Boldly Going

Posted on by David Gelber

No one has been excluded without good reason from this anthology of the writings of the world’s greatest explorers, past and present: in his sensitive and thought-provoking introduction Benedict Allen has taken a great deal of trouble to explain how he made his choices. To elucidate his own understanding of what exploration is, he quotes […]

When Men Wore Mustaches

Posted on by Jonathan Beckman

The story of the Younghusband Mission, or invasion of Tibet, has been told many times. Within a year of reaching Lhasa five of its participants wrote what we would now call instant books. They perceived it as a quest, both secular and religious. All cultures have quest narratives, which run (according to structural anthropologists) as follows:

Paddy Power

Posted on by Frank Brinkley

Dramatised in the 1957 film Ill Met by Moonlight, in which Dirk Bogarde rather improbably played the leading role, Patrick Leigh Fermor’s kidnapping of a German general in Crete in the spring of 1944 was one of the most dashing and unconventional episodes of the Second World War. Leigh Fermor published little on the subject during his lifetime – a very brief account is provided in his 2003 collection of essays, Words of Mercury – but Wes Davis’s book usefully plugs the gap. First published in America last year, too early to benefit from Artemis Cooper’s biography of Leigh Fermor, it draws on previously unpublished papers in the National Archives and the Imperial War Museum, as well as on Antony Beevor’s exhaustive history of the German invasion and occupation of Crete, and on the published memoirs of other veterans of the long guerrilla war. The result is an exciting, fast-moving and crisply written adventure story.

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