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Between the Woods and the Water: On Foot to Constantinople: From The Middle Danube to the Iron Gates [Paperback]

By Patrick Leigh Fermor & Jan Morris (Introduction by)
Our Price $ 13.56  
Retail Value $ 15.95  
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Item Number 426309  
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Item Specifications...

Pages   264
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 7.9" Width: 5" Height: 0.7"
Weight:   0.71 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Oct 3, 2005
Publisher   NYRB Classics
ISBN  1590171667  
EAN  9781590171660  

Availability  0 units.

Item Description...
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.

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More About Patrick Leigh Fermor & Jan Morris

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Patrick Leigh Fermor (1915-2011) was an intrepid traveler, a heroic soldier, and a writer with a unique prose style. After his stormy schooldays, 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), he lived and traveled in the Balkans and the Greek Archipelago. His books 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. He lived partly in Greece--in the house he designed with his wife, Joan, in an olive grove in the Mani--and partly in Worcestershire. He was knighted in 2004 for his services to literature and to British-Greek relations.

Jan Morris was born in 1926, is Anglo-Welsh, and lives in Wales. She has written some forty books, including the Pax Britannica trilogy about the British Empire; studies of Wales, Spain, Venice, Oxford, Manhattan, Sydney, Hong Kong, and Trieste; six volumes of collected travel essays; two memoirs; two capricious biographies; and a couple of novels--but she defines her entire oeuvre as "disguised autobiography." She is an honorary D.Litt. of the University of Wales and a Commander of the British Empire. Her memoir Conundrum is available as a New York Review Book Classic.

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Product Categories
1Books > Subjects > Travel > Europe > General   [1435  similar products]
2Books > Subjects > Travel > General > Essays & Travelogues   [2889  similar products]

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Reviews - What do our customers think?
Not sure it's a "Classic"  Nov 17, 2008
I was not able to get through this book, so four stars constitutes a "pass" from me.

Written more than 50 years after the walking tour described, this book is really a literary opus and not a travel account laced with some history and humor in the vein of, say, Bill Bryson.

I sound as if I'm panning the book, but I'm really saying it's not what I expected. Please read other reviews to see if the prose style is something that would interest you.
Truly a classic.  Oct 17, 2007
This book and its sequel, "Between the Woods and the Water," is truly a classic of the personal odyssey genre. Together they are the report by the English author of a diary he wrote between the ages of 19 and 22 while he walked from Holland to Istanbul. But he writes his report after a lengthy career in military service and, among other things, in journalism. The result combines the enthusiasm of a young student with the measured and spare prose of a seasoned and skilled veteran. The author as student is amazingly well schooled, even though thrown out of his public school. His reflections on what he sees are both erudite and almost poetic. (Read, e.g., the chapter, Prague Under Snow.) They don't serve as a normal travel guide, but they'll introduce you to the lands he traverses in a way that will make your own visit unusually well informed.
Gar nichts!  Apr 7, 2007
The title above is German for "Absolutely nothing!", Fermor's droll reply to "What are you studying?" when visiting a scholar with his newfound Transylvanian friend Istvan, who laughs about such blasphemy all the way back from the visit. The polymathic Fermor had contemplated his answer a few moments before answering-"Languages? Art? Geography? Folklore? Literature? None of them seemed to fit." The truth is, of course, as anyone who has read of anything of Fermor's knows full well, that Fermor has been studying all of these things, but with his own assiduous, unacademic zeal. This time he spent in Transylvania (The country's name meaning, as any first year Latinist would know, "Across the Woods") is by far my favourite: His escapades with Istvan, the fleeting amour with Angela, the effortless historical erudition about the region all make it exemplary of the book as a whole - which is not to slight the rest of it at all!

I disagree profoundly with the reviewers who take umbrage at Fermor's "esoteric" use of language and historic allusion. For the armchair traveler, these qualities make the book just that much more fun - Diving into the OED and various encyclopedias to thresh out some of the references.

The overall effect of this book, as with A Time of Gifts, is best likened to a friendly punch in the gut by an old chum. It takes you at unawares but leaves you invigorated and happy to be alive in the world. Yes, there are sadnesses to the book, not the least of which is that the beautiful View of the Danube near Regensburg on the cover of the NYRB edition is now underwater, lost forever; But as Fermor contemplates as his time with Angela draws to a close, "There are hours in life worth more than diamonds." This book is full of them!

And all these youths chain-smoking cigarettes! Perhaps the Surgeon General should put a warning label on the book lest a youth of today discover the vibrant meaning of carpe diem!

Reading trumps experience  Dec 14, 2006
`Between the Woods and the Water' is a delightful travelogue, even though the sites and sounds are long gone. Fermor paints a picture of the life every young man wants to lead - well-funded itinerant travel, nearly effortless sociability, and a seemingly endless nightlife. This is the ultimate "Wish You Were Here" card, well worth the read for anyone interested in travel, history, and tales of pre-war social frivolity in Eastern Europe.

The narrative structure took me by surprise. Almost every region receives a minor academic treatment prior to Fermor's personal tales: history, language, architecture, nature, fun and games, repeat. I found myself skimming past descriptions of birds and trees, but fascinated by the author's insights into the interplay of geography, language development, and regional history. And, of course, it is impossible not to be won over by the author's late nights, fleeting loves, and brief stays with forgotten royalty.

My father often told me that `On the Road' had a profound effect on him as a youth. `Between the Woods and the Water' has a similar effect on me, only later in life. After the reading the story I was offered a brief trip to Hungary which I could not pass up. Far from Fermor's experience, I was greeted with mindless business meetings, post-communism industrial architecture, a robbery, and small-scale street riots. In the end, my disappointment with reality deepened my appreciation of the book - a memorializing tale of a geography and way of life that no longer exists.
Between the Woods and the Water  Nov 10, 2006
This is the continuation of, "A Time of Gifts." The English youth continues his walk across Europe to Constantinople. He picks up now in Austria, on to Hungary following the Danube valley. I wanted to quit reading this - page after page of allusions to east European history from Roman and pre-Roman times, Hungarian geography, reflections on Slavic languages. Esoterics I cannot appreciate. Still, they lured me and challenged me. These are places and these are people - Magyars and Gypsies - we seldom find in writing. We are introduced just as an era is about to end and everything is to change. It can be a book to go to bed with.

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