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Between the Woods and the Water: Complete & Unabridged: On Foot to Constantinople from the Hook of Holland

4.5 out of 5 stars 94 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Audio Cassette
  • Publisher: Isis Audio Books (Oct. 1988)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1856956814
  • ISBN-13: 978-1856956819
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (94 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 3,637,293 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Review

Between the Woods and the Water is a book so good your resent finishing it. (Sunday Times)

'The finest travelling companion we could ever have... His head is stocked with cultural lore and poetic fancy to make every league an adventure.' Christopher Hudson (Evening Standard)

As full of zest, joy and delight as its predecessor (Country Life)

He is exploring the very furthest boundaries of the genre. (Jan Morris, The Times)

The most enjoyable living writer to be published this year (Peter Levi, The Spectator)

I have never enjoyed a travel book more and I would doubt if I will ever enjoy one so much again (Robin Lane Fox)

Rightly considered to be among the most beautiful travel books in the language (Independent)

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)

'For a spirited introduction [to the Balkans] try Patrick Leigh Fermor's account of a 1930s walk from Hungary to Romania and Bulgaria...rich in local history and a formative book in the rise of modern travel writing' - David Mattin (The Times) --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Book Description

The second great Patrick Leigh Fermor classic - and the sequel to A Time of Gifts - in John Murray B-format for the first time. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By A Customer on 11 Sept. 2002
Format: Paperback
This is the sequel to 'A Time of Gifts', and continues the young Leigh-Fermor's walk through the length of 1930s Europe. Here we start from where the previous book left off, at the border into Hungary, and continue through until the Iron Gates border between Rumania and Bulgaria. I immensely enjoyed 'A Time of Gifts', and this book is the perfect companion to it. It is a seamless mix between the world seen through the eager eyes of the nineteen-year-old Leigh Fermor, and a wealth of historical, geographical, linguisitc, and anthropological information, which must have taken most of the intervening decades for him to research. The one drawback of the book is the envy it is bound to create in the reader -- envy of his ability to take a journey such as this in a time now past, and envy (for those who also try to write) at the magnificent prose with which he has captured his memories. Patrick Leigh-Fermor's place in the ranks of the great writers of travel literature is already firmly established, and this is surely one of his finest. If reading this book doesn't inspire you to embark on a journey of your own, then I can only suggest you read it again, only this time with your eyes open.
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This is hypnotic travel writing – Moldavia, Tartary, Bessarabia, Transylvania, Carpathia, Wallachia, Bohemia, Wolves, Bears, Eagles, Saxons, Slavs, Counts, Gypsies, Shepherds, Hussars with scimitars, Austro Hungary, Byzantium, Ottomans, Habsburgs, Mongols, Huns, Goths, Teutonic Knights… endless descriptions of people, towns, castles, scenery, nature, language, history, culture, clothes, food, songs… names and places that have a fantastic and timeless exoticism described with a crystal clear realism. Completely mesmerising.
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An excellent book for those interested in life, at all levels, in Central Europe before the Second World War. It is also a good travel book with regard to the Danube and its people. Not an easy read at times because of the words used by the author or perhaps the limits of the education of this reader.
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Excellent! WONDERFUL prose and so informative.
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Format: Paperback
While precise memories of events must have faded in the fifty years between the journey and the book, the context benefits from the breadth and depth of the man's reading. It made me want to read all his other books (done that) but also to read all that he has read (no chance). I have never come across a better descriptive writer. My son, who is a well read engineer and a harsh critic of pretty much everything, was impressed with this quality. In one of his other books, about the Mani, he mentions, in discussing his home there, that every home should have at least two shelves of reference books. I bet he had a lot more than that.

Buy it, read it, and then go buy his other books.
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By Jeremy Walton TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 3 May 2017
Format: Paperback
I bought this second volume about the author's European walk for my son-in-law after we'd both enjoyed A Time of Gifts, which described the first part of his journey. This book covers his walk from his entry into Hungary to his arrival at the Iron Gates, the gorge on the Danube which forms part of the boundary between Romania and Serbia (a third volume, The Broken Road, which completes the journey to Constantinople, was published posthumously). This volume is perhaps more reflective than the first, describing the landscapes and people he encounters as he crosses the Great Hungarian Plain on horseback, crosses the Romanian border into Transylvania and walks down the Danube to the Iron Gates. Once again, it's the vivid, unforced quality of the writing that brings what he's seen to life for the reader - for example, [p82]:

"Scattered with poppies, the golden-green waves of the cornfields faded. The red sun seemed to tip one end of a pair of scales below the horizon, and simultaneously to lift an orange moon at the other. Only two days off the full, it rose behind a wood, swiftly losing its flush as it floated up, until the wheat loomed out of the twilight like a metallic and prickly sea."

A real pleasure to read (even without having read the first volume, I think) - highly recommended.
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Format: Paperback
I read both of Fermor's books of his trek from UK towards Instanbul in sequence, and enjoyed both hugely. It was a great pity he never produced the projected 3rd volume! This (2nd) volume covers his travels through Hungary and Romania, largely by being befriended by local people and being in turn passed on to their friends, so he had the enormous luck of not only their open-handed hospitality but also of their local knowledge. Many of these characters are compelling: I especially loved the studious land-owner who opened the conversation by asking what was Fermor's special research topic. He was clearly disapproving that the 19y old had not got one, and was only mollified by his evidently wide classical reading. Fermor writes perceptively and sympathetically, but his beguiling account is bittersweet as one knows that he is describing a region and people who are on the brink of the horrors of WWII and the dead hand of prolonged totalitarianism. The book ends with an exciting ferry ride through the Danube's Iron Gates gorge - which seemed so spectacular that I decided to visit the place asap, only to discover that it had since been submerged by a dam put up in later more utilitarian times!
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