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Ill Met: By Moonlight
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Ill Met: By Moonlight

3.92 of 5 stars 3.92  ·  rating details  ·  153 ratings  ·  31 reviews
An account by one of the officers who took part in one of the great escapades of World War II. In 1943, W. Stanley Moss and Patrick Leigh-Fermor, both serving with Special Forces in the Middle East, decided on a plan to kidnap General Kreipe, Commander of the Sevastapol Division in Crete, and bring him back to Allied-occupied Cairo. This is the story of their adventures, w ...more
Paperback, 192 pages
Published March 4th 2004 by Not Avail (first published 1990)
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Nat
I wonder what the Russians think of World War II stories like this. I can guess based on the description Moss gives of an escaped Soviet prisoner of war who joins the band of British SOE irregulars and Cretan partisans on their hike across the island, fleeing German search parties. The "Bolshevik" they pick up is a sourpuss who doesn't instantly become friends with everybody in the gang, and who isn't really impressed with their efforts, which Moss finds perplexing. I'd imagine that after fighti ...more
Mike
2 Stars for the book although the mission to Crete to capture a German general is quite bold and hazardous. The book is a diary written at the time (the author had plenty of down time hiding out to write extensively) plus some clarifications added later to explain various parts. It is a lot of traveling with the partisans, eating, hiding, chatting with various people along the way. Very much written in unassuming "Brit": "Good show, old chap", "Jolly good wasn't it?". A very quick read.
Marvin Goodman
My voracious reader friend Tom turns me on to a lot of good books. He is generous enough to take my glacial reading pace and limited intelligence into account (in marked contrast to his own) and has a nearly infallible ability to predict what I'll be interested in. As big a fan as I am of British soldier tales, this was a pretty safe recommendation, and I thoroughly enjoyed reading it, as will you, if cut from the same cloth. The narrative is interesting, historically relevant and refreshingly u ...more
Peter
There is a note at the beginning of the book where the author explains that it had been held for publication, most likely with some editing and censoring, before it could be published. This makes me wonder what has been left out of this story. It is a perfectly enjoyable story of a WWII adventure, but it seems to move along a bit too smoothly. I suspect that either the author purposely left out some details, in order to maintain the appearance of it all being just a rousing good time for all inv ...more
Clayton
This book is the (lightly annotated) diary of a British Commando who managed to infiltrate Crete and capture a German General in 1944.

It was a short, exciting read. He is, on occasion, sublimely British in his humor. I found myself laughing out loud (in public!).

I must admit he shamed my vocabulary, though I found myself wondering (with wounded pride) whether this was an artifact of 60 years and an ocean's difference rather than one of schooling.

I was also amused that, in 1950, the extremely min
...more
Liz
So far, I'm skipping about. Read the intro explaining some curtailment due to censorship & protection of names. Am also reading Patrick Leigh Fermor's Epilogue, written in 2006, long after both the events related & the fall of Communism, so free of censorship & fairly detailed.
PLF himself explains in his own previous books of his trip through Eastern Europe, that he self-censored names to protect those trapped behind the Iron Curtain for so long. It may have been the same w/ portions
...more
Georgio Meloy
"Ill Met by Moonlight" by W. Stanley Moss tells the story of a couple Englishmen serving in the Special Operations Executive (SOE) of the British military in World War II. They went from Egypt to Crete to kidnap a German general and take him across the island and back to Egypt. Every word from this book is true since it’s a memoir, but the British War Office removed 60 pages (for some reason I don’t know). The author was one of the Englishmen who carried out the operation. The genre of this book ...more
Chris Pramas
Ill Met b Moonlight by W. Stanley Moss is an account of how two British officers from the Special Operations Executive and a band of partisans conspired to kidnap a German general on the island of Crete. What's interesting about this memoir is that Moss, one of the officers involved, actually wrote most of it as a diary during the events themselves. He and his cohort Patrick Leigh Fermor lived on Crete for months and spent many idle days hiding in caves and waiting for developments. During that ...more
Richard
A wonderful, tense diary written by W Stanley Moss, one of the British soldiers tasked with capturing General Kriepe, the commander of the Cretan occupation during World War 2. Moss and Patrick Leigh Fermor - later a celebrated writer - landed on Crete for this daring and highly dangerous raid and assimilated with the Cretan resistance. With their help, Kriepe was abducted, hidden in the mountains and eventually spirited away to Allied Cairo.

The backdrop to this book was the brutal German occupa
...more
Chris Gager
I picked up this little book at the transfer station. The name Patrick Leigh Fermor jumped out and this is about the famous capture of a German general on Crete in WWII. Just started... My edition is what you'd call "library": hard cover but plain black in color. Copyright 1950.

So now I've moved across the Mediterranean and forward in time about 3,200 years! The books more interesting too... Was this story ever filmed... Yes! Back in the '50's with Dirk Bogarde as Leigh-Fermor.

All done last nigh
...more
Scott
"Paddy" Leigh Fermor and "Billy" Moss play capture the flag on Crete in this classic true tale of the daring abduction of a German general by British commandos. When not dodging Nazi patrols or Cretan Communists, Moss kept a dangerously accurate, remarkably literate journal describing in detail the English special ops agents, the partisans they enlisted, and the plan they executed. The book that resulted, Ill Met by Moonlight (1950), was denied publication for several years on the grounds that t ...more
Sherwood Smith
My travel book (in my bag for when I had to stand in lines or wait in waiting rooms) finally finished yesterday. It's based on the diary by W. Stanley Moss, confined to a commando operation by the British late in the war. The goal (which began half as a joke, according to Moss) was to capture the German commander, General Kreipe--who was, unfortunately, new to his position, the previous commander, Mueller, being a real nasty piece of work.

