Sunday, January 21, 2018

"The Cretan Runner" - a review..

..this was a recommendation by Big Lee on his blog [clicky] and as I've always had an interest in the war in the Mediterranean, and have always wanted to go to Crete, I book marked it for a future read, and was more than happy to find I had been given it for Christmas...

Fascinating book, dealing with the war time resistance on Crete..  George was a runner for the British SOE officers on Crete (Patrick Leigh Fermor [clicky] being probably the best known) and the book details life on the run and in hiding..  My assessment was it was a truly exhausting and scary existence..  food was short, they lived in caves, and all the time being hunted by the Germans assisted by (gratifyingly few it seemed to me) traitors and informers..

He details air drops, the picks up by caique at night on deserted beaches, the endless route marches across the mountains sometimes taking days, and at one point is extracted to Cairo for a period of training before he decides to go back and continue his war in Crete...

As I said a fascinating story, and interesting guy, with a good sense of humour...  after the war he jailed by the Greeks as a deserter (despite his MBE from the British!) and was a year and a half in prison before his old comrades on the British side managed to secure his release..  always impoverished, Leigh Fermor persuaded him to release the book, and also edited it, and indeed this one has a number of comments and foot notes by him..  amazing stuff..    T

The book gives  good view of  how the British and their Cretan allies operated on the island, what I'd now like to know more about is why they were there as the British clearly saw it as very important in military terms... I'd love to read about what was in those messages!  

Steve the Wargamer rates this one 8/10.

5 comments:

  1. It does sound interesting.

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    1. Ray - 20th Century Donnybrook take your fancy?? :o))

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  2. Hadn't heard if this but will get it now. Ill met by Moonlight is one of my favourite war novels. I' d recommend Crete by the way, possibly my most favourite place.

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    1. PL - now that's a book I need to read... George was on the periphery of the General Kreipe kidnapping so gives some insight from what he saw... back to Kefalonia this year, so maybe Crete next year....

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  3. My gaming buddies and I were just talking about how much we would enjoy a trip to Crete, both to see the Minoan sites and the WWII battlefields. This book sounds very interesting indeed.

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