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3.9 out of 5 stars
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3.9 out of 5 stars
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on 25 July 2006
I'd had my eyes opened to the French Foreign Legion a couple of years ago, and bought the seminal "Legionnaire" by Simon Murray along with a couple of later accounts of life in 2e REP (the elite 2nd Foreign Parachute Regiment). Reference was made in all works to battles at Dien Bien Phu in Vietnam, the village of Camaron in Mexico in the 19th Century (celebration of which is the Legion's big day, Camerone), Algeria and the disbanding of 1e REP in shame.

I wanted to get more background to these less-well-known stories: this book provided it. Douglas Boyd has made good use of Legion archives to create an informative, yet easily-readable book describing these events and much more. (That said, sadly Mr Murray's account of the disbandment of 1e REP was used as the main - and apparently the only - source of information on that subject.)

I don't think it will be too long before this book comes back out for another read. Excellent.
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on 12 March 2013
I ordered this by mistake when I was looking at the songs and marches of the Legion, took a brief glimpse inside before returning it, then was hooked. I knew a little about the history of the Legion, but had no idea of what was demanded of their courage and endurance, so often as victims of officers not up to the mark, themselves victims of politicians (not up to the mark?). The story of their muddled formation and their tremendous courage at Dien Bien Phu alone are worth the price, and it is packed with telling little human details, for example the argumentative Jewish East Europeans who enrolled at the beginning of WW2 and who, when given orders, would ask why? Then he gives a harrowing account of the brutality of the Algerian crisis. In short, this is a very BIG and utterly absorbing for anyone interested in military history,and social and political history. I am a grandmother and read it rather emotionally. I lost some of the military details but managed to forgive myself. Needs to be read in instalments which in itself is a pleasure.
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on 17 June 2016
This book is just fact after fact, with no pause for discussion or sharing insights. For the bits I could manage to digest and reflect upon, I am left with a strong sense of brutality and criminality. Having mostly done a skim-read through the piles of facts, I have no urge to re-read slowly. It's a pity, as, in the few bits I was able to follow and be interested in, it's obvious that the author has a deep knowledge of his material. Maybe not an affection for it and that's the problem.
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on 4 March 2016
It's no wonder the Legion are proud of themselves; they've survived the most awful battles in France's overseas troublespots and regular despoiling of their honourable name.Throughout their history they've done their duty to the utmost while being dumped on by French politicians of every shade and era. After reading this excellent account, I wonder how they - like so many politicians - can lie straight in bed.
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on 17 February 2015
From Algeria to Vietnam, taking in both World Wars, this is a history of the French Foreign Legion – a name known to many, but most don’t know more than the cartoon stereotype. The Legion has seen action in many places, often being asked to take on the “dirty work” of the French army. There are many personal biographies and histories of legionnaires, but this book combines military history with anecdotal stories.
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on 28 November 2011
a very interesting and engaging book on a subject i new very little about it has me buying more books on the legion to gain more insight into this fascinating subject i have read lots on miltitry history but no books specificley on the foreign legion i will give this book 10 out of 10
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on 15 January 2015
More a list of battles than an in depth look - preferred Legionnaire
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on 13 January 2016
A very thorough and detailed book that pulls no punches and yet still honours these remarkable men who fought to the last man. Not for county but for their brother's. And the legion.
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on 3 February 2016
eye opening brutal history. admire the courage of the soldiers'. like all the european imperialists france can hang it's head in shame.
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on 30 May 2016
great book
great condition
i'm very happy all round
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