The French Foreign Legion is the most famous fighting force in the world. While other armies possess regiments or units with distinguished and well-known histories none has been able to match the global reach of the Legion. And none has been able to surround itself with such an aura of legend and mystery.
This book tells the story of the Legion using first-hand accounts from the men who have fought in its ranks. Considering both social and military aspects, Voices of the Legion ranges from the conquest of colonies in Africa and the Far East, through the horrors of the two world wars to the savage but ultimately hopeless battles to maintain France’s imperial possessions. It also takes the narrative to the present, with stories and anecdotes from foreign legionnaires who continue to fight for French interests around the world.
Key themes include recruitment (how the Legion selects its soldiers and why they seek a life of hardship and danger), discipline (the Legion’s traditionally ‘robust’ training regime) and desertion (why this is a perennial problem; what makes men desert and whether they succeed or not). Voices of the Legion will also evaluate the Legion’s military achievement: how well it has fared in France’s many wars since 1831 and the degree to which its international reputation is justified.
Adrian Gilbert has written several books on military history, most notably on the First and Second World Wars and sharpshooting. His most recent book, POW: Allied Prisoners in Europe 1939-1945, was published by John Murray in October 2006 and was acclaimed by The Sunday Times as one of its books of the year .Adrian Gilbert is also an authority on combat sniping. His best-selling works on the subject include Sniper and Stalk and Kill, published on both sides of the Atlantic. Some of his other books include The Imperial War Museum Book of the Desert War, published in 1992 to coincide with the...
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