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French Foreign Legion Hardcover – 10 Oct 1974

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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Good, Objective Summary of the French Foreign Legion 30 July 2000
By J. GENIO - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Books like Baeu Geste and A Mouth Full of Rocks have given the legion a horrible reputation. Thanks to these books, legionnaires are often viewed as sadistic criminals and blood thirsty maniacs. Take it from one who knows, this is the furthest thing from the truth.
Laffin's book, however, puts things into proper perspective. Unlike Chris Jenning's work, A Mouthful of Rocks; where he constantly criticizes everything the legion does, Laffin gets into the heart and soul of the Foreign Legion.
After reading Laffin's book, you will realize that the legion is a "grand military fraternity." Legionnaires learn songs because the legion's history is captured in these songs. One might say that these songs encompass the Legion's grand traditions, glorious past, and the catechism -- the "right stuff" -- the basic psyche -- of what a legionnaire really is.
Yes, a legionnaire is a fine soldier. But, he is also a humanitarian nation builder. Look at the work the Legion accomplished in places like Algeria (before the French government's hideous betrayal) -- fine roads, buildings, utility systems, etc. All made from legion sweat, blood, and strength.
Laffin's book also discusses the true, emotional meaning of Cammerone, and what it means to "Faire Cammerone." For those of you who do not know, The Battle of Cammerone is the Legions most glorious defeat. Suffice it to say, so glorious that volunteers sign their five year contracts with the legion in front of a picture depicting the battle of Cammerone (Mexico, 30 April, 1863).
Naturally, Laffin's book takes you through the legion's campaigns. You will marvel at their bravery and determination. You will also get totally disgusted how Charles de Gualle (je crache!) back-stabbed the legion after it helped de Gualle achieve power and prestige in France.
Laffin's book is totally objective. Besides the good, it also discusses "the bad" -- such as early forms of legion punishment: For example, "the silo" (made to "stand" in a cone-like hole for hours), "le crapaudine" (basically hog-tied, arms and legs tied together at your back) and others that are severe and rather harsh. To Laffin's credit, however, he points out the these methods of punishment were given to those who truly deserved it.
For a truly objective view of the Legion, its beliefs, philosophy, traditions, and customs; buy this book. It is short and lends itself well to easy reading. However, the information conatined between the front and back covers is priceless.
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