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The Broken Road

Although travel writing (the literary not the guidebook kind) is something of a niche genre, Patrick Leigh Fermor deserves a wider readership. In 1933, at age eighteen, he traveled on foot across Europe and, years later, wrote about the trip in two books that have been justly celebrated for their vivid depiction of European life and culture in that troubled period: A Time of Gifts (1977) and Between the Woods and the Water (1986). The rest of his long life involved further colorful adventures, including serving undercover for the British military during World War II and leading a raid that captured the German commander on occupied Crete. At the time of his death in 2011, Leigh Fermor left unfinished the final installment in the account of his 1933 trip.

Now, Artemis Cooper, author of the 2013 biography Patrick Leigh Fermor: An Adventure, and another well-known travel writer, Colin Thubron, have assembled the final volume from Leigh Fermor’s manuscripts. The Broken Road: From the Iron Gates to Mount Athos brings him to the conclusion of his journey, through Bulgaria and Romania to the Black Sea and Constantinople. Check out this exciting new title and Cooper’s biography, as well as A Time of Gifts and Between the Woods and the Water, from Richland Library’s collection. You may also want to consider some of the other classics of travel writing listed below.


Amazon Says: In the winter of 1933, eighteen-year-old Patrick (“Paddy”) Leigh Fermor set out on a walk across Europe, starting in Holland and ending in Constantinople, a trip that took more...
Amazon Says: In the winter of 1933, eighteen-year-old Patrick (“Paddy”) Leigh Fermor set out on a walk across Europe, starting in Holland and ending in Constantinople, a trip that took him almost a year. Decades later, Leigh Fermor told the story of that life-changing journey in A Time of Gifts and Between the Woods and the Water, two books now celebrated as among the most vivid, absorbing, and beautifully written travel books of all time. The Broken Road is the long-awaited account of the final leg of his youthful adventure that Leigh Fermor promised but was unable to finish before his death in 2011. Assembled from Leigh Fermor’s manuscripts by his prizewinning biographer Artemis Cooper and the travel writer Colin Thubron, this is perhaps the most personal of all Leigh Fermor’s books, catching up with young Paddy in the fall of 1934 and following him through Bulgaria and Romania to the coast of the Black Sea. Days and nights on the road, spectacular landscapes and uncanny cities, friendships lost and found, leading the high life in Bucharest or camping out with fishermen and shepherds–in the The Broken Road such incidents and escapades are described with all the linguistic bravura, odd and astonishing learning, and overflowing exuberance that Leigh Fermor is famous for, but also with a melancholy awareness of the passage of time, especially when he meditates on the scarred history of the Balkans or on his troubled relations with his father. The book ends, perfectly, with Paddy’s arrival in Greece, the country he would fall in love with and fight for. Throughout it we can still hear the ringing voice of an irrepressible young man embarking on a life of adventure. less...
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Amazon Says: Patrick Leigh Fermor’s enviably colorful life took off when in 1934, at the age of eighteen, he decided to walk across Europe. In just over a year he had trekked through nin more...
Amazon Says: Patrick Leigh Fermor’s enviably colorful life took off when in 1934, at the age of eighteen, he decided to walk across Europe. In just over a year he had trekked through nine countries and taught himself three languages, and his enthusiasm and curiosity for every kind of experience made him equally happy in caves or country houses, among shepherds or countesses.   At the outbreak of war he left his lover, Princess Balasha Cantacuzene, in Romania and returned to England to enlist. Commissioned into the Intelligence Corps, he became one of the handful of Allied officers supporting the Cretan resistance to the German occupation. In 1944 he commanded the Anglo-Cretan team that abducted General Heinrich Kreipe and spirited him away to Egypt.   A journey to the Caribbean, stays in monasteries, and explorations all over Greece provided the subjects for his first books. It was not until he and his wife had moved to southern Greece that he returned to his earliest walk. In these books, which took many years to write, he created a vision of a prewar Europe, which in its beauty and abundance has never been equaled.   Artemis Cooper has drawn on years of interviews and conversations with Leigh Fermor and his closest friends, and has had complete access to his archive. Her beautifully crafted biography portrays a man of extraordinary gifts—no one wore their learning so playfully nor inspired such passionate friendship. less...
