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The Traveller's Tree: A Journey Through the Caribbean Islands

The Traveller's Tree: A Journey Through the Caribbean Islands [Kindle Edition]

Patrick Leigh Fermor
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)

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Product Description


Paddy's portrayal of the islands could be said to have jump-started the tourism industry upon which the Caribbean has since largely depended (Geographical Magazine)

Being a natural romantic ... he was able to probe the hidden recesses of this mixed civilisation and to present us with a picture of the Indies more penetrating and original than any that has been presented before (Harold Nicolson, The Observer)

He is the ideal traveller, inquisitive, humorous and vivid in depicting (Sunday Times)

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)

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)

A substantial and fascinating work, with the adventurer's signature across every page (Daily Mail)

No-one has captured and evoked the extraordinary differences between the islands better (Geographical Magazine)

Amusing, knowledgeable, and percipient, it is everything a travel book should be. (The Good Book Guide)

Book Description

A great of twentieth century literature, now known to generations for A Time of Gifts and Between the Woods and the Water.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1052 KB
  • Print Length: 420 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0719566843
  • Publisher: John Murray (10 Oct 2010)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0049MPHFS
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #79,327 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A very different view of the Caribbean 13 Feb 2012
Format:Kindle Edition
Having read Leigh Fermor's brilliant travelogues of Eastern Europe and Greece, I was looking forward to seeing what he would make of an area of the world that isn't normally a bastion of good travel writing.

Upon finishing it (in spite of the bad reviews on here), I can honestly say I found it incredibly interesting. You have to remember that at the time of his visit to the Caribbean, immense changes were taking place throughout the West Indies, and the almost anthropological survey he conducts of the Windward Islands is fascinating. Moving onto Haiti and the Greater Antilles, he gives a wonderfully detailed account of the Voodoo rituals that occur almost exclusively on that island.

Overall, what you get with this book is Leigh Fermor's usual flowery, passionate travel narrative, coupled with well researched, detailed snippets of history that tie everything together. The vision of him sitting with the Rastafari in a cloud of smoke, discussing distant African kingdoms made me smile, and is so typical of this wonderful writer.

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
After the war in which he had served with such bravery, distinction and honour, Major Fermor had little more than his pen with which to defend himself against any potential accusations of indolence. His brief lecturing appointment with the British Council in Athens had come to an end and PLF knew that he wanted to be a writer.

An opportunity arose when a photographer friend of his, Costa Achillopoulos, asked him whether he wished to accompany him on a trip to the Caribbean and write up the text to the plates of a book he anticipated getting published. In the end the tail wagged the dog, and it turned out that the photographs accompanied the book that PLF wrote ! Anyway it was the big escape for Paddy from dreary post-war Britain and to gild the lily of this unforeseen adventure he invited his girlfriend Joan Rayner to join them.

No book written by Fermor has ever been mundane and conventional - he is hereditarily incapable of creating any such thing - and this first publication of his sets the tone for his subsequent writing. He is at great pains in the preface to make clear that his work should not be mistaken for a guide to the Caribbean. PLF's interests are historical, anthropological and architectural rather than a mere inquiry into the health of an island's economy and those assets it might have to further the development of tourism.

He is deeply concerned with the legacy of slavery. He is earnestly politically correct but always with a slightly sardonic smile, and so devotes much space to minority black communities and practices like voodooism. One is led to believe this primitive religious devotion took root in the Caribbean as a form of escapism in a difficult world where colour and class still mattered although there was no actual apartheid after abolition.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Don't visit the Caribbean without this book! 1 Mar 2014
By J G H
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Patrick Leigh Fermor's book, though written some sixty years ago, remains the unsurpassed prose masterpiece about the archipelago of islands that make up the Antilles. It describes in fascinating and erudite detail the peoples, the societies and the cultures that took over this region after Columbus 'discovered' it in 1492, and which still colour it today.
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Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
As I - and many other reviewers - have remarked Patrick Leigh Fermor had the enviable ability to write near-lyrical prose. But he went much further and, as an historian and a skilful observer of people, his books are always engrossing, entertaining and informative.

In the preface to 'The Traveller's Tree' (written in the late 1940s) he cautions that it must not 'be mistaken for a guide to the Caribbean. It is nothing more than a personal, random account of an autumn and winter spent wandering through some of the islands ... its ultimate purpose, if it must be defined, is to retransmit to the reader whatever interest and enjoyment we encountered. In a word, to give pleasure.'

It's an accurate caveat for a book that explores the vastly different religions, languages, history, culture, agriculture and geography of several of the Caribbean islands. Leigh Fermor's description of witnessing a day-long Voodoo festival, along with a brief foray into the (hopefully now defunct) practices and rites of cannibalism, is matched by an insightful summary of the slave trade and the effect it - together with the Spanish, French, and English privateers - had on the last 200 year's history of the various islands.

Like all his other books it's an intriguing and highly enjoyable story.

I must, however, admit to being somewhat amused by the convoluted sequence of his island hopping. As any map of the Caribbean will show, Guadeloupe to Dominica via Martinique isn't a particularly logical route. Particularly when followed - again in sequence - by Barbados, Trinidad, several of the Leeward Islands and then, finally to Haiti and Jamaica.

Perhaps some of the cruise lines ought to to consider this as an itinerary?

Read and enjoy.
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2.0 out of 5 stars As a 'Paddy Fan' I was very disappointed. 4 Aug 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This book seems very dated and Fermor's racist language does not sit well with the contemporary reader. Our attitudes to race and class and to language have evolved and matured since 1950. As a 'Paddy Fan' I was very disappointed.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
brilliant if a bt dated
Published 3 months ago by colinM
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Worth reading
Published 4 months ago by Hen Pecked
5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding Guide Throgh the Eyes of an Indepentent Traveller
An excellent book that takes you around the Caribbean . Good read for the someone wanting something in greater depth
Published 9 months ago by mrs dorothy j lessey
5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating history of Caribbean from about 60 years ago
Patrick L F is one of the most brilliant writers of all time. He tells his stories beautifully, these are sprinkled with anecdotes from his travels in the West Indies and are an... Read more
Published 15 months ago by Madame Chocolat
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book, excellent read.
Beautifully written and stimulating. Leigh Fermor shows an impressive knowledge of historial, social and cultural factors in the various islands visited.
Published 23 months ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Very good
Considering this is a used book, it is in very good condition, with no imperfections.
Just some weathering due to its age. I am very pleased with it, but haven't read it yet. Read more
Published on 24 Dec 2012 by carbman
1.0 out of 5 stars The Traveller's Tree
A wonderful account of the author's travel through the Caribbean in the late 40s. Sensitive and informative descriptions of scenery, people, and their history.
Published on 13 Jun 2009 by A. Dawson
1.0 out of 5 stars Dull and disappointing
What a dull book. It claims - or at least the one I have does - to be "the single best travel book to emerge from the islands", well if it is it doesn't say much for the... Read more
Published on 22 July 2006 by Alex B
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