Corfu: The Garden Isle.
Spyro L. Flamburiari. John Murray. London. 2008. Second. 309. Profusely Illustrated. Hardback, dust jacket. As New.
Corfu, unlike the rest of Greece, never fell under the Ottoman yoke despite vigorous attempts to conquer it. Over the centuries, under the successive dominations of the Venetians, the French and the British it has been more a part of the Western than the Levantine world and this gives it its unique quality. Edited by Frank Giles, with chapters by British and Greek contributors - including Gerald Durrell, John Julius Norwich and Andrew Sinclair - Corfu offers an all-embracing account of the island's rich history, its architecture, country estates, music, social customs, people and the flora and fauna. Cricket, the legacy left behind by the British in the 19th century, is naturally well covered as is Edward Lear, whose paintings of Corfiot landscapes and whose letters describing his visits provide a vivid testimonial to Corfu's attraction. The photographs in colour throughout are the work of two of the photographers: Fritz von der Schulenburg (whose 18th century ancestor, a mercenary general in the employ of the Venetian Republic, repelled an assault on Corfu by the Ottoman Turks) and Christopher Simon Sykes. Working together they have covered every aspect of the island. The result is a pictorial record of a place to which mainland Greeks and foreigners alike feel a compelling urge to return.