The Ariadne Objective: The Underground War to Rescue Crete from the Nazis

The Ariadne Objective: The Underground War to Rescue Crete from the Nazis

by Wes Davis

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Overview

The incredible true story of the World War II spies, including Patrick Leigh Fermor and John Pendlebury, who fought to save Crete and block Hitler's march to the East.

In the bleakest years of World War II, when it appeared that nothing could slow the German army, Hitler set his sights on the Mediterranean island of Crete, the ideal staging ground for German domination of the Middle East. But German command had not counted on the eccentric band of British intelligence officers who would stand in their way, conducting audacious sabotage operations in the very shadow of the Nazi occupation force.

   The Ariadne Objective
tells the remarkable story of the secret war on Crete from the perspective of these amateur soldiers – scholars, archaeologists, writers – who found themselves serving as spies in Crete because, as one of them put it, they had made “the obsolete choice of Greek at school”: Patrick Leigh Fermor, a Byronic figure and future travel-writing luminary who as a teenager had walked across Europe in the midst of Hitler's rise to power; John Pendlebury, a swashbuckling archaeologist with a glass eye and a swordstick, who had been legendary archeologist Arthur Evans's assistant at Knossos before the war;  Xan Fielding, a writer who would later produce the English translations of books like Bridge over the River Kwai and Planet of the Apes; and Sandy Rendel, a future Times of London reporter, who prided himself on a disguise that left him looking more ragged and fierce than the Cretan mountaineers he fought alongside.

   Infiltrated into occupied Crete, these British gentleman spies teamed with Cretan partisans to carry out a cunning plan to disrupt Nazi maneuvers, culminating in a daring, high-risk plot to abduct the island’s German commander. In this thrilling untold story of World War II, Wes Davis offers a brilliant portrait of a group of legends in the making, against the backdrop of one of the war’s most exotic locales.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780307460158
Publisher: Crown/Archetype
Publication date: 11/12/2013
Sold by: Random House
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 352
File size: 5 MB

About the Author

WES DAVIS served for two years as an assistant to the director of excavations at Kavousi in Eastern Crete, not far from the plateau where Patrick Leigh Fermor parachuted onto the island during WWII. He holds a Ph.D. in English Literature from Princeton University and is a former assistant professor of English at Yale University.  Editor of the Harvard University Press Anthology of Modern Irish Poetry, he has written for publications that include the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal and The Nation.

Table of Contents

Map x

A Note on Names xiii

Prologue: Whimsical xv

Part I Deposited on the Limestone

1 Shanks's Mare 3

2 Sword Stick 35

3 Oak Apple Day 71

4 The Fishpond 93

5 Spaghetti and Ravioli 105

Part II In the Minotaur's Lair

6 Fleshpots 147

7 Tara 167

8 Moonstruck 193

9 The Intersection 223

10 Bricklayer 253

Epilogue: Ritterlich! 279

Acknowledgments 289

Notes 293

Selected Bibliography 315

Index 319

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The Ariadne Objective: The Underground War to Rescue Crete from the Nazis 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
qstewart More than 1 year ago
The Ariadne Objective is an excellent addition to the literature of World War II.  Wes Davis takes us into the events of World War II that occurred on the island of Crete.  It is a little known battlefield between the British and Germans.  It also gives us a look at the role of the Cretans in the guerilla warfare that took place on Crete.   This is the story of how British intelligence and in particular John Pendlebury an archaeologist and Patrick Leigh Fermor whom the author follows as a young man in his foot tour of Europe from the Netherlands to Greece before war breaks out.  This trip prepared Fermor for working with the Cretans because he merged himself into the various cultures that he passed through as a young man traveling in Europe.  At least it prepared him for all of the hiking or walking that he would later do in the mountains of Crete. It is a story of wanting to hurt the German war effort, but at the same time protect the citizens of Crete, which at times suffered at the hands of the occupiers when the guerrilla forces would strike them in some way.  The British officers working on Crete were accepted and in many cases hidden by the Cretan population.  The story finale builds up to the audacious plan to kidnap a German officer.   I would like to have seen a map of Crete in the book so that the reader could trace the routes that the British and Cretan used in the mountains.  It is a very good look at a battle area that most histories of World War II overlook.  It gives a glimpse of the working of the British intelligence service in the war and the unsung heroes of unknown battles.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is wonderfully written must read for any war or spy aficionado !!!