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Roumeli: Travels in Northern Greece Paperback – 19 Jul 2004


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Frequently Bought Together

Roumeli: Travels in Northern Greece + Mani: Travels in the Southern Peloponnese + Between the Woods and the Water: on Foot to Constantinople from the Hook of Holland - The Middle Danube to the Iron Gates
Price For All Three: £21.97

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Product details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: John Murray (19 July 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0719566924
  • ISBN-13: 978-0719566929
  • Product Dimensions: 13 x 1.8 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 45,742 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

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

A masterpiece softened by warm, human understanding (Sunday Times)

Marvellous... we are fortunate to have these unforgettable reports from the fields and the marshes, the peaks and the chasms, the taverns and the waterfronts of the Roumeli (Observer)

A wandering scholar but with a difference: unlike the celebrated travellers of the past he has become part of the country he describes (Sunday Times)

He is in the first flight of writers on Greece (The Times)

John Murray is doing the decent thing and reissuing all of Leigh Fermor's main books ... But what else would you expect from a publisher whose commitment to geography is such that for more than two centuries it has widened our understanding of the world? (Geographical Magazine)

Bringing the landscape alive as no other writer can, he uses his profound and eclectic understanding of cultures and peoples ... to paint vivid pictures - nobody has illuminated the geography of Europe better (Geographical Magazine)

'Extraordinarily engaging . . . thanks to Leigh Fermor's ability to turn an insight into a telling phrase . . . a compelling story' (London Review of Books)

Leigh Fermor is a writer's writer, a man whose prose is frequently and justifiably likened to poetry. He writes like an angel in other words -- and angels don't date (Justin Marozzi, Financial Times)

'A Book For... The Greek islands' (Justin Marozzi, Financial Times)

Book Description

Now in John Murray B-format, the famous exploration of Northern Greece by the great twentieth century travel writer known to generations for A Time of Gifts.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

20 of 20 people found the following review helpful By AJ-99 on 23 Nov 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Patrick Leigh Fermor is the greatest living Englishman; admittedly the competition isn't very stiff at the moment. This book is of course brilliant. It is full of 'flowery language' and by page 50 you will have given up everything else in life to get on with it. The only thing it lacks is a sustained PLF flight of fancy like the Last Emperor of Byzantium riff or world-spanning cock-crow from 'Mani', or certain passages from the On Foot to Constantinople books; otherwise it is every bit as good as them.

Among other treats he gatecrashes a wedding of the elusive and mysterious Sarakatsans; visits the Boliarides of the Kravara, a tribe of cunning and far-travelling mendicants, learns their unique cant and hears tales of their glory days conning the credulous the length of Eastern Europe; penetrates the clifftop monasteries of Thessaly; propounds his theory of the Romois-Hellene split in the Greek national psyche; reminisces of his time on Crete during the war; and tells the story of the remarkable Lady Wentworth and Byron's lost shoes. He magically evokes the charm of the people and the beauty of the landscape, and his own charm and brilliance, his infectious enthusiasm and insatiable curiosity, shine out constantly, and you learn something new and wonderful on every page.

If you're already a Leigh Fermor addict you don't really care about this review, and only poverty, coma, or being trapped down a mineshaft have prevented you buying this book already. If you aren't, all you need to know is that he's the best travel writer of the past hundred years, and quite arguably the best writer in any field living.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By macmillan on 24 Nov 2010
Format: Paperback
Paddy Leigh Fermor is one of the most rewarding and enlightening travel authors ever. I must admit, I sit reading his books with a dictionary beside me, but half the time you can work out the meanings with a bit of thought and it all adds to the tremendous feeling of enrichment. Roumeli is a must for anyone travelling in Greece who wants to look beneath the modern superficialities. If you enjoy Thesiger, you'll love this.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By alan rawley on 21 Jan 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
A Leigh Fermor classic and wholly absorbing and delightful. There is no historical byway or curiosity which escapes his notice or his pen.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Terry D TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 31 Dec 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
When I read (and reviewed) Patrick Leigh Fermor's companion volume 'Mani: Travels in the Southern Peloponnese' I found myself disappointed with the way in which, for many, many pages, we were taken on a journey far beyond Greece, the Peloponnese and Byzantium as he recounted - in great and erudite detail - the ancient history of the entire region and the role played by the Gods of classical mythology. In those pages the mountainous regions of Mani and its inhabitants simply ceased to exist.

'Roumeli', as I'd hoped, is very different and is a beautifully written and fluent description of the people (frequently near nomadic) he meets on his journey. In these pages Paddy draws a fascinating and skilful pen picture of the history, customs and languages - to say nothing of their genuine and open friendship - of the inhabitants. He also takes us to the war-torn mountains of Crete and, with equal fluency, describes the months he spent as an SOE officer living with the guerrillas and fighting the Nazi invaders.

Chapter 5 of the book is a delightful and amusing tale of an evening spent - after an excellent meal with an acquaintance he'd met on the journey - in a lamp-lit taverna with a group of near-ancient locals as they describe the begging skills and contortions that, over the years, had become almost a way of life in that part of Greece. At the end of the chapter Uncle Elias leaves them `with a wide and flattering wave of the hand and vanishes into the dark'. It's pure Paddy.

Then comes Chapter 6 (my Kindle tells me I've read 87% of the book) enigmatically entitled 'Sounds of the Greek World'.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By J. Nichols on 3 May 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
A common feature of PLF's writing is an experimental approach to style which can chop and change with the wind ! This said, the overall effect is never less than quite remarkable even if it actually entails a diminished readership ! He can be abstruse, arch and sometimes actually archaic by 21st century standards, but his prose is never less than superb. He is perhaps occasionally overwrought with the morphosis of words within languages and dialects, but his involvement is pleasantly mischievous as much as scholarly, and he always avoids becoming a pedant. I do not feel it is necessary for me to go through the contents of this book as the reviewer AJ-99 has already done this very skillfully and I would advise anyone reading this to turn to his copy. In conclusion I would simply suggest that anyone with an academic and/or poetic frame of mind will probably get the most out of reading this book, but others will find it quite rewarding if they are passionate about Greece.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful By M. J. Millar on 10 Dec 2010
Format: Paperback
I have much enjoyed Patrick Leigh Fermor's books on his walk from the Hook of Holland to Amsterdam and am still awaiting the final leg.

This book, however, was hard work. I have a fair knowledge of Greek and Greece but found many of the references so obscure as to be meaningless. There are, particularly later in the book, however, some memorable tales and it is worth sticking at it to read them.

I also found the transliteration into Roman characters from Greek most unhelpful - Greek with translations would have been much better.
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