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Abducting a General The Kreipe Operation and Soe in Crete by Patrick Leigh Fermor

Abducting a General The Kreipe Operation and Soe in Crete

Biography / Autobiography   History   

Sue Baker's view...

The kidnapping of General Kreipe, the German Commander in Crete during WWII when together with Cretan Resistance fighters, Patrick Leigh Fermor and his colleagues in SOE managed to kidnap Kreipe, get him past the Germans and away to Egypt where he was interrogated. Major Leigh Fermor ensured there were no reprisals against the Cretan people and amazingly the Germans did not execute any local people for the kidnap, just one of the many facets of this story that reads more like a fictional adventure.

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Ill Met by Moonlight, W. Stanley Moss

The Cretan Runner, George Psychoundakis

If you like Patrick Leigh Fermor you might also like to read books by Eric Newby, Dervla Murphy and Paul Theroux.

Who is Sue Baker

The Good Book Guide logo The Good Book Guide Review. In 1944 Patrick Leigh Fermor and fellow SOE officer William Stanley Moss, with the help of the local resistance, kidnapped a high-ranking German officer in Nazi-occupied Crete. They then smuggled Kreipe through 22 German checkpoints before whisking him away to Egypt. Immortalised in the 1950 film Ill Met by Moonlight, where he was portrayed by Dirk Bogarde, this is Leigh Fermor’s own account, written in the 1960s, by which time he had become a well-respected travel writer, but this is the first time it has been published in its entirety. This is a riveting first-hand account of one of the most audacious escapades of the Second World War.
~ Anthony Lafferty


Abducting a General The Kreipe Operation and Soe in Crete by Patrick Leigh Fermor

Dressed as German military police, they stopped and took control of Kreipe's car, drove through twenty-two German checkpoints, then succeeded in hiding from the German army before finally being picked up on a beach in the south of the island and transported to safety in Egypt on 14 May. Abducting a General is Leigh Fermor's own account of the kidnap, published for the first time. Written in his inimitable prose, and introduced by acclaimed Special Operations Executive historian Roderick Bailey, it is a glorious first-hand account of one of the great adventures of the Second World War. Also included in this book are Leigh Fermor's intelligence reports, sent from caves deep within Crete yet still retaining his remarkable prose skills, which bring the immediacy of SOE operations vividly alive, as well as the peril which the SOE and Resistance were operating under; and a guide to the journey that Kreipe was taken on, as seen in the 1957 film Ill Met by Moonlight starring Dirk Bogarde, from the abandonment of his car to the embarkation site so that the modern visitor can relive this extraordinary event.


'It takes some chutzpah to kidnap a German general - and serious presence of mind to get away with it. Paddy, the Special Operations Executive commander of a group of 11 Cretan andartes, or guerrilla fighters, together with his second-in-command Captain William Stanley Moss, had excessive stores of both ... Abducting a General ... is the work of a mature man, anxious to pay proper tribute to the Cretans who were the backbone of the resistance and ran by far the greatest risks. His SOE reports, which run to 90 pages here, provide gripping cinematic portraits of Leigh Fermor the soldier' The Spectator

'Beautifully written ... Fermor's love of Crete and scholarly knowledge of the Classics exude from the pages' The Times

'As a pure adventure story ... it is hard to beat' Financial Times

'Superb ... Leigh Fermor's many fans will find plenty of the old master's fizz in this resurrected work ... irresistible' Scotsman

'Paddy's vividly idiomatic reports irresistibly take us in to the skulduggery and derring-do ... a wonderful story' Jan Morris, Literary Review

'The late, great Pagrick Leigh Fermor, described as a cross between Indiana Jones, James Bond and Graham Greene, first became famous in 1944 for his daring kidnap of high-ranking German general ... Afficionados of the tale were spoilt this year' Daily Express

About the Author

Following his walk across Europe, Patrick Leigh Fermor (1915-2011) lived and travelled in the Balkans and Greek Archipelago. He joined the Irish Guards and during the occupation of Crete led the party that captured the German commander. He was awarded the DSO and OBE.

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Book Info

Publication date

30th November 1999


Patrick Leigh Fermor

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Biography / Autobiography



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