The French Foreign Legion is an extraordinary and unique army, specifically created for foreign nationals wishing to serve in the French Armed Forces, but commanded by French officers. For nearly two centuries adventure seekers or men on the run from all around the globe have found a home in the Foreign Legion and shed blood for France. Even today, the British are one of the largest foreign contingents in the world's longest standing mercenary army. In this book, author Douglas Boyd has been given unrivalled access to the Legion to tell its story from its inception in the 1830s, when it was primarily used to protect and expand the French colonial empire during the 19th century, but it has also fought in almost all French wars including the Franco-Prussian War and both World Wars. The Foreign Legion has remained an important part of the French Army, surviving three Republics, one empire, two World Wars, the rise and fall of mass conscript armies, the dismantling of the French colonial empire and the French loss of the legion's homeland, Algeria. The Legion is today known as an elite military unit whose training focuses not only on traditional military skills but also on its strong esprit de corps. As its men come from different countries with different cultures, this is a widely accepted solution to strengthen them enough to work as a team. Consequently, training is often described as not only physically challenging, but also extremely psychologically stressful. To give the reader a feeling of what it has been like to soldier in the Legion the author has distilled many personal experiences from his own interviews and the Legion's archives. His knowledge of French history and politics also enables him to place the Legion's activities in context - often what motivates the Legion is different from the mainstream politics of the French government. The object of romance and myth-making, Douglas Boyd lifts the veil of secrecy surrounding the Legion to portray its true story.
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Title: The French Foreign Legion
Author(s): Douglas Boyd
ISBN: 0-7509-3940-0 / 978-0-7509-3940-9 (UK edition)
Publisher: The History Press (Pod M/D)
Availability: Amazon UK
November 2015 : USA, Canada, UK Kindle edition