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A Time of Gifts by Patrick Leigh Fermor
Amazon Says: A renowned British travel writer's chronicle of his 1200-mile walking trip from Holland to Hungary in 1934 at the age of eighteen provides insight into a Europe hovering on th more...
Amazon Says: A renowned British travel writer's chronicle of his 1200-mile walking trip from Holland to Hungary in 1934 at the age of eighteen provides insight into a Europe hovering on the brink of World War II. less...
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Between the Woods and the Water by Patrick Leigh Fermor
Amazon Says: Continuing the epic foot journey across Europe begun in A Time of Gifts The journey that Patrick Leigh Fermor set out on in 1933—to cross Europe on foot with an more...
Amazon Says: Continuing the epic foot journey across Europe begun in A Time of Gifts The journey that Patrick Leigh Fermor set out on in 1933—to cross Europe on foot with an emergency allowance of one pound a day—proved so rich in experiences that when much later he sat down to describe them, they overflowed into more than one volume. Undertaken as the storms of war gathered, and providing a background for the events that were beginning to unfold in Central Europe, Leigh Fermor’s still-unfinished account of his journey has established itself as a modern classic. Between the Woods and the Water, the second volume of a projected three, has garnered as many prizes as its celebrated predecessor, A Time of Gifts. The opening of the book finds Leigh Fermor crossing the Danube—at the very moment where his first volume left off. A detour to the luminous splendors of Prague is followed by a trip downriver to Budapest, passage on horseback across the Great Hungarian Plain, and a crossing of the Romanian border into Transylvania. Remote castles, mountain villages, monasteries and towering ranges that are the haunt of bears, wolves, eagles, gypsies, and a variety of sects are all savored in the approach to the Iron Gates, the division between the Carpathian mountains and the Balkans, where, for now, the story ends. less...
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Amazon Says: For years, serious naturalists have treasured their copies of Francis Harper's naturalist's edition of The Travels of William Bartram as the definitive version of Bartram's pi more...
Amazon Says: For years, serious naturalists have treasured their copies of Francis Harper's naturalist's edition of The Travels of William Bartram as the definitive version of Bartram's pioneering survey. Complete with notes and commentary, an annotated index, maps, a bibliography, and a general index, this classic is now back in print for the first time in decades. Harper's knowledge of natural history transforms Bartram's accounts of the southern states from a curious record of personal observation from the past into a guidebook useful to modern biologists, historians, ornithologists, and ethnologists.In 1773 the naturalist and writer William Bartram set out from Philadelphia on a four-year journey ranging from the Carolinas to Florida and Mississippi. For Bartram it was the perfect opportunity to pursue his interest in observing and drawing plants and birds. Combining precise and detailed scientific observations with a profound appreciation of nature, he produced a written account of his journey that would later influence both scientists and poets, including Wordsworth and Coleridge.Bartram was among the first to integrate scientific observations and personal commentary. Unlike most of his contemporaries, he condemned the idea that nature was simply a resource to be consumed. Instead, he championed the aesthetic and scientific values of an "infinite variety of animated scenes, inexpressibly beautiful and pleasing." From his field journals he prepared a report for his benefactor and a larger report for the public. The former was rediscovered much later and published in 1943; the latter was published in 1791 and became the basis for the modern Bartram's Travels. less...
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The Royal Road to Romance by Richard Halliburton
Amazon Says: When Richard Halliburton graduated from college, he chose adventure over a career, traveling the world with almost no money. The Royal Road to Romance chronicles what happened more...
