Kevin Andrews (writer)

Kevin Andrews (writer)

For other people named Kevin Andrews, see that article.

Kevin Andrews (1924 – 1 September, 1989) was a philhellene, writer and archaeologist. He was born in Peking, China; second son of Roy Chapman Andrews, the American explorer, and Yvette Borup. Born a US citizen, he became a citizen of Greece in 1975. He was schooled in England, where he learnt classical Greek. He served for three years in World War II as a private in the US Army where he saw action in Italy. After graduating from Harvard in 1947 he entered for a travelling fellowship in Athens, his future life in Greece was decided by chance when he was successful, as he said the award ... was fortuitous since no one else applied for it, and is relevant only as the reason why I went to Greece in the first place.

Arrival in Greece

During the autumn of 1947 Andrews arrived at the American School of Classical Studies at Athens. It was a time of civil war, the rate of inflation was high and the Greek people were suffering extreme hardship. He was unfortunate and suffered from an obscure nervous disorder and spent much of his first winter in a miserable draughty room. Travel was severely restricted; a permit was needed to travel more than a few miles from Athens. It could also be dangerous, for a few days after the students had visited Mycenae an English journalist was kidnapped there; some travellers were unlucky, and a US reporter was captured in the mountains and his body was washed up soon afterwards near Salonika. After a disappointing stay in Greece Andrews was preparing to leave when he was offered a Fulbright Fellowship to stay and carry out a study of the castles and fortifications built by various invaders in the Peloponnese. This offered a field unresearched by others and the freedom to travel alone, and so he accepted with delight.

Traveller in the Peloponnese

Andrews spent the long summers of 1948 to 1951 travelling around the Peloponnese, the winters writing up in Athens. His journeys and the people he met are described vividly in the Flight of Ikaros (published 1959, 1969 and 1984); one of the great and lasting books about Greece. As this overlapped with the Greek Civil War and its aftermath, it was a time of mistrust, particularly of foreigners (and especially of one making plans and notes in the hills), but he soon gained the trust of country people on both sides of the conflict. He became friends with a shepherd in the Gerania (Γεράνεια) hills and become his child's koumbaros or member of the family and godfather. The fruit of his work Castles of the Morea was published in 1953 (republished in 2006).

He returned to the US only to feel an exile, after failing to get a job connected with US aid in Greece. Greece was in the process of reconstruction and the domestic politics were dominated by America, left wing politics was banned and many activists were shot or placed in camps.

Later writing

Back in Greece Kevin Andrews's next publication Athens was published in 1967. It was a counterblast against a westernized Greece which had been sanitized for the tourist. Protest had to be guarded and he waited until the departure of the Junta in 1974 before plain writing about political matters was possible. Writings in this period included an essay on Louis MacNeice and a lengthy autobiographical poem published in book form, called First Will and Testament. In 1975 he relinquished his US citizenship and became nationalized as a Greek. Athens Alive followed in 1980, it is a book of writings about Athens from Ovid in AD 7 to Cavafy and Hemingway in twentieth century.

In 1988 Andrews met and fell in love with Elizabeth Boleman-Herring in Athens. In the late summer of 1989 they traveled to Kythira (Κύθηρα), an island off the southern tip of the Peloponnese. On 1 September they walked to Cape Trachylos at the southern end of the island, Andrews started a swim to Avgo (Αυγό), a rocky island, the reputed birthplace of Aphrodite. He was drowned and his body recovered the next day.

Published work

  • Castles of the Morea, (1953), (Gennadeion Monograph 4), Princeton, NJ.
  • The Flight of Ikaros: a journey into Greece, (1959), London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson.
  • Athens, (1967), London: Phoenix House.
  • The Flight of Ikaros, (1969), Bath: Cedric Chivers Ltd.
  • (essay on Louis MacNeice).
  • First Will and Testament, (poem).
  • First Will and Testament, (1974), Athens: privately.
  • Athens Alive : The practical tourist’s companion to the fall of man, (1979), Athens: Hermes.
  • Greece in the Dark : 1967-1974, (1980), Amsterdam: Hakkert. ISBN 90-256-0785-3.
  • Byzantine Blues: A cradle-song for neodemocracy, (1980), unknown.
  • The Flight of Ikaros: travels in Greece during a civil war, (1984), Harmondsworth, Middlesex: Penguin Books. ISBN 0-14-009531-4.
  • Castles of the Morea, (2006), (Gennadius Monograph IV), Athens: American School of Classical Studies at Athens. ISBN 0-87661-406-3.



  • Andrews, Kevin, (1959), The Flight of Ikaros: a journey into Greece, London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson.
  • Leigh Fermor, Patrick, (1980), Interfering in Greece: review of Athens Alive London: Times Literary Supplement in Cooper, Artemis, ed., (2003), Words of Mercury, London: John Murray.

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