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Between the Woods and the Water: On Foot to Constantinople: From The Middle Danube to the Iron Gates (New York Review Books Classics) Paperback


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Between the Woods and the Water: On Foot to Constantinople: From The Middle Danube to the Iron Gates (New York Review Books Classics) + A Time of Gifts: On Foot to Constantinople: From the Hook of Holland to the Middle Danube (New York Review Books Classics) + The Broken Road: From the Iron Gates to Mount Athos (New York Review Books Classics)
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Product Details

  • Series: New York Review Books Classics
  • Paperback: 280 pages
  • Publisher: NYRB Classics; First Printing edition (October 3, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9781590171660
  • ISBN-13: 978-1590171660
  • ASIN: 1590171667
  • Product Dimensions: 2 x 3.2 x 0.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (57 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #12,153 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Half a century after the journey, a renowned British travel writer recaptures a five-month period in 1934 when, on a walking trip to Istanbul, he traversed 600 miles through Hungary and Transylvania, arriving finally at a point on the Danube where the Carpathians meet the Balkans. Sleeping at times in the open but often in the stately homes of families to whom he had letters of introduction, 19-year-old Fermor experienced regions untouched by the industrial revolution, where the rhythm of life had remained many decades behind the pace of the West. His "blessed and happy" stays in these quiet lands were as leisurely as they are in English and Russian novels of the 19th century. A worthy sequel to his 1977 book A Time of Gifts.
Copyright 1986 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

The second volume of a projected trilogy, this book continues Fermor's account of a trip he made on foot across Europe in 1933-34. The book confirms the impression made by the first volume ( A Time of Gifts ): that Fermor is a very fine writer, whether he is discussing a brief liaison ("all unentwined moments seemed a waste"), a Hungarian castle, or haymaking. Like the first volume, this one too is full of superb vignettes that linger in the memory, combining to create an impression of Western Europe between the wars of striking power and (given what happened soon afterwards) poignancy. If the amateur etymologizing is a little overdone here, the blemish is a minor one in a notable contribution to literature. Thomas M. Robinson, Philosophy Dept., Univ. of Toronto
Copyright 1986 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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Patrick Leigh Fermor is a pure pleasure to read.
Haim Shapiro
The Hungary and Transylvania through which Leigh Fermor travels is very rural, dominated by a peasantry still coexisiting with the aristocracy.
R. Albin
Reading this book is like travelling with a friend.
Howard Leigh

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

48 of 49 people found the following review helpful By Alekos on May 2, 2000
Format: Paperback
Like most literary masterpieces this marvelous book has a outer vehicle that develops an inner theme. The vehicle is a journey on foot, horseback and barge across Europe in the 1930's when the author was 19. The inner theme is a resolution of polarities and opposites of all kinds. First there is the overriding polarity of solitude and company. He enjoys spending time with friends and friends of friends at their country homes in Hungary and Roumania and passing hours in their sometimes fabulous libraries but he finds refreshment and spiritual renewal in long solitary walks in wooded mountains and along the banks of the Danube where he meets an occasional deer or golden eagle. He relishes staying with his wealthy, worldly and sophisticated hosts but also enjoys the company of peasants, gypsies and lumberjacks. He likes passing comfortable nights in reasonably soft beds with clean linens but doesn't shrink from sleeping in hayricks or under sheltering oaks. The interplay of past and present are another polarity he weaves into the narrative. His knowledge of history and use of it in this work is both magnificent and enviable. Leigh Fermor is in fact one of the most cultured contemporary writers I have had the good fortune to read. He is a good linguist, a masterful historian and , surprisingly, a knowledgeable theologian. But that is only half the story. He is also a super-macho man of action completely aware of his body and its interaction with the environment. This we know from his activities, almost heroic feats, during WWII, especially in Crete. In the present book he coordinates his mental and physical endowments to produce a gorgeously textured masterpiece of English prose.Read more ›
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45 of 46 people found the following review helpful By J. V. Lewis VINE VOICE on August 29, 2006
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Here, in part two of Patrick Fermor's promised three-part account of his 1933-1934 walk from the Hook of Holland to Constantinople, the 19 year old wanderer/journalist strolls unguided through Hungary and into darkest Transylvania. Along the way he reads in the great private libraries and parties with washed-up aristocrats; wonders about water buffalo, the echoes of Hapsburg heirarchies, Rumanian gothic architecture, and barbaric wedding practices; rests with gypsies and gabs with rich landowners... He by then had fallen into the rhythm of his travels, and his powers of observation illuminate a strange and distant central Europe. But this isn't mere travel writing. He isn't simply shining a light on a place, a time, and a people. His writing is so ecstatic and muscular that the reader is transported to real yearning for experience, and to face that experience with eyes unclouded by cynicism or too much ossifying adulthood. This book, even more than A Time of Gifts, is a portrait of an enviable mind, a mind that is simultaneously open to experience and wise, or at least subtle and clear-thinking, but refined by a liberal education. The real gift of these books is for us to see a clear glimpse into the mind of a person who is living fully. The glimpse shows the folly of planning, of responsibility, of routine and care. Few writers have ever equalled the clarity of this offering. The life of the cubicle and the steady paycheck is the life of frailty and trepidation. This book spreads a warm ray of strength, resilience, and joy in discovery. A true delight.
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28 of 28 people found the following review helpful By R. Albin TOP 500 REVIEWER on September 17, 2006
Format: Paperback
This is the sequel to Leigh Fermor's A Time of Gifts. In 1933, the very young Leigh Fermor set out to travel by foot from Holland to Constantinople. Written many years after this adventure, Between the Woods and the Water describes Leigh Fermor's travels in Hungary and Transylvania. He had the good fortune to make some aristocratic connections and spent a good part of the trip being passed from country house to country house and town to town within an extended family network of the Hungarian aristocracy. The Hungary and Transylvania Leigh Fermor describes had already changed greatly under the impact of the First World War, the breakup of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, and the Great Depression. Many, if not all of the aristocratic figures from whom Leigh Fermor received hospitality, were living lives of genteel poverty on much reduced estates. Still, he describes a world that would be swept away by the events of WWII, the installation of communist states and the postwar industrialization of much of Eastern Europe. The Hungary and Transylvania through which Leigh Fermor travels is very rural, dominated by a peasantry still coexisiting with the aristocracy. Transylvania in particular was ethnically diverse with significant populations of ethnic Germans, Hungarians, Romanians, Jews, and Gypsies. These populations were divided also by a variety of languages and faiths. The awareness on the part of the author and readers of fate of these peoples gives much of this book an elegiac quality. Wonderfully written with superb historical digressions and some outstanding descriptive writing about the landscapes, this is book is just a treat. The natural comparison is with the predecessor volume. I think this is the better of the two. This volume was published in the mid-80s with Leigh Fermor promising a sequel that would cover the final segment of the journey. Sadly, this has never been published and given Leigh Fermor's advanced age, it is unlikely to be completed. A real pity.
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