Patrick Leigh Fermor: An Adventure

Artemis Cooper. New York Review Books, $30 (480p) ISBN 978-1-59017-674-0
In her arresting biography of Patrick Leigh Fermor, an ever-curious travel writer known for experiencing locales at ground- level, Cooper (Writing at the Kitchen Table), studies a man determined to see the world firsthand, with interviews from family and friends, rare letters, and diaries. Fermor, who grew up at the turn of the 20th century in England, was known during his school years as a noisy troublemaker. Upon graduation in 1933, Fermor boarded a ship for mainland Europe, determined to spend a year walking through the Netherlands, Germany, Austria, Czechoslovakia, and Hungary to Rumania. Cooper provides the details of Paddy’s wanderlust and his travels to Constantinople the following year, talking to the locals, soaking up the regional folklore, but noting the cruel expansion of the Nazi doctrine through Europe. Paddy led a daring WWII mission to snare a notorious German general on Crete, where he later lived, writing exceptional travel books over four decades. Nostalgic and expertly written, Cooper fleshes out Fermor, a man who boldly traveled a world on the edge of catastrophe, which he explained in his writing to a faithful readership. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 07/01/2013
Release date: 10/15/2013
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