Laurie Lee, As I Walked Out One Midsummer Morning
When Laurie Lee set out on foot from his home in the Gloucestershire village of Slad one midsummer morning in 1935 he was 19 and off to see the world with only his violin for company. So began a year of wandering that eventually took him from the north to the south of Spain, a country in which life had barely changed since the Middle Ages but which was now on the brink of a bitter civil war. The adventure that began as a romantic dream ended somewhat ignominiously, but it inspired Lee to produce this brilliant and darkly haunting account of a vanished Spain, and return to fight on the Republican side not long after.
Eric Newby, Love and War in the Apennines
In the winter of 1943 young Eric Newby, later to become known for his jaunty accounts of his adventurous travels, was facing probably the hardest test of his life. Captured by the Germans while on a secret mission to bomb a German air field and incarcerated in Northern Italy, he had escaped and was on the run in the Apennine mountains. During those long months on the run he was fed and sheltered by poor peasant farmers who risked torture and execution to help him. His life was also saved by the cool head and steadfast character of a Slovene girl called Wanda, and as well as describing a spine-tingling escape, this book is the beginning of a love story that lasted the rest of Newby’s life. After the war he returned to Italy to find her, and as he tells us in his hilarious sequel Something Wholesale (SFE No. 41), against all the odds, reader, she married him.
A Romantic Escape
Love and War in the Apennines is a book of romantic escape, overseen by the suffering of war, which shows how it ripples out across society and into fragile human lives.Read more
Before the Slaughter
How much we miss movement in our suddenly still, stay-at-home pandemic era. Gone the footloose and fancy-free travel of our rose tinted imaginations, replaced by domestic gloom, pessimistic prospects...Read more