Author(s): Artemis Cooper
Patrick Leigh Fermor (1915-2011) was a war hero whose exploits in Crete are legendary, and above all he is widely acclaimed as the greatest travel writer of our times, notably for his books about his walk across pre-war Europe, A Time of Gifts and Between the Woods and the Water; he was a self-educated polymath, a lover of Greece and the best company in the world. Artemis Cooper has drawn on years of interviews and conversations with Paddy and his cloest friends as well as having complete access to his archives. Her beautifully crafted biography portrays a man of extraordinary gifts - no one wore their learning so playfully, nor inspired such passionate friendship.
The authorized biography shortlisted for Waterstones Book of the Year, the National Book Awards and the Costa Biography Award
Shortlisted for Costa Biography Award 2012.
'Artemis Cooper's funny, wise, learned but totally candid biography reveals Leigh Fermor to be an adventurer through and through ... page-turning' -- Barnaby Rogerson, Independent 'Artemis Cooper's definitive biography draws on many years' encounters with Fermor, and is probably the most important travel-related book of the year' -- Conde Nast Traveller 'Patrick Leigh Fermor survived enough assaults on his existence to make Rasputin seem like a quitter ... He was elegant as a cat, darkly handsome, unboreable, curious, fearless, fortunate, blessed with a near eidetic memory, and is surely one of the great English prose stylists of his generation ... At last his biography has been detailed in full, in Artemis Cooper's tender and excellent book' -- Robert MacFarlane, Guardian 'This book is a primer for those poor souls yet to encounter his work, and a valuable, decoding manual for the multitude who believe that Leigh Fermor's trilogy about his youthful walk from the Hook of Holland to Istanbul marks one of the high points of twentieth-century English prose ... Sometimes you can judge a book by its cover' -- Allison Pearson, Daily Telegraph 'Xenophilia is as English as Stilton. In one of the wonderful letters quoted in this perceptive, haunting and highly readable biography, Patrick Leigh Fermor called living in England "like living in the heart of a lettuce. I pine for hot stones and thorns and olive trees and prickly pears"' -- Philip Mansel, The Spectator 'Happy the hero who, after a lifetime of glorious achievement, in death finds a biographer worthy of his memory. Artemis Cooper ... makes this marvellous book less a mere life story than an evocation. [Patrick Leigh Fermor] is justly commemorated in this magnificent biography, and will surely be remembered for ever as one of the very best of men' -- Jan Morris, Sunday Telegraph 'Magnificent ... Cooper's book is the perfect memorial to this remarkable man ... For those of us who loved him and his work, and for a whole generation of writers who set off in his footsteps, he was the exemplar, showing how magnificently an English life could still be lived. He remains ... the model to which we still aspire' -- William Dalrymple, Financial Times 'Whether describing a night attack on Crete, a love affair or the political tensions over Cyprus that poisoned Anglo-Greek relations after the Second World War, she writes with a cool hand and clear head. Her book lives up to the majesty of the man' -- Country Life 'Artemis Cooper has done a brilliant job. The story rips along, as Leigh Fermor's life did, with friends and lovers, books and journeys and parties. And in the quieter moments we are left with something far more enduring: a man for whom the world was endlessly fascinating, and who found that he could create for his readers with carefully crafted words the same wonder that it gave him' -- Philip Marsden, Mail on Sunday 'The outstanding achievement in literary biography this year' -- Robert McCrum, Observer Books of the Year 2012 'It is not easy writing a biography of someone who has poured so much of his life into his books, but Artemis Cooper has done a brilliant job' -- Mail on Sunday 'In a splendid biography Artemis Cooper shows how a rather frustrated young man, who found it difficult to conform, changed the course of his life by undertaking an extraordinary journey ... Cooper has done a sterling job in recounting his time on Crete' -- We Love This Book 'He is the greatest travel writer of the last century, a master of English prose ... no one has written so well about what it is like to be young and hopeful, with one's future spread before one. Artemis Cooper has done him proud' -- Jeremy Lewis, Literary Review 'Artemis Cooper carries us on a calm, confident journey ... Cooper has