Abducting a General
The Kreipe Operation and SOE in Crete
By Patrick Leigh Fermor
A daring behind-enemy-lines mission from the author of A Time of Gifts and The Broken Road, who was once described by the BBC as 'a cross between Indiana Jones, James Bond and Graham Greene'.
A daring behind-enemy-lines mission from the author of A Time of Gifts and The Broken Road, who was once described by the BBC as 'a cross between Indiana Jones, James Bond and Graham Greene'. Although a story often told, this is the first time Patrick Leigh Fermor's own account of the kidnapping of General Kriepe, has been published.
One of the greatest feats in Patrick Leigh Fermor's remarkable life was the kidnapping of General Kreipe, the German commander in Crete, on 26 April 1944. He and Captain Billy Moss hatched a daring plan to abduct the general, while ensuring that no reprisals were taken against the Cretan population. Dressed as German military police, they stopped and took control of Kreipe's car, drove through twenty-two German checkpoints, then succeeded in hiding from the German army before finally being picked up on a beach in the south of the island and transported to safety in Egypt on 14 May.
Abducting a General is Leigh Fermor's own account of the kidnap, published for the first time. Written in his inimitable prose, and introduced by acclaimed Special Operations Executive historian Roderick Bailey, it is a glorious first-hand 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 yet still retaining his remarkable prose skills, which bring the immediacy of SOE operations vividly alive, as well as the peril which the SOE and Resistance were operating under; and a guide to the journey that Kreipe was taken on, as seen in the 1957 film Ill Met by Moonlight starring Dirk Bogarde, from the abandonment of his car to the embarkation site so that the modern visitor can relive this extraordinary event.
Patrick Leigh Fermor (1915-2011) was the greatest travel writer of our generation. Following his walk across Europe, he lived and travelled in the Balkans and Greek Archipelago. He joined the Irish Guards and during the occupation of Crete led the party that captured the German commander. He was awarded the DSO and OBE and was once described by the BBC as 'a cross between Indiana Jones, James Bond and Graham Greene'. Towards the end of his life he wrote the first two books about his early trans-European odyssey, A Time of Gifts and Between the Woods and the Water. He planned a third, unfinished at the time of his death in 2011, which has since been edited by Colin Thubron and Artemis Cooper and published as The Broken Road.
- Other details
- Publication date:
04 Jun 2015
- Page count:
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
Beautifully written . . . Fermor's love of Crete and scholarly knowledge of the Classics exude from the pages — The Times
As a pure adventure story . . . it is hard to beat — Financial Times
Superb . . . Leigh Fermor's many fans will find plenty of the old master's fizz in this resurrected work . . . irresistible — Scotsman
Paddy's vividly idiomatic reports irresistibly take us in to the skulduggery and derring-do . . . a wonderful story — Jan Morris, Literary Review
The late, great Pagrick Leigh Fermor, described as a cross between Indiana Jones, James Bond and Graham Greene, first became famous in 1944 for his daring kidnap of high-ranking German general . . . Afficionados of the tale were spoilt this year — Daily Express
Gripping buccaneering of the old school — Sun
Paddy was the Byron of our time — Standpoint
A riveting first-hand account — Good Book Guide
Abducting a General is filled with the same rich exuberant prose [as his trilogy] and fulfils its objective as portraying the Cretan people as the true heroes of the resistance — TLS
What shines through in Leigh Fermor's account is his connection to and respect and admiration for the spirit of the Cretan people — Daily Mail
A glorious first-hand account of one of the great adventures of the Second World War — Gentleman's Journal