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Mani: Travels in the Southern Peloponnese Paperback – 1984


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Product details

  • Paperback: 319 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin; 1st edition (1984)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0140115110
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140115116
  • Product Dimensions: 17.8 x 2.5 x 12.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,212,927 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Review

[Mani and Roumeli are] two of the 20th Centuries most celebrated travel books (Independent on Sunday)

From the Mani he has brought back riches. How can one do justice to the fascination and poetry of this book, its generosity and its learning -- its love? (The Spectator)

Mani and Roumeli: two of the best travel books of the century (Financial Times)

Quite outside the range of normal accounts of travel ... He supercharges his narrative with a combination of tenderness and high spirits appropriate to his past achievements as a guerrilla leader in Crete. (Daily Telegraph)

a man recognised as one of the greatest travel writers of his generation...considered by many to be the finest travel books ever written (Manchester Evening News)

with a heady mix of scholarship, history and imagination and a magical turn of phrase from Paddy Fermor (Manchester Evening News)

A natural hero (Manchester Evening News)

Not to be missed, Yammas! (Manchester Evening News)

Mani is an extraordinary book of adventure and encounter, fantasy and learning, observation and experience ... it is a wonderfully rich book, richer for the warmth of the Philhellenism which Leigh Fermor betrays throughout. (Sunday Times)

He supercharges his narrative with a combination of tenderness and high spirits appropriate to his past achievements as a guerrilla leader in Crete. (Daily Telegraph) --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Book Description

Patrick Leigh Fermor traces the myths, miracles and superstitions that infuse the landscape of the Southern Peloponnese. Mani is an extraordinary tale of adventure and encounter told through a rich and captivating narrative --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

27 of 28 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 21 Aug 2001
Format: Paperback
I took this book with me on a trip to Sparti in Southern Greece this year (2001). Although this book recollects a journey taken (in the 1950s) before the tourist blitz, it still holds true in many of the subjects discussed...especially the undying village myths that combine pagan and Christian elements. Paddy does a great job melding history with his travels, and relates the present-day to what happened during the Byzantine era and Turkish occupation. His imagery is very complex, but his portraits of the Greeks in the Mani are very insightful and entertaining.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By E. J. Russell on 22 Oct 2012
Format: Paperback
I love this book. It sat in my dad's library for years until I was old enough to properly read and appreciate it.
You take the journey with Patrick Leigh Fermor and view an old fashioned Greece, rare glimpses into the community and wonderful old customs, habits and mannerisms.
Having grown up in Greece and written my own books about the country and people,
I can vouch for the authenticity of this brilliant book. A gem.
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32 of 35 people found the following review helpful By Alekos on 31 July 2004
Format: Paperback
MANI ... It is not for nothing that Patrick Leigh Fermor is generally considered the greatest living travel writer in English. Reading any one of his books, always a smooth, elegant and intellectually exciting undertaking, is to accept an invitation to the private world of a master observer of places and manners who is also pretty sharp in such areas of human endeavor as history, architecture, music, theology, psychology, mythology, and languages both classical and modern. He is extremely erudite - an autodidact, he says - and his approach to travel writing is strictly literary and sometimes sublimely so. This book, doubtless conceived as a companion volume to ROUMELI, which deals with Northern Greece, takes us to the southernmost part of the Peloponnesus. Unfortunately, the world of rocks and rustics and supreme beauty it describes is now largely vanished, so it is therefore of great value to have a traveler's vision and memory of it as it was about sixty years ago. Always subtle and elegant, the story takes on a heightened aesthetic and intellectual intensity at certain points and in particular locales. For example, the opening paragraph of the book's final chapter describes the writer's arrival at Gytheio by means of an extended metaphor comparing entrance into a city with the act of coitus, and if any reader should miss this metaphor let me point out the author's use of such words as maidenhead and deflower. A further adornment of the metaphor, conceptual and literary, is provided by the revelation that the little island a few yards off the coast, now named Marathonisi and now connected to Gytheio by a causeway, but called Kranae by Homer, is in fact the island where Paris and Helen spent their fist night after the famous elopement.Read more ›
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By S. Clark on 1 Nov 2011
Format: Paperback
Patrick Leigh Fermor is the best travel writer I have ever read. This book is full of history and description of the Mani, he also delves into the origins of the people living in this area of Greece. This is Greece before it's tourism. Very interesting indeed!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By J. Nichols on 29 Mar 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The subtitle of this book is a little misleading for it is hardly a travelogue, more of an excuse to roam - philosophically, mythologically, historically, anthropologically - with a hundred and one red herrings using the Mani as a useful backdrop.

The Mani is the central tine or peninsular of the Southern Peloponnese where the Taygetus mountain range dies down into the sea. From reading these pages you might assume this area to be all but continental in size; fortunately a map with a scale is included and it will be noticed that the Deep Mani, about which this work is chiefly concerned, measures barely 20 miles down with an average width of six.

Not everyone will find this opus their ideal cup of Lapsang Souchong. I am thinking in particular of Chapter 13 on Gorgons and Centaurs where I all but fell asleep and surely the proof reader by page 182 had really keeled over ! To be quite frank I cannot share with PLF the same enthusiam for the more abstruse elements of Greek mythology and folklore. Nereids, sirens, gorgons, dryads, oreads, tritons, satyrs and the Evil Eye leave me cold - I would rather be discussing aspects of the limited slip differential of a vintage Jaguar XK150 ! However, there are plenty of other interesting digressions; one of the most fascinating concerned Eastern versus Western iconography where it is explained that while the first looks to the transubstantial quality of Christ Western Renaissance art focuses more on His human nature.

What is mind-stopping, as always, with PLF is the quality of his writing combined with the breadth of his knowledge. It never fails to amaze me how this school drop-out became such a distinguished man of letters, an authority on Greece, a multi-linguist par excellence, apart from achieving fame as a war-hero.
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22 of 25 people found the following review helpful By Nigel Randall on 20 Jun 2003
Format: Paperback
I discovered PLF's "Mani" in the early 1990's and was absolutely enchanted not just by the places he described but by the beauty of his writing. His descriptive skills are second to none and his knowledge and use of the English language is a delight.
Through his writing he demonstrates a deep-felt love for Greece and its people. His profound knowledge of the history of the country coupled with a lively imagination at times takes the reader off into some strange flights of fantasy. When he returns to the very real world of the Inner Mani it is often to show that the region is as fantastic as anything from his imagination.
You may find that you'll need a dictionary to hand and one or two passages on the convoluted history and genealogy of long dead rulers and despots may leave you thinking you've stumbled across a medieval census but don't be put off, you will also be rewarded with writing that leaves you with images that will last you a lifetime.
But beware, I was so captured by PLF's description of the Mani that I had to follow in his footsteps and go and see for myself. Not the first and I'm sure not the last.
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