Monday, May 19, 2014

Legio Patria Nostra


A couple of weeks ago I had a doctor's appointment.  This one particular doctor that I go to has a nearby attraction that I love to visit.  Half Price Books!  Despite the name and the reasonably price books, I can't seem to get out of there without spending $50!  Buying books is one my vices.  Normally people may not consider that a vice but when you live in a 900 square foot house and have around 1800 books it can get to be a problem.  Add to that the fact that I typically add around 80 books a year to the collection and you can see the issue.  

Anyway, I found this gem while browsing the history section.  Half Price Books is on my poo poo list because they have the Irish History books under the United Kingdom section.  They don't appreciate the fact that I point out to them that Ireland is a Republic and not part of the UK and that the English occupation of Northern Ireland is a remnant of imperialism.  While standing there trying to decide if I should mention that to them again, this book caught my eye.

I admit a certain fondness for the Foreign Legion.  They have been romanticized over the years by movies like Beau Geste and from having the likes of Alan Seeger in their ranks.  The fact that he did, in fact, have a rendezvous with death gets left out.  As a kid I always thought it would be fun to march through the desert with my kepi blanc singing Le Boudin.  But my life didn't work out that way in the end.

This is an excellent book that delves into their history from the beginnings right up to the present.  We often forget that units of the Foreign Legion serve all over the world.  They maintain a strong presence in sub Saharan Africa and prior to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, they soldiers of the Legion were perhaps the most combat seasoned troops in the world.  The book is really good and I think it is better than the one written by Douglas Porch though some may disagree.

So if you are looking for action and adventure without having to survive the Foreign Legion's rigorous selection and training process, pick up a copy of the book.  You won't regret it.

My name is Lee Hutch and I am a Half A$$ Historian who would rather read about marching through the desert wearing a kepi blanc than actually doing it.

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