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Ill Met by Moonlight

3.94  ·  Rating details ·  367 ratings  ·  57 reviews
Ill Met By Moonlight is the gripping account of the audacious World War II abduction of a German general from the island of Crete. British special forces officers W. Stanley Moss and Patrick Leigh Fermor, together with a small band of Cretan partisans, kidnapped the general, then evaded numerous German checkpoints and patrols for nearly three weeks as they maneuvered acros ...more
Paperback, 196 pages
Published March 4th 2004 by Phoenix (first published 1950)
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3.94  · 
Rating details
 ·  367 ratings  ·  57 reviews

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Mar 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: storia, avventura
tutto il rapimento minuto per minuto
il tempo di guerra si divide tra brevi periodi di intensa paura e lunghi periodi di intensa noia.
Durante questi lunghi periodi di noia, nascosto con i compagni in una grotta, in un ovile, nella casa di qualche partigiano cretese, Moss scrisse un puntiglioso diario raccontando il leggendario rapimento del generale Kreipe, avvenuto sotto il naso dei tedeschi, da parte di due ufficiali inglesi con la collaborazione della resistenza dell'isola. E la seguente cacc
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
George K.
May 09, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
Έχουμε να κάνουμε με το ημερολόγιο του Γουίλιαμ Στάνλεϊ Μος, που έγραψε κατά την διάρκεια της επιχείρησης για την απαγωγή του Γερμανού στρατηγού Κράιπε στην Κρήτη, μέσα στην Άνοιξη του 1944. Ο Μος, ο Πάτρικ Λι Φέρμορ (που αναφέρεται ως Πάντι), δυο-τρεις άλλοι Βρετανοί αξιωματικοί, καθώς και πολλοί λεβέντες Κρητικοί αντάρτες, συμμετείχαν με τον έναν ή τον άλλο τρόπο στην πασίγνωστη αυτή απαγωγή. Στα αρχικά σχέδια ήταν να απαχθεί ο μέγας αλήτης Φρίντριχ-Βίλχελμ Μιούλερ, γνωστός και ως "Χασάπης της ...more
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.
Mar 13, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: diaries, biography, war
A surprisingly lighthearted story, less traditionally exciting than I'd expected (though of course I shouldn't have expected that, really) and handled softly.

The afterword by Patrick Leigh-Fermor addresses this lightness, writing that the book makes the event out to be more of a jape than it truly was, and giving fascinating context for the plan to abduct the General - the only retaliatory move possible that would not provoke further violence from the Germans after the surrender of Italy and the
Apr 27, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Bello, molto british, personaggi (WSM e PLF) quasi da leggenda. Dove si impara con immenso sconcerto che il generale tedesco catturato viene intrattenuto a cena dal generale di brigata britannico in una piacevole discussione sulla guerra in corso (IIWW) e sulla precedente (IWW).
It's a good straight-forward read. Although the outcome is known, the writer has the skill to bring up the pulse.
Continuing further my recent theme of reading about SOE (the Special Operations Executive), having finished reading The Cretan Runner by George Psychoundakis, a man who delivered messages for the British officers organising Cretan resistance to the German and Italian Occupation in Crete, 1941-1945 (highly recommended), I decided to re-read this book, Ill Met by Moonlight, which is the full story of one of their most important (and certainly most famous) missions: the capture/kidnapping of Genera ...more
Apr 08, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a very simple, workman-like and plain account of a daring British operation to abduct a German General from the occupied island of Crete.

I suppose what ruined it for me, was that one of the participants was Patrick Leigh Fermor. If you aren't familiar with Fermor, he was a formidable writer- and all I could think as I read this book, was how much better than Moss he would've told the tale. (I know that he has- but it was written late in his life, and lacks his usual vitality.) Having rea
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
Jun 04, 2015 rated it it was ok
Shelves: own
There are so many aspects to the war, different missions and operations outside of the trenches which are always interesting to read about. However, it was difficult to place this story, for a diary it was incredibly descriptive. I was often wondering how the author found the time to give such an in depth account.
Christopher Kanski
Aug 13, 2017 rated it it was ok
This account of a daring heroic Second World War escapade is as British as they come. From the good-natured observations about the Cretan people and their ways (a lot of these really cracked me up) to the never-faltering youthful British optimism of our author, it really is British through and through.

