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‘Cretan Runner’: Yes, an insurgent’s tale, but surprisingly not a very interesting one

Someone awhile back recommended to me that if liked Patrick Leigh Fermor’s work, I should look at 'The Cretan Runner,' an account by a young Cretan who fought alongside Fermor.

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Someone awhile back recommended to me that if liked Patrick Leigh Fermor’s work, I should look at The Cretan Runner, an account by a young Cretan who fought alongside Fermor.

I was interested because it is so rare to find accounts by insurgents fighting on their own turf — we usually get the story of the counterinsurgent (such as David Galula) or the foreigner working with the insurgents (e.g., Fermor).

I gotta say I was disappointed. It is a workmanlike book, but is more a diary than a narrative. Yes, most of what happens in war is boring, but that doesn’t mean the book should reflect that on many pages. I gave up about halfway, which is unusual for me to do.

Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons

Thomas E. Ricks covered the U.S. military from 1991 to 2008 for the Wall Street Journal and then the Washington Post. He can be reached at ricksblogcomment@gmail.com.

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