ManiTravels in the Southern Peloponnese
by Patrick Leigh Fermor, introduction by Michael Gorra
The Mani, at the tip of Greece’s—and Europe’s—southernmost promontory, is one of the most isolated regions of the world. Cut off from the rest of the country by the towering range of the Taygetus and hemmed in by the Aegean and Ionian seas, it is a land where the past is still very much a part of its people’s daily lives.
Patrick Leigh Fermor, who has been described as “a cross between Indiana Jones, James Bond, and Graham Greene,” bridges the genres of adventure story, travel writing, and memoir to reveal an ancient world living alongside the twentieth century. Here, in the book that confirmed his reputation as one of the English language’s finest writers of prose, Patrick Leigh Fermor carries the reader with him on his journeys among the Greeks of the mountains, exploring their history and time-honored lore.
Mani is a companion volume to Patrick Leigh Fermor’s celebrated Roumeli: Travels in Northern Greece.
His greatest book, Mani, was about a journey through that little-known and, at the time, archaic region....[He] travelled [sic] simply, staying with fishermen and farmers, which enabled him to capture the essence of the region....Almost every page has its own literary tour de force, often with intimidating displays of learning and research mixed with fantasy, imagination and acute descriptions of the scene itself.
— Robin Hanbury-Tenison, Geographical
Patrick Leigh Fermor has written great travel books besides Roumeli and Mani, but I like to think that his extraordinary style is especially well suited to the subject of Greece, that the beautiful cragginess and almost
blinding brilliance of his prose correspond particularly to that country's rugged, dazzled landscapes. Here Fermor establishes an ideal of travel writing: no one responds to a people and a place with more erudition and sensitivity.
— Benjamin Kunkel
A really beautiful book of travel in an almost wholly unknown part of Europe, among people who still belong largely to the tough simple Middle Ages; and it shows not only their charm and vigor, but the delights which still await the explorer of Greece.
— Gilbert Highet
Mani and Roumeli: two of the best travel books of the century.
— Financial Times