Laurie Lee

Laurence Edward Alan "Laurie" Lee, MBE was an English poet, novelist and screenwriter, who was brought up in the village of Slad and went to the Central Boys' School, Stroud, Gloucestershire. His most famous work was an autobiographical trilogy which consisted of Cider with Rosie, As I Walked Out One Midsummer Morning and A Moment of War. The first volume recounts his childhood in the Slad Valley. The second deals with his leaving home for London and his first visit to Spain in 1935, and the third with his return to Spain in December 1937 to join the Republican International Brigades.
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The second volume in Laurie Lee’s acclaimed autobiographical trilogy, an unforgettable glimpse of Spain on the eve of its civil war.

On a bright Sunday morning in June 1934, Laurie Lee left the village home so lovingly portrayed in his bestselling memoir, Cider with Rosie. His plan was to walk the hundred miles from Slad to London, with a detour of an extra hundred miles to see the sea for the first time. He was nineteen years old and brought with him only what he could carry on his back: a tent, a change of clothes, his violin, a tin of biscuits, and some cheese. He spent the first night in a ditch, wide awake and soaking wet.

From those unlikely beginnings, Laurie Lee fashioned not just the adventure of a lifetime, but one of the finest travel narratives of the twentieth century. As I Walked Out One Midsummer Morning, written more than thirty years after the events it describes, is an elegant and irresistibly charming portrait of life on the road—first in England, where the familiar landscapes and people somehow made Lee feel far from home, and then in Spain, whose utter foreignness afforded a new kind of comfort.

In that brief period of peace, a young man was free to go wherever he wanted to in Europe. Lee picked Spain because he knew enough Spanish to ask for a glass of water. What he did not know, and what would become clear only after a year spent tramping across the beautiful and rugged countryside—from the Galician port city of Vigo, over the Sierra de Guadarrama and into Madrid, and along the Costa del Sol—was that the Spanish Republic would soon need idealistic young men like Lee as badly as he needed it.
This international-bestselling memoir of childhood in post–World War I rural England is one of the most endearing portraits of youth in all literature.

Three years old and wrapped in a Union Jack to protect him from the sun, Laurie Lee arrived in the village of Slad in the final summer of the First World War. The cottage his mother had rented for three and sixpence a week had neither running water nor electricity, but it was surrounded by a lovely half-acre garden and, most importantly, it was big enough for the seven children in her care. It was here, in a verdant valley tucked into the rolling hills of the Cotswolds, that Laurie Lee learned to look at life with a painter’s eye and a poet’s heart—qualities of vision that, decades later, would make him one of England’s most cherished authors.

In this vivid recollection of a magical time and place, water falls from the scullery pump “sparkling like liquid sky.” Autumn is more than a season—it is a land eternally aflame, like Moses’s burning bush. Every midnight, on a forlorn stretch of heath, a phantom carriage reenacts its final, wild ride. And, best of all, the first secret sip of cider, “juice of those valleys and of that time,” leads to a boy’s first kiss, “so dry and shy, it was like two leaves colliding in air.”

An instant classic when it was first published in 1959, Cider with Rosie is one of the most endearing and evocative portraits of youth in all of literature. The first installment in an autobiographical trilogy that includes As I Walked Out One Midsummer Morning and A Moment of War, it is also a heartfelt and lyrical ode to England, and to a way of life that may belong to the past, but will never be forgotten. 
A young man’s journey—from the international bestselling account of his idyllic childhood in rural England to “a poetic memoir” of the Spanish Civil War (The Washington Post).
 
In his acclaimed autobiographical trilogy, “one of the great writers of the twentieth century” presents a vivid portrait of coming of age in Europe between the wars (The Independent). Beginning with the international bestselling, lyrical memoir of his childhood in the Cotswolds, Laurie Lee follows up with a fascinating travel narrative of crossing England and Spain on foot, and brings the story to a climax with a gripping chronicle of his part in the Spanish Civil War.
 
Cider with Rosie:
International Bestseller
Three years old and wrapped in a Union Jack to protect him from the sun, Laurie Lee arrived in the village of Slad in the final summer of the First World War. The cottage his mother had rented had neither running water nor electricity, but it was surrounded by a lovely half-acre garden and big enough for the seven children in her care. In this verdant valley tucked into the rolling hills of the Cotswolds, Lee learned to look at life with a painter’s eye and a poet’s heart—qualities of vision that, decades later, would make him one of England’s most cherished authors.
 
“A remarkable book . . . dazzling.” —The New York Times
 
As I Walked Out One Midsummer Morning: At age nineteen, Lee set out to walk the hundred miles from Slad to London, carrying only a change of clothes, his violin, a tent, a tin of biscuits, and some cheese. With a detour of an extra hundred miles to see the sea for the first time, Lee hopped a ferry to Spain because he knew enough Spanish to ask for a glass of water, and wandered the country for a year on foot. In one of the finest travel narratives of the twentieth century, Lee offers an unforgettable portrait of Spain on the eve of its civil war.
 
“The vivid, sensitive, irresistibly readable story of what happened after [Lee] left home.” —The Daily Mail
 
A Moment of War: Returning to a divided Spain in the bitter December of 1937 by crossing the Pyrenees from France, the idealistic young Lee came face to face with the reality of war, in this New York Times Notable Book. The International Brigade he sought to join was far from the gallant fighting force he’d envisioned but instead a collection of misfits without proper leadership or purpose. In a sudden confrontation with the enemy, he was left feeling anything but heroic. Captured more than once as a spy, Lee was lucky to escape with his life.
 
“Written with brilliant economy and belongs to the remarkable literature which the Spanish Civil War inspired.” —The Independent
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