Amazon Says: When Richard Halliburton graduated from college, he chose adventure over a career, traveling the world with almost no money. The Royal Road to Romance chronicles what happened as a result, from a breakthrough Matterhorn ascent to being jailed for taking forbidden pictures on Gibraltar. "One of the most fascinating books of its kind ever written." - Detroit News less...
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The Songlines by Bruce Chatwin
Amazon Says: Bruce Chatwin—author of In Patagonia—ventures into the desolate land of Outback Australia to learn the meaning of the Aborginals' ancient "Dreaming-tracks." Along t more...
Amazon Says: Bruce Chatwin—author of In Patagonia—ventures into the desolate land of Outback Australia to learn the meaning of the Aborginals' ancient "Dreaming-tracks." Along these timeless paths, amongst the fortune hunters and redneck Australians, racist policemen and mysterious Aboriginal holy men, he discovers a wondrous vision of man's place in the world. less...
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The Great Railway Bazaar by Paul Theroux
Amazon Says: First published more than thirty years ago, Paul Theroux's strange, unique, and hugely entertaining railway odyssey has become a modern classic of travel literature. Here Ther more...
Amazon Says: First published more than thirty years ago, Paul Theroux's strange, unique, and hugely entertaining railway odyssey has become a modern classic of travel literature. Here Theroux recounts his early adventures on an unusual grand continental tour. Asia's fabled trains -- the Orient Express, the Khyber Pass Local, the Frontier Mail, the Golden Arrow to Kuala Lumpur, the Mandalay Express, the Trans-Siberian Express -- are the stars of a journey that takes him on a loop eastbound from London's Victoria Station to Tokyo Central, then back from Japan on the Trans-Siberian. Brimming with Theroux's signature humor and wry observations, this engrossing chronicle is essential reading for both the ardent adventurer and the armchair traveler. less...
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Amazon Says: "Travel writing at its best." THE HOUSTON POST Author and travel writer Paul Theroux does what no one else can: he travels to the isolated, unusual, and fascinating spots of t more...
Amazon Says: "Travel writing at its best." THE HOUSTON POST Author and travel writer Paul Theroux does what no one else can: he travels to the isolated, unusual, and fascinating spots of the world, and creates an elegy to them that makes readers feel they are traveling with him. Evocative, breathtaking, intriguing, here is the armchair traveler's guide to the sites of the world he makes us feel we know. From the Paperback edition. less...
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Travels with Herodotus by Ryszard Kapuscinski
Amazon Says: From the master of literary reportage whose acclaimed books include Shah of Shahs, The Emperor, and The Shadow of the Sun, an intimate account of his first youthful forays bey more...
Amazon Says: From the master of literary reportage whose acclaimed books include Shah of Shahs, The Emperor, and The Shadow of the Sun, an intimate account of his first youthful forays beyond the Iron Curtain. Just out of university in 1955, Kapuscinski told his editor that he’d like to go abroad. Dreaming no farther than Czechoslovakia, the young reporter found himself sent to India. Wide-eyed and captivated, he would discover in those days his life’s work—to understand and describe the world in its remotest reaches, in all its multiplicity. From the rituals of sunrise at Persepolis to the incongruity of Louis Armstrong performing before a stone-faced crowd in Khartoum, Kapuscinski gives us the non-Western world as he first saw it, through still-virginal Western eyes. The companion on his travels: a volume of Herodotus, a gift from his first boss. Whether in China, Poland, Iran, or the Congo, it was the “father of history”—and, as Kapuscinski would realize, of globalism—who helped the young correspondent to make sense of events, to find the story where it did not obviously exist. It is this great forerunner’s spirit—both supremely worldly and innately Occidental—that would continue to whet Kapuscinski’s ravenous appetite for discovering the broader world and that has made him our own indispensable companion on any leg of that perpetual journey. less...
