Legionnaire: Five Years in the French Foreign Legion

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Random House Publishing Group, Dec 18, 2007 - History - 368 pages
4 Reviews
“A pleasure to read and nearly impossible to put down.”
–Army Times

“Embodies an experience that many have enjoyed in fantasy–few in reality.”
–The Washington Post

The French Foreign Legion–mysterious, romantic, deadly–is filled with men of dubious character, and hardly the place for a proper Englishman just nineteen years of age. Yet in 1960, Simon Murray traveled alone to Paris, Marseilles, and ultimately Algeria to fulfill the toughest contract of his life: a five-year stint in the Legion. Along the way, he kept a diary.

Legionnaire is a compelling, firsthand account of Murray’s experience with this legendary band of soldiers. This gripping journal offers stark evidence that the Legion’s reputation for pushing men to their breaking points and beyond is well deserved. In the fierce, sun-baked North African desert, strong men cracked under brutal officers, merciless training methods, and barbarous punishments. Yet Murray survived, even thrived. For he shared one trait with these hard men from all nations and backgrounds: a determination never to surrender.

“The drama, excitement, and color of a good guts-and-glory thriller.”
–Dr. Henry Kissinger


From the Paperback edition.
 

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - Traveller1 - LibraryThing

Bought a copy and read many years ago. Well written and informative account of the FFL from the perspective of a new recruit. Clearly shows how the free-will and conscience of the men is suppressed ... Read full review

Great book.

User Review  - Arthur D. - Overstock.com

Always interesting following his diary. Very well written I feel as if I am in he Legion. Great book for airplane flights! Read full review

Contents

PART ONE Incubation
48
PART THREE The Regiment
79
PART FOUR Les C0ms
104
PART SIX Treason
140
PART SEVEN A Taste of Liberty
149
PART EIGHT Back to the Front
163
PART NINE Interlude
195
PART TEN The Pe01011
258
PART ELEVEN Rewards
288
PART TWELVE Le Dénouemenr
314
Epilogue
335
Appendix 345
344
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About the author (2007)

Simon Murray began his working life at eighteen in the British Merchant Navy when he signed on a tramp steamer bound for South America in 1958. He worked in the ship's galley peeling potatoes and swabbing the deck of the gallery floor. Eight months later, he returned to England and became an engineering apprentice in a factory in Northern England. Close to death from boredom, he ran away to join the French Foreign Legion in Algeria, preferring to risk death in the sunshine rather than in the grime of Manchester. Now a highly successful businessman, Murray has directed some of the largest international companies, including Sheraton and Hilton hotels and the Deutsche Bank Group.

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