'Abducting A General' and SOE in Crete.
Background to the publication of 'Abducting A General'
In 2011, and after we had walked the abduction route on two occasions, we were very pleased to be shown an unpublished draft of 'Abducting A General', Patrick Leigh Fermor's own account of the kidnap of General Kreipe. Two years later - in the spring of 2013 - Chris raised with Artemis Cooper our interest in enabling it to be published.
This conversation led to the first of our many visits to the PLF archive in the National Library of Scotland.
There we were able to identify 6 drafts of the text:
A handwritten first draft of the first half of the document. There was no evidence of the second half of the first draft.
A handwritten (by PLF) complete draft with no amendments - and presumably PLF's second draft of the manuscript.
Three identical copies of a typed version (c. 1967?). The first copy had no amendments to it; a second had PLF handwritten amendments c. 2003; the third had PLF handwritten amendments c. 2005.
A sixth copy that was printed from a Word document. This version was created c. 2006 when PLF gave the handwritten manuscript to an earlier walking party for typing up. It contained many typos, misspellings of names etc – but was essentially 99% identical to the three typed versions above. This also had a few PLF handwritten amendments to it.
Over a period of several months we were able to create a consistent document from these 5 drafts, ready for publication. We chose to honour the amendments to the text PLF had included in the versions above. We brought some consistency to the spelling of places and people. No sections of the text were edited out or amended.
After further discussions with John Murray we then edited PLF's SOE Reports - written from Crete in 1943 and 1944 - and offered contextual introductions to each of them. These were further edited and augmented by Dr Rod Bailey, who we had approached to write the Foreword.
Peter was the main organiser of the information on the maps at the beginning of the book, and together we organised the photos, dating them and drafting captions.
Finally we wrote the 'Walkers Guide to the Abduction Route'.
'Abducting A General' was published in September 2014. By April 2016 it had been translated into German, Spanish, French and Greek.