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The Shadow of the Sun by Ryszard Kapuscinski
Amazon Says: Ryszard Kapuscinski arrived in Africa in 1957, at the beginning of the end of colonial rule––the “sometimes dramatic and painful, sometimes enjoyable and jubilant” reb more...
Amazon Says: Ryszard Kapuscinski arrived in Africa in 1957, at the beginning of the end of colonial rule––the “sometimes dramatic and painful, sometimes enjoyable and jubilant” rebirth of a continent. The Shadow of the Sun sums up the author’s experiences (“the record of a forty-year marriage”) in this place that became the central obsession of his remarkable career. From the hopeful years of independence through the bloodcurdling disintegration of nations such as Nigeria, Liberia, Rwanda, and Angola, Kapuscinski recounts great social and political changes as seen through the prism of the ordinary African. He looks at the rough-and-ready physical world and identifies the true geography of Africa––a little-understood spiritual universe, an African way of being. And he offers a moving portrait of Africa in the wake of two epoch-making changes: the arrival of AIDS and the definitive departure of the white man. Kapuscinski’s rare humanity invests his subject with a dignity and grandeur unmatched by any other writer on the Third World, and his unique ability to discern the universal in the particular has never been more powerfully displayed than in this work. The Shadow of the Sun is a masterpiece from a modern master. less...
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Amazon Says: In 587 AD, two monks set off on an extraordinary journey that would take them in an arc across the entire Byzantine world, from the shores of the Bosphorus to the sand dunes o more...
Amazon Says: In 587 AD, two monks set off on an extraordinary journey that would take them in an arc across the entire Byzantine world, from the shores of the Bosphorus to the sand dunes of Egypt. On the way, John Moschos and his pupil Sophronius the Sophist stayed in caves, monasteries, and remote hermitages, collecting the wisdom of the stylites and the desert fathers before their fragile world finally shattered under the great eruption of Islam. More than a thousand years later, using Moschos's writings as his guide, William Dalrymple sets off to retrace their footsteps. Dalrymple's pilgrimage takes him through a bloody civil war in eastern Turkey, the ruins of Beirut, the vicious tensions of the West Bank, and a fundamentalist uprising in southern Egypt, and it becomes an elegy to the slowly dying civilization of Eastern Christianity and to the peoples that have kept its flame alive. From the Holy Mountain is a rich and gripping bl of history and spirituality, adventure and politics, threaded through with Dalrymple's unique sense of black comedy. less...
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In Siberia by Colin Thubron
Amazon Says: An enormous and mysterious land, Siberia remains an exotic unknown that has haunted the imagination of Westerners for centuries. Colin Thubron takes us into the heart of Siber more...
Amazon Says: An enormous and mysterious land, Siberia remains an exotic unknown that has haunted the imagination of Westerners for centuries. Colin Thubron takes us into the heart of Siberia on a journey of discovery from Mongolia to the Arctic Circle, from Rasputin's village in the west through tundra, taiga, splendid mountains, lakes and rivers to the derelict Jewish community in Birobidzhan in the far eastern reaches of the region. More than a travel book, In Siberia is a moving and profound portrait of a region rich with history (and the remains of an intriguing prehistorical past), religions, and a profusion of fascinating peoples and cultures. Traveling alone, by train, boat, car, and on foot, Thubron explores this vast territory, talking to anyone he can find about the state of the country today and what it is like to live there. He finds a land of spectacular natural beauty, marked by the horrors of the Gulag and Soviet exploitation of its abundant natural resources. Beneath the permafrost, all too near the surface, lie bones and nuclear waste. And yet in counterpoise to the horror is the extraordinary human compassion he encounters: Wherever he goes, somebody takes him in and feeds him, no matter how poor they are. Perhaps the "core to Siberia" for which Thubron is searching turns out to be an unshakeable desire to believe, a quintessentially Russian hopefulness that is born of faith. Thubron traces it from Dostoevsky through the wreckage of communism to present day Siberia where it appears under other names. Written in a marvelously elegant prose, In Siberia penetrates a mysterious and beautiful part of the world in a way that no other book has been able to do. less...