Because there was a great deal of travel at night and hid
...more
Conrad
What is so remarkable about this adventure in war-time Crete to abduct a German general, carried out by a couple of daring Englishmen (W.Stanley Moss and Patrick Leigh Fermor) is that Stanley Moss wrote it as it was happening. It is pretty much his diary (with a few post-script notes added here and there). It seems they had a grand old time all in all - certainly there was danger but that seemed to just add spice to it for them. The funniest part was when they got to the beach and, to signal the ...more
Katy
This is a marvelous book - a memoir of World War II in which a few audacious Brits devise a scheme to kidnap the Nazi general in command on the island of Crete. How they bring it off and actually successfully spirit the general to Cairo is quite a tale. They never could have succeeded without the help of many partisans who acted as guides and brought them food as they traveled. With Nazi soldiers scouring the island, the little band could move only at night using hidden goat trails and sleeping ...more
Mark Fallon
Another amazing tale of a secret mission pulled off by British soldiers during World War II. Based on his diaries, W. Stanley Moss shares the tale of how he, Patrick Leigh Fermor and a band of andarte (guerillas), kidnap a German general on the island of Crete. Plans go awry, and they must avoid German patrols for almost 3 weeks before they can spirit the general off the island.

I was moved by the spirit of the locals on Crete, and how they would risk the brutal backlash from the Germans when the
...more
Raymond
British commandos sneak ashore on German-held Crete (WWII), capture a German general and, after running and hiding through nearly a month, bring their prisoner to Cairo. True story. Great story. Like much else that is coming into print these days, this book needs editing. Beginning with the title. Wadda ya mean, "Ill Met By Moonlight?"

We never learn why the British want the general. He is a division commander, not the Nazi commander of Crete. He is not notorious, never charged with war crimes.

T
...more
Alison
Aug 07, 2007 Alison added it
British soldiers William Stanley Moss and Patrick Leigh-Fermor worked with the Cretan resistance to kidnap the Nazi commander of Crete, General Kreipe, on the road to his villa. They stopped his car and assaulted his driver, then stuffed Kreipe in the back seat and impersonated him and his driver through twenty-four German checkpoints. Abandoning the car, they transported the General by foot and by mule over Mount Ida to the south coast of Crete, whence he was taken to Egypt by submarine. The tr ...more
Relstuart
A fairly straightforward narrative of how a couple British SOE agents with the help of Cretan natives captured a German general from the island during the midst of the war while the island was completely under German occupation. The books is actually the diary of Moss written while the events were happening. They ended up spending a lot of time hiding in caves in the mountains giving him the time to record their exploits.

The Folio Society edition is really beautifully done. And, my copy actuall
...more
Colin
A cracking story of a true jape - the capture of a German general in WW2. I read it in a couple of days; quite gripping.
John
This is an interesting but not terribly exciting book. Moss, Fermor, a couple Russian escapees and a group of Cretan guerrilla fighters kidnap a German general and ship him off to Egypt. They spend a lot of their time hiking, hiding, trying to keep warm and looking for food. The book really shows how the guerrilla network operated on Crete, and the lives of the locals. Other than the actual kidnapping and passing through road blocks they never seemed in immanent danger which is unbelievable beca ...more
Brendan Hodge
I picked this up because it include Patrick Leigh Fermor as a character -- this being the story of the kidnapping of the German commander of Crete by British special forces in which Fermor was a leader. It's a readable account, close to the action, based very closely on the diary written at the time by Fermor's second in command on the mission. This is neither an earthshaking nor a brilliant book, but it is enjoyable as a quick read of an exciting wartime exploit.
Chris Allen
Eminently readable, this took me roughly 3 sessions... Fascinating too, to hear the tale told from the first hand.

However, my 'only' 4 stars is due to the fact that because it is written in daily retrospect, you don't get the 'thrill' of being right there with the guys as the accomplish their mission - I suppose too much Desmond Bagley as a kid made me too demanding!

Recommended for those who like WWII tales with realism!
Mike
Aug 28, 2007 Mike rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Hugh McCullough, Colin Lohse
The memoirs of a British special operations officer in WWII-era Crete, this books details a mission by the author and his colleague, Patrick Leigh-Fermor, wherein they kidnapped the German staff officer in charge of the island's occupation. One of the better first-person military narratives that I've come across, written with typically British, cheeky stylings.
Sue
I read this after spending a week on the island of Crete and learning a little about what happened there during WWII. This is an interesting story, but if I hadn't been to Crete I wouldn't have really enjoyed it on its literary merits. If you ever plan to travel to Crete, this might be reading while on a bus tour or ferry ride. Otherwise I'd skip it.
Judy
WWII -an account of the successful operation carried out by Patrick Leigh Fermor, the author and members of the Cretan Resistance to capture the general in command of the German forces in Crete. Audacious and heroic with heart-warming moments. Enormous maturity shown by young men - but that's the way they were then.
Nik Morton
What's amazing about this book is that Moss wrote it while it was happening - against the rules. These were all brave men fighting awful tyranny and shouldn't be forgotten. (I watched the film after reading the book and found the film relatively true to the events described).
Sara
The particular covert action was less compelling than I expected, but I very much enjoyed the author's voice and his look at life on occupied Crete, and the amazing support of the local civilians.
Sally
Great book detailing kidnapping of German General Kreipe on Crete during WWII. The book is the actual diary of Stanley Moss who worked with Patrick Leigh Fermor to kidnap the General.
Josh
Great story. Told as it happened through one guy's diary written at the real time. And features the legendary man of letters/man of action Paddy Fermor.
Craig Herbertson
The simplicity of the prose belies the immensity of the courage that these kind of operations required. Enthralling read
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