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3.3 of 5 stars 3.30  ·  rating details  ·  56 ratings  ·  11 reviews
"His keen understanding of history and legend...illuminate[s] his visits." —Publishers Weekly

"A vivid picture of the island." —Associated Press

"It is hard to think of anywhere on earth where so many firsts and mosts are crammed into a space so small," Barry Unsworth writes of the isle of Crete. Birthplace of the Greek god Zeus, the Greek alphabet, and the first Greek law
Paperback, 192 pages
Published January 16th 2007 by National Geographic (first published February 1st 2004)
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Because in all likelihood I'm never going to visit Crete, I felt compelled to at least armchair travel there. The book was just the ticket. Brief (but then again it's a fairly small island) and vivid travelogue through the place where if you believe your mythology Europe began when Europa gave in to Zeus's advances. This was part of a literary travel series and indeed read like literature, so it was somewhat less humorous and more serious than the regular travel book fare, but managed quite nice ...more
This is an odd and rather pleasant little book, the account of a springtime visit to Crete around 1993. As I was reading it, I could not shake the feeling that it was written forty or fifty years ago, probably because the black and white photographs looked as if they dated from the 1950s. Barry and wife Aira's trip proceeds from west to east, mostly along the north coast of Crete, with occasional forays inland and to the south. Even in the early 1990s, tourism was growing faster than the infrast ...more
Never been to Crete, but now I want to.

Unsworth provides almost a diary-like small book covering his visit to Crete in 1993, his observations on the old and new way of lives, his respect for the history of the Island and his enjoyment of the simple things.
Mike Mills
This made me yearn to go back to Crete. I wanted to buy a plane ticket after reading the first five pages. I have visited and walked on some of the paths that were described in this book; The beautiful and Venetian inspired city of Chania, the Samaritan gorge, the ruins of some of the churches and places of worship, the beautiful secluded beaches, and the mythological stories and the places that they occurred in. Crete has its hands full in the birth of civilization. So much history that shaped ...more
I didn't learn much more than I already knew about Crete. But it was nice to remember what we so much loved about Crete from our trip a year ago. Unsworth kept our dreams alive. I was a bit disapppointed that the photographs were in black and white, seeing as it is a National Georgraphic publication, which is capable of such exquisite photographs. This book made me want to read some of Unsworth's other books.
Matt Brant
Kind of a bland writing style from a very serious writer, but short and interesting enough for people into places and people of the Med.
I read this during our vacation to Crete. His observations are spot on, his descriptions enlightening.
Jeremy Burtt
A meandering yet pleasant tale. Decent blend of history and observation...
I do want to go to Crete, but this book, despite its brevity, felt like a slog.
A little flowery, a little wordy, a little low on facts.
Interesting, especially since I was walking in Crete.
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Barry Unsworth was born in 1930 in a mining village in Durham, and he attended Stockton-on-Tees Grammar School and Manchester University, B.A., 1951.

From 1951-53, in the British Army, Royal Corps of Signals, he served and became second lieutenant.

A teacher and a novelist, Unsworth worked as a lecturer in English at Norwood Technical College, London, at University of Athens for the British Council
More about Barry Unsworth...
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