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Shadow of the Silk Road by Colin Thubron
Amazon Says: Shadow of the Silk Road records a journey along the greatest land route on earth. Out of the heart of China into the mountains of Central Asia, across northern Afghanistan an more...
Amazon Says: Shadow of the Silk Road records a journey along the greatest land route on earth. Out of the heart of China into the mountains of Central Asia, across northern Afghanistan and the plains of Iran and into Kurdish Turkey, Colin Thubron covers some seven thousand miles in eight months. Making his way by local bus, truck, car, donkey cart and camel, he travels from the tomb of the Yellow Emperor, the mythic progenitor of the Chinese people, to the ancient port of Antioch—in perhaps the most difficult and ambitious journey he has undertaken in forty years of travel. The Silk Road is a huge network of arteries splitting and converging across the breadth of Asia. To travel it is to trace the passage not only of trade and armies but also of ideas, religions and inventions. But alongside this rich and astonishing past, Shadow of the Silk Road is also about Asia today: a continent of upheaval. One of the trademarks of Colin Thubron's travel writing is the beauty of his prose; another is his gift for talking to people and getting them to talk to him. Shadow of the Silk Road encounters Islamic countries in many forms. It is about changes in China, transformed since the Cultural Revolution. It is about false nationalisms and the world's discontented margins, where the true boundaries are not political borders but the frontiers of tribe, ethnicity, language and religion. It is a magnificent and important account of an ancient world in modern ferment. less...
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Amazon Says: The author of Bad Land realizes a lifelong dream as he navigates the waters of the Mississippi River in a spartan sixteen-foot motorboat, producing yet another masterpi more...
Amazon Says: The author of Bad Land realizes a lifelong dream as he navigates the waters of the Mississippi River in a spartan sixteen-foot motorboat, producing yet another masterpiece of contemporary American travel writing.  In the course of his voyage, Raban records the mercurial caprices of the river and the astonishingly varied lives of the people who live along its banks.  Whether he is fishing for walleye or hunting coon, discussing theology in Prairie Du Chien or race relations in Memphis, he is an expert observer of the heartyland's estrangement from America's capitals ot power and culture, and its helpless nostalgia for its lost past.  Witty, elegaic, and magnificently erudite, Old Glory is as filled with strong currents as the Mississippi itself. less...
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Amazon Says: For more than thirty years, Jonathan Raban has written with infectious fascination about people and places in transition or on the margins, about journeys undertaken and desti more...
Amazon Says: For more than thirty years, Jonathan Raban has written with infectious fascination about people and places in transition or on the margins, about journeys undertaken and destinations never quite reached, and, as an Englishman transplanted in Seattle, about what it means to feel rooted in America. Spanning two decades, Driving Home charts a course through the Pacific Northwest, American history, and current events as witnessed by “a super-sensitive, all-seeing eye. Raban spots things we might otherwise miss; he calls up the apt metaphors that transform things into phenomena. He is one of our most gifted observers” (Newsday).   Stops en route include a Missoula bar, a Tea Party convention in Nashville hosted by Sarah Palin, the Mississippi in full flood, a trip to Hawaii with his daughter, a steelhead river in the Cascades, and the hidden corners of his adopted hometown, Seattle. He deftly explores public and personal spaces, poetry and politics, geography and catastrophe, art and economy, and the shifts in various arenas that define our society. Whether the topic is Robert Lowell or Barack Obama, or how various painters, explorers, and homesteaders have engaged with our mythical and actual landscape, he has an outsider’s eye for the absurd, and his tone is intimate, never nostalgic, and always fresh.   Frank, witty, and provocative, Driving Home is part essay collection, part diary—and irresistibly insightful about America’s character, contradictions, and idiosyncrasies. less...
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