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31 of 32 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An incredible story told by an incredible man., 22 Oct 1998
By A Customer
This review is from: The Cretan Runner: His Story of the German Occupation (Paperback)
A very lively account of a forgotten theatre of the Second World War. Though forgotten it was no less brutal and the descriptions of the German reprisals on the local populace are harrowing. Psychoundakis is not an educated man but his writing is a joy to read. As you read the book you get the impression of sitting around the camp fire listening to one or other of your comrades regaling the group with stories of derring-do and high adventure. It is easy to forget that it was, literally, a matter of life or death and the chance of capture high. I think what impressed me the most was the lack of hatred, no yearning for revenge on the Germans. At the end of the war when the German garrison had surrendered they were luckly to have been spared their lives after the appalling and savage way they oppressed the Island. Had they been anywhere else but in the hands of the Cretans, a noble and proud race, I don't think many Germans would have left the island alive. This book is excellent, I strongly recommend it.
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22 of 23 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An outstanding read and a thoroughly novel viewpoint, 1 Jan 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: The Cretan Runner: His Story of the German Occupation (Paperback)
It is rare to read accounts of the guerilla war in Europe written by the local participants, rather than the Allied officers sent in to direct them and that makes this book all the more valuable. It is unaffected, honest and an extraordinary account of an extraordinary war. How the Cretan people kept going in the face of such hideous brutality is a testament to the human spirit. The bravery of the individual players left me incredulous.
Buy this book -- you won't regret it.
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49 of 56 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Absolutely heartbreaking in it's authenticity, 29 Sep 2000
By A Customer
This review is from: The Cretan Runner: His Story of the German Occupation (Paperback)
I bought this book to read whilst on holiday in Crete last week. It was my 4th visit to the island, and I had already worked my way through 5 of the other 6 books I'd taken with me. I'm a novels sort of girl, but I have a fascination with the Cretan countryside, people, and way of life.
I was somewhat nervous of embarking on a dusty historical narrative (and I'm afraid I didn't really gain much from Mr Leigh Fermor's introduction), but the rest of the narrative was incredible. To have someone explain first-hand the amazing pain, suffering and yet dignity suffered by the Cretans during WWII was heart-rending. I felt like shaking my next door neighbours in our hotel (95% german tourists) and demanding that they account for the attrocities inflicted by their parents and grandparents.
Because of George's simple view of life (which is NOT to say that he is simple: far from it), the narrative is refreshingly accessible. Candid in the extreme, and a real eye-opener.
Go to Crete. Buy the book. Read the book. Don't EVER forget.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Cretan Runner, 14 May 2012
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This review is from: The Cretan Runner: His Story of the German Occupation (Paperback)
This book is a must for anyone wanting to travel back in time to Crete during the War years. The German occupation sees the British join the resistance fighters moving around the white mountains, the Runner of the title must carry information vital to both parties.
Preferably without getting caught and shot by the Germans.
I found this a gripping tale, or true life heroics, and a good read. Especially if you are visiting Crete and taking in visits to the War Graves at Suda bay and beyond.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent first-hand account, 25 July 2011
By 
Bibliophile (London, United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Cretan Runner: His Story of the German Occupation (Paperback)
Gripping book by a Cretan directly affected by the Nazi occupation, written in unaffected prose.
The Kreipke abduction is the stuff of legend and worth reading the book for alone.
Blessed be your memory, George...you will never be forgotten.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A brilliant piece of writing., 6 Oct 2006
By 
L. Radford "Linda" (UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Cretan Runner: His Story of the German Occupation (Paperback)
I read this novel on our first vist to Crete 5 yrs ago and when we revisited the Island 4 yrs a go we actually got to meet Mr Psychoundakis.
He was most a most gracious man who was attending a reunion at Souda Bay Cemetary. All very moving ! The Cretans are so brave, kind hearted and genuine even though as a race they have endured so much hardship under invading forces over the years. This novel is a must read for all who are interested in the islands life and history.We are going back next year and I for one cannot wait.
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30 of 38 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Cretan Runner - Buy this book!, 7 Aug 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: The Cretan Runner: His Story of the German Occupation (Paperback)
Read this book: George still needs the money! Psychondakis is, or at least was, an authentic genius. Now in his late seventies & still resident in his birth-village after a life of near poverty no-one is more deserving of a belated windfall... The history of George's life & trials is eruditely covered in Fermor's excellent introduction. After a valiant & poorly rewarded war he endured false imprisonment & near persecution whilst still managing to turn out volumes of translation & poetry. The 'Runner' itself was written during the course of the war when George was in his early twenties & working for the British & the Cretan resistance & tells the story of the struggle for liberation from the Germans from the point of view of an uneducated 'though brilliantly articulate Cretan peasant. The strengths lie in its' witty pen portraits of the allied officers that George meets & in its' conveyance of the utter hatred & disgust felt by the local people for their barbaric German oppressors. Fermor's own translation of George's original manuscript neither alters or edits anything significant in either the narrative nor in the rhythms of Psycoundakis' slightly idiosyncratic demotic prose. Only recently republished in Penguin paperback the book is widely available at last & provides perhaps the only authentic indigenous account of a neglected war theatre, though one much visited by the British, & sadly German, tourist.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Crete in WW2, 4 July 2014
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This review is from: The Cretan Runner: His Story of the German Occupation (Paperback)
Incredible first hand view of the Cretan Resistance in WW2
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5.0 out of 5 stars A Cretan Adventure, 17 May 2014
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This review is from: The Cretan Runner: His Story of the German Occupation (Paperback)
A moving powerful story of the German occupation of Crete and the danger the British officers and Cretan population faced by resisting it. George Psychoundakis writes exquisitely amazing he was 'just' a shephard with no formal education. A real insight into the unique Cretan culture. A must read!
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5.0 out of 5 stars As I love Crete, I love this book, 12 April 2014
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This review is from: The Cretan Runner: His Story of the German Occupation (Paperback)
You notice very well how much people love arms of any kind on Crete. This book gave me a better understanding of that love. It is difficult to put the book down. The book gives you a good sense of why it was so difficult for the Germans to hold Crete. The terrain and the people who just won't be occupied. Almost all Cretans resisted in their own way. The book is an endless series of near escapes.
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The Cretan Runner: His Story of the German Occupation
The Cretan Runner: His Story of the German Occupation by George Psychoundakis (Paperback - 26 Mar 1998)
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