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4.8 out of 5 stars138
4.8 out of 5 stars
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on 7 July 2001
The book, written in the form of Murray's diary, takes you from the day he joins the Legion at 19 through the following five years in its ranks. Much of the time is spent in North Africa in the bloody Algerian war of independence. Murray does not shrink from describing the brutality of the Legion or of his comrades in arms. Yet this is much more than a blood and guts story of a fighting unit. This is an extraordinary story - well told. Murray is a remarkable man.
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on 14 March 2012
This is a fantastic book. I personally hate 'diary style' but this did not detract in the slightest from this story. It is a book which I could not detach from, spellbound, horrified, enthralled and delighted all in turn. The book is an insight into two eras of the Legion and it is told wonderfully but I found the personal Epilogue was at least equal to the book. If there is a problem with this book, it is trying not to read the whole damn thing in one sitting !
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on 8 June 2013
I bought this book after watching Bear Grylls attempt to hack life in the foreign legion and Mr Murray was one of the talking heads. I don't think I could have enjoyed this book more, although the book deals with the whole five years of Mr Murrays service it never drags, or loses pace.

It's a tale of trying to survive, and I never got the impression the author enjoyed the legion. Would recommend to anyone who has an interest.
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on 16 April 2013
I bought this book after seeing a film of this mans story on tv. I enjoyed reading about what he went through in the FFL in the 1960s and it made me realise that I would not have been able to do it nor do I think I would have wanted to do so as it came across as a rather sadistic training method although very effective and produced a sense of pride not in France but in the Legion itself
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on 22 September 2015
An enthralling account of scenes and experiences that are so far removed from most lives, this journal is a major eye-opener. After the shock of reading about the start of the journey and first boat trip the factual, no nonsense, descriptions took me into what at times seemed to be a parallel universe during training as well as combat, where eventually the extraordinary became normality.

I liked that the book was written in the style of a journal, converting the subject matter to a 'more readable' format or editorialising would, in my opinion, have lessened the impact.

My mind boggles at the brutality of the training procedures as well as the nature of some of the recruits; I wonder whether the brutality was solely of its time or continued into the 21st century, I suppose I'll find another book to research that.

I thought the book was about the right length and struck the right tone - not sensationalist but conveyed Mr Murray's values, not sentimental but described his emotions; in short, a concise, straightforward, rendition.
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on 5 January 2014
This has to be one of the best books around on life in the Foreign Legion, if one wants to learn about their life style then start with this book.
This book relates to the life of Simon Murray as a legionnaire during the Algeria conflict. It gives a gritty real life account of the Legion and the type of men who join this organisation.
Read and enjoy!
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on 25 March 2015
If your thinking about joining read this first I think you will change your mind.Legionnaire murrays story is an almost unbelievable account of the hardships he endured a remarkable man and story I couldnt put down read it in a day and half fantastic as a young man I had dreamed of running away to the legion thank god it stayed a dream.
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on 26 February 2004
This is a brilliantly written piece of modern writing which gives an amazingly personal account of one man's experience with the infamous 'legion etrangere', dispelling some myths and exposing the truth in others. Simon Murray writes of arduous training and lethal combat with equal British third-party nonchalance, the true mark of a gentleman and an officer; yet he manages to keep the book exciting and strangely appealing...a must for all, even those for whom the legionnaires are a scary reminder of a violent past. Legionnaire, I salute you.
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on 11 March 2012
A brilliantly written story that confirms all the hardships that one has read in fiction. I can't imagine that it would be used in a enrolment programme. I cannot but admire his stoic acceptance of all the brutality he saw and endured andam amazed that he appears to have adapted so readily and well to 'normal' life
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on 12 March 2014
Read this book some years ago and loved it. bought Kindle and saw book on book site and decided to read again after ten plus years.. great read from start to finish . Anyone interested in military life and history should read this book its got action , pathos, and a humanitarian presence which touches home . T
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