie in 1957. Fermor is played by Dirk Bogarde in that.)