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Ill Met by Moonlight

3.92  ·  Rating details ·  285 Ratings  ·  48 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 January 1st 1950)
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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
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: biography, war, diaries
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
It's a good straight-forward read. Although the outcome is known, the writer has the skill to bring up the pulse.
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
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
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
May 22, 2017 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Benji Schama
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
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.
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: ww2, 1940s, war
"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
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
Jul 13, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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
Aug 18, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Mark Fallon
Aug 24, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Feb 07, 2011 rated it liked it
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.

Oct 11, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: memoir, history, adventure
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
Aug 07, 2007 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
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
Aug 13, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: biography, history, e-book
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
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
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Ivan William Stanley "Billy" Moss 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.
More about W. Stanley Moss...