Patrick Leigh Fermor: Noble Encounters between Budapest and Transylvania (Paperback)
This book revisits the trajectory of one section of Patrick Leigh Fermor's famous excursion on foot from the Hook of Holland to Constantinople in the 1930s. The highly regarded British travel writer and heroic wartime Special Operations Executive officer walked into Hungary as a youth of 19 at Easter and left Transylvania in August 1934. This intrepid traveler, "a cross between Indiana Jones, James Bond and Graham Greene" as the New York Times obituary put it in 2011, published his experiences half a century later. Between the Woods and the Water, that covers the part of the epic foot journey from the middle Danube to the Iron Gates, has been a bestseller since it was first published in 1986. In the present volume Michael O'Sullivan reveals the identity of the interesting characters in the travelogue, interviewing several of them eyetoeye. The many counts and barons among his 1934 contacts are a proof of Leigh Fermor's lifelong attraction to the aristocracy. Rich with photos and other documents on places and persons both from the thirties and today, the book offers a compelling social and political history of the period and the area. It provides a particular portrait of Hungary and Transylvania when they were on the brink of momentous change.
He was Vienna correspondent of the London Independent and later worked on both the Foreign and Parliamentary desks of Ireland's national broadcasting service RTE. He is the author of bestselling biographies of Mary Robinson, Ireland's first woman president and later UN High Commissioner for Human Rights. He has also written biographies of the founding father of the modern Irish state, Sean Lemass and of the playwright Brendan Behan.