This is a lighthearted read, and although by nature of it being a diary written during a time of war and during an undercover operation it will provide for *some* musings about the human psyche wh
May 27, 2018 rated it really liked it
Summary in 3 Sentences: This is the first person account of one of the two British officers who led one of the most daring and successful allied commando operations in WWII – the kidnapping of Major General Kreipe who was in charge of the Army Division occupying Crete for Nazi Germany. The book is primarily the diary of 1st Lt W. Stanley “Billy” Moss, written during his time on Crete while he was preparing for, then conducting the operation, and the brief aftermath – providing a chronology and d ...more
Sep 15, 2016 rated it it was amazing
(FROM MY BLOG) With my visit to Crete looming in less that two weeks, I just completed a quick re-reading of W. Stanley Moss's 1950 memoir, Ill Met by Moonlight -- his blow by blow account of how he and Patrick Leigh Fermor, as members  of the British Special Operations Executive ("SOE"), successfully kidnapped the general in charge of the German occupation of Crete in 1944.

The "memoir" is more accurately the belated publication of Moss's actual day by day journal, written beautifully under the
Charles Sheard
Sep 25, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Written with a breezy élan, this work is at its most engaging when describing the Cretans themselves, and their culture and behavior. As a war story, it is intriguing in that it was entirely true to fact, and that it emphasizes the great periods of non-action and boredom which characterize war. That said, this true story also lacks much in the way of conflict. Essentially, it is 95% trekking through the mountains, hiding in caves and sheepfolds, drinking various liquors with friends (and honorab ...more
May 22, 2017 rated it liked it
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Jul 27, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Thrilling wartime story of a commando operation in Crete. The clearly told narrative avoids getting bogged down in too many details while still allowing the reader a notion of the spirit of the men on the ground, if perhaps idealized and more reserved in hindsight. My only complaint would be that I feel a new edition could use an expanded afterword to provide more strategic context for the operation and its consequences as well as information on the fates of the various persons we meet during th ...more
Apr 17, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: world-war-2
Between the immediacy of Moss's largely unreconstructed diary entries and frequent reference to Google Images, I was transported almost complete to wartime Crete, my own grandfather's WW2 stomping ground. By the time the book was done, I felt like I'd marched the trails with Moss and General Kreipe. This, I think, is the greatest praise I can offer this excellent true adventure story.
Stuart Hill
Oct 19, 2017 rated it really liked it
Written from the diary kept by W. Stanley Moss while carrying out this covert operation; this short novel furnishes the reader with a detailed account of a dangerous and difficult mission on the bucolic and rugged island of Crete in the 1940s.
Len Northfield
Jan 06, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2018-reads
A tremendously good wheeze, and so very British!
Nicholas Chainey
Enjoyable WW2 escapade, which despite the protestations of the author is *very* Boys Own stuff.

Very entertaining.
Jay Hennessey
Feb 12, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: man-books
I was first introduced to this story by author Christopher Mcdougall, in Natural Born Heroes - a great read.

The story was so intriguing, that I really wanted to learn more. Then about a year later, a close friend recommended this book as the follow on to Natural Born Hero — I was not disappointed.

As a former military guy, I was impressed with the audacity, planning, GRIT and overall toughness of the operators. Combined with Natural Born Heroes, I was aware of the lack of selection and training o
Mar 13, 2017 added it
Excellent warstory
Marvin Goodman
Sep 18, 2014 rated it liked it
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
Jan 16, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 1940s, war, ww2
"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
Chris Pramas
Jul 01, 2012 rated it really liked it
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
Georgio Meloy
Apr 26, 2012 rated it it was amazing
"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
Feb 23, 2014 rated it really liked it
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
Chris Gager
Nov 21, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Mar 28, 2013 rated it really liked it
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
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Major Ivan William Stanley "Billy" Moss, MC was a British army officer in World War II, and later a successful writer, broadcaster, journalist and traveller. He served with the Coldstream Guards and the Special Operations Executive (SOE) and is best known for the Kidnap of General Kreipe. He was a best-selling author in the 1950s, based both on his novels and books about his wartime service.