Psychoundakis, George - The Cretan Runner - ( Item 124949 )
Published in London by Folio Society. 2009. First Thus. Fine Hardback. No inscriptions or bookplates. Fine slipcase. Bound in cloth, printed with a design by Neil Gower. Set in Janson with Blackcat display. 272 pages; frontispiece and 16 black & white plates. Size: 9" × 5¾". Translated and introduced by Patrick Leigh Fermor. On the morning of 20 May 1941, the Nazis launched an airborne invasion of the Greek island of Crete. Despite fierce opposition from the local population, within 10 days the island was taken. The Nazis exacted heavy reprisals which served only to foment one of the most determined campaigns of resistance of the entire war. A 21-year-old humble 'mountain boy', George Psychoundakis, was one of the local partisans who helped the small covert British force that remained on the island. The Cretan Runner is his extraordinary account of the years he spent couriering messages, smuggling arms and guiding Allied soldiers across Crete's rugged, often treacherous mountain terrain. Leigh Fermor had grown close to Psychoundakis during the war and he returned to Crete in 1952. Having read his friend's manuscript, he knew it had to be published. Leigh Fermor translated it himself, preserving Psychoundakis's engaging, fast-paced style and his wry, often fatalistic humour. His introduction sheds light on the warm, sometimes volatile relationship between partisans and operatives. Illustrated with photographs from Leigh Fermor's private collection, some of which are published here for the first time, The Cretan Runner is the most immediate and exhilarating account we have of wartime resistance. Also included in this Folio edition is a previously unpublished letter from Leigh Fermor to the Academy of Athens urging recognition for Psychoundakis's literary achievements, including his translation of Homer's Odyssey from Ancient to Cretan Greek.
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