mastered a tremendous amout of material' -- Nicholas Shakespeare, Daily Telegraph 'Artemis Cooper winningly followed in the footsteps of the great charmer, warrior and yarn-spinner' -- Indpendent 'Artemis Cooper's biography proved magnificently that a somewhat over-eulogised hero could be well worth the eulogising after all' -- Jan Morris, Sunday Telegraph 'There's a true biographical treat in store with the long-awaited arrival of ... Patrick Leigh Fermor, the sure-to-be glorious life of the twentieth century's greatest Hellenic traveller' -- Sunday Telegraph preview Jan 2012 'Artemis Cooper draws on years of interviews with the author and his friends in this much-anticipated biography' -- Guardian 'By any standards, Patrick Leigh Fermor led an extraordinary life' -- Dominic Sandbrook, Sunday Times 'Excellent, well-sourced' -- Daily Telegraph 'Fermor emerges as a man determined to live on his own terms, if not his own means, and who mostly - and most magnificently - succeeded' -- Observer 'I also adored Artemis Cooper's biography of my favourite travel writer ... in her new biography Cooper has left the perfect memorial to this remarkable man, which is as full of joie de vivre as its subject' -- William Dalrymple, Observer Books of the Year 'The life of an immensely charming man ... compelling, funny and wise' -- Jane Ridley, The Spectator Books of the Year 'Artemis Cooper ... has done him proud' -- Literary Review '[Patrick Leigh Fermor's] experiences have been rubbed smooth by much telling, often inaccurate as well as humdrum, and it is very much to Artemis Cooper's credit that she irons out the inaccuracies and places each anecdote in its proper context, backing it up with careful documentation' -- Peter Green, Times Literary Supplement 'An outstanding account of an extraordinary life; tender and evocative, without ever hardening into hagiography' -- Guardian Books of the Year 2012 'An admirably fair-minded portrait of the celebrated travel writer and adventurer' -- Sunday Times 'In describing Leigh Fermor's life, Artemis Cooper had often to revisit a told tale while correcting detail, expounding and inserting context. It was not an easy commission, and she has delivered it brilliantly ... Artemis Cooper's fine biography gives colour and substance to the adventure, and a delicate, sympathetic portrait of the man who made it his life' -- Scotsman 'It is not easy to convey the flavour of a man whose fame to a large extents rests on his ebullient personality and conversation but Ms Cooper succeeds admirably in this readable and entertaining book' -- The Economist 'Unputdownable biography' -- Big Issue 'Artemis Cooper has done a fine job of documenting his travels' -- Lonely Planet Magazine 'Tender and excellent' -- Week 'A fine, friendly biography of a heroic, headlong character' -- The Times Praise for Patrick Leigh Fermor's writing: 'Elegant and vividly exotic ... done with brilliant aesthetic feeling and a charming philosophic melancholy' -- The Times 'Beautiful is the adjective which comes uppermost ... Patrick Leigh Fermor is a writer with outstanding descriptive powers' -- John Betjeman, Daily Telegraph 'A wandering scholar but with a difference: unlike the celebrated travellers of the past he has become part of the country he describes' -- Sunday Times 'Meticulously researched' -- Independent on Sunday 'Cooper does this iconic figure proud in a well-researched biography' -- Sunday Herald 'One of the 20th century's truly great men, Fermor is admirably served by this splendid biography' -- Lady 'Cooper does full justice to this 20th-century Renaissance man' -- Saga Magazine 'A superb biography of the adventurous travel writer and war hero, draws on the years of interviews and complete access to his archives' -- Independent 'A roster of adventure and exuberant derring-do' -- Independent on Sunday 'His writing beautifully evokes exotic people and places. There wasn't nearly enough of it, but what there was has endured' -- Peter Lewis, Daily Mail 'Artemis Cooper's Patrick Leigh Fermor: An Adventure was widely admired for its vivid portrait of a remarkable man' -- David Robson, Sunday Telegraph 'A clear-sighted account of an extraordinary life' -- Sunday Express 'She successfully communicates his enormous enthusiasm for life' -- Paul Torday, Sunday Express
Artemis Cooper is the author of Cairo in the War, 1939-1945 and Writing at the Kitchen Table, the authorized biography of Elizabeth David. With her husband Antony Beevor she wrote Paris After the Liberation, 1945-1949. She has edited two collections of letters and Words of Mercury, a collection of pieces by Patrick Leigh Fermor.