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Roumeli: Travels in Northern Greece (Isis (Hardcover Large Print)) Hardcover – Large Print, September, 1998


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Product Details

  • Series: Isis (Hardcover Large Print)
  • Hardcover: 308 pages
  • Publisher: ISIS Large Print Books (September 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1850892121
  • ISBN-13: 978-1850892120
  • Product Dimensions: 5.9 x 0.9 x 9.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #6,102,027 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

[Mani and Roumeli are] two of the 20th Century's most celebrated travel books -- Independent on Sunday 20030622 "He is in the first flight of writers on Greece." -- The Times 20030622 "A masterpiece softened by warm, human understanding." -- Sunday Telegraph 20030622 "[U]nlike the celebrated travellers of the past he has become part of the country he describes." -- Sunday Times 20030622 '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 20030622 'A Book For! The Greek islands' -- Justin Marozzi, Financial Times 20030622 --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Patrick Leigh Fermor now lives in Greece with his wife in a house he designed and built. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

Just buy the damn thing!
Panayoti Kelaidis
All of Patrick Leigh Fermor's books are of an unusual beauty, but this is without doubt the most beautiful of all.
Alekos
In many ways, the book deals with the engulfment of the past by the present, the ancient by the modern.
R. M. Peterson

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

34 of 34 people found the following review helpful By zorba on November 20, 2006
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I first encountered Fermor in his riveting accounts of his walk across Europe as World War II began descending. I was fascinated by his encyclopedic and poetic narrative. He made you feel you were walking alongside him. Now, his travels take us to Roumeli, the old name for northern Greece and Macedonia. Again, Fermor takes us on a poetic and detailed odyssey through villages and rugged Greek countryside, meeting interesting people and telling their tales. He has an uncanny ear (and eye) for the temperament and culture of the Greeks and one can sense his affection for the people he helped defend while a British commando on Crete during WWII. This is a travelogue of the old sort: careful attention to detail, wanderings off the well-trod tourist paths, and vivid description of the sounds, smells and history of this fabled land.
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23 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Alekos on February 18, 2003
Format: Hardcover
All of Patrick Leigh Fermor's books are of an unusual beauty, but this is without doubt the most beautiful of all. But the author is not for just anyone. I have a friend who bought Roumeli and got only ten pages into it before deciding she didn't like it. But there are reasons for that. She has a journalism background and she lives in New York. Appreciating Leigh Fermor involves taking the time to savor elevated language and imagery emanating from several sometimes unfamiliar realms of meaning. Sorry, folks, but the dumbing down process stops here.
In the first chapter we have a description of the author's travels in Trace and in particular the area around Alexandroupolis, which, interestingly, is named for the Russian Czar Alexander II and not for Alexander the Great. The focus here is the people he calls The Black Departers, or the Sarakatsans, a mysterious and little-studies nomadic group who some say are descendants of the original Greeks who came into the peninsula.
Then there is a delightful chapter centered on the monasteries of Meteora and the holy but realistic Father Christopher, the abbot of St. Barlaam, who has a few tales to tell about the foreign occupiers and their mindless cruelty and how the monks outsmarted them on a few occasions.
Chapter three deals with the famous difference between Hellenes and Greeks (or Romios) that has been used as an analytic model by many serious writers who take an interest in modern Greece, including Robert D. Kaplan in his Balkan Ghosts. This is the division or polarity existing within every Greek you meet on the streets and it shows the distinct pulls of the Eastern and Western orientations that still abide in the Greek collective consciousness and which give, sometimes, the impression of a split personality.
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23 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Panayoti Kelaidis on December 25, 2008
Format: Paperback
I only discovered Fermor a year ago, and began with Roumeli, which I think is his masterpiece. The book title is somewhat misleading, since the book forays into Crete (the fabulous center section, I wish he had expanded into a book of its own), and ranges all across the Greek world through history as well as geography, although Northern Greece, and some of her strangest corners, are well served. The prose is gorgeous, in a sort of Edwardian fashion, and very erudite. Fermor is obviously a polymath, and his understanding of Greece (and apparently the Greek language) extraordinary. This is a book I treasure: I've bought multiple copies to share with relatives and friends. If you are the least bit interested in modern Greece, and smart enough to do a crossword puzzle, I suspect this could become one of your favorite books as well. Just buy the damn thing!
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Edward Yarborough on June 5, 2009
Format: Paperback
Everything in this book is good, but my favorite part is the last chapter, a brilliant prose poem in which the author knits together dozens of Greek place-names and makes them sound like music, resonating with all sorts of subtle historical and literary associations. This book is essential reading for anyone interested in Greece.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By JAK on May 31, 2012
Format: Paperback
I'd previously read A TIME OF GIFTS and BETWEEN THE WOODS AND THE WATER and I'll admit , I found them the more interesting books.Partly that's because I'm more interested in Eastern and Central Europe than Greece.But they also strike me as tighter, more controlled books.Parts of ROUMELI are fascinating.Yet , the fascinating parts do tend to alternate with extended ,dullish ,passages.Fermor had a great eye and does a brilliant job of evoking a rural Greece that must have been disappearing even as he was observing it, in , I think the 1950's.Of particular interest are his descriptions of the Sarakastans, a group who if they still exist in any sense ,must be utterly transformed , and the Vlachs.Also I found the apparent persistence of the cult of Lord Byron in Greece surprising, funny and endearing.I suspect the modern Greece that emerged is a much duller place. Yet, nostalgia seems inappropriate.You need only read Fermor's descriptions of Sarakastan life to realize two things : 1) Sarakastan life was beautiful and romantic 2) it must also have been --awful.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Jefroc on April 17, 2014
Format: Paperback
A book written in the mid sixties but seemingly largely based on his travels, often with his wife (not that you would be too aware if this from reading the book) in the fifties. A book that features certain aspects of Greece north of the Gulf of Corinth and particularly the Sarakastans the nomadic shepherds whose culture and lifestyle were rare at the time of writing and now almost certainly simply memories of some still living; the monasteries of Meteora; the last days of Byron in Missolonghi and the peripatetic begging expertise of those from the villages of the Krakora found just north of the western end of the gulf.

It is a book that reminds me often of Hancock’s line “if that is what he meant why didn’t he say so” as Fermoy’s scholastic references and often arcane and obscure vocabulary can if, one succumbed, send you to the dictionary and laptop every other line. That said, very refreshingly, he does not patronise the reader and once the mood and flow of his writing becomes familiar so does the book become more valued and valuable. Not a casual read but an immensely worthwhile recording of memories of a disappearing, if not lost, world.
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