By Barry Unsworth
(National Geographic, Paperback, 9780792255581, 192pp.)
Publication Date: January 16, 2007
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"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 laws, as well as the home of 15 mountain ranges and the longest gorge in Europe, this land is indisputably unique. And since ancient times, its inhabitants have maintained an astonishing tenacity and sense of national identity, even as they suffered conquest and occupation by Romans, Byzantines, Arabs, Venetians, Ottoman Turks, and Germans.
Throughout this evocative book, now in trade paper, Unsworth describes the incredible physical and cultural proportions of the islandin history, myth, and reality. Moving and artful, Crete gives readers a comprehensive picture and rich understanding of this complexand indeed, almost magicalworld of Mediterranean wonders.
With the same keen eye and clear, eloquent prose that distinguishes his acclaimed historical novels, Barry Unsworth delivers his readers a two-fold traveler's reward, at once a wonderfully detailed panorama of Crete's many layers of history and an evocative portrait of an island almost literally larger than life.
Barry Unsworth won the Booker Prize in 1992 for Sacred Hunger; his next novel, Morality Play was a Booker nominee and a bestseller in both the U.S. and Great Britain. His other books include Pascali's Island, which was made into a feature film, and Losing Nelson, a Publishers Weekly Best Book and New York Times Notable Book of the Year. Unsworth lives in Umbria with his wife and was recently a visiting professor at Kenyon College in Ohio.