Top positive review
3 people found this helpful
Hard to put down
on 27 February 2014
"Fighting for the French Foreign Legion" is an autobiographical account that follows the author prior to joining up and through into retirement, detailing selection and training, as well as his various postings and deployments. That said you may think, considering the subject matter, that it will be a tough nut to crack, written by a gung-ho macho type, an impression which is not necessarily dispelled by its apt title and cover. However, the book works to dispel certain myths about the Legion while strongly reaffirming its reputation as an elite and dedicated fighting unit, where such qualities as professionalism, high standards, and above all, comradeship are valued highly - Once a Legion always a Legion.
By all account the author has had a colourful life, from illustrator, policeman and pilot, to Legionnaire, and his journey far removed from the typical escapism that you would expect of someone running off to join the Legion. Yet what makes this book even more interesting and valuable is the fact that Alex Lochrie was already pushing towards the enrolment age limit as it was
Written in a relaxed and readable manner Lochrie draws you into his story, giving an open and honest account of his life in the Legion, sharing the occasional candid opinion, in a career that spanned the 1980s and 1990s, and the Legion's activities in Operation Desert Storm and the Balkans.
The attractive cover gives you a fair impression of what you can expect of the book. It is a good length and set at an equally good pace, while its format is handy and light enough to be read in a comfortable armchair or out and about. The interesting image section serves also to reinforce the mental picture that Lochrie easily builds in your mind, comprising of photographs and beautiful illustrations, created by the author himself. My only niggle was that I'd have like to see more.
To sum up, for someone like myself who knew little of the French Foreign Legion, you will gain a real understanding into what the Legion is really about, from its organisation to where it is based. I found this book hard to put down and a pleasant surprise, certainly not what I was expecting.