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The French Foreign Legion: A Complete History of the Legendary Fighting Force
The French Foreign Legion is a complete, captivating study of the famed fighting force, from its inception in 1831 to modern times. Historian Douglas Porch chronicles the Legion’s involvement in Spain, Mexico, Indochina, Madagascar, WWI, Vietnam, and Algiers (to name a few) and delves into the inner workings of legionnaires and their captains. Known for draconian disciplin ...more
Paperback, 784 pages
Published June 23rd 1992 by Harper Perennial
(first published June 1991)
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Possibly the best history of the French Foreign Legion ever written. It is neither a glorification of the Legion's exploits, nor is it a condemnation of its shortfalls. It is an evenhanded treatment of the Legion's accomplishments, failures, traditions and its unique style of producing fighting men, who fight not for France, but for the Legion. Porch's writing style is eminently readable and not in the least dry... as many military historians can be.
The book is an excellent history of the Legion from its beginnings to just before the first Gulf War. the Legion has been one the best fighting forces in history. Also one the most devastated from Mexico to Bir Hakeem to Dien Bien Phu. The book did temper the romanticism I held the Legion, but all in all a Good read for those interested in the subject.
An exhaustive (and sometimes exhausting) history of that legendary offshoot of France's military establishment. As befitting a book which clocks in at 744 pages, Porch covers every angle of the Legion's establishment, growth, mid-life crises and decline and never hides the glories and hells through which it and the polyglot group of many nationalities that comprise it lived and fought. He doesn't shirk from praise and certainly not from laying blame for failures both on the incompetence of comma ...more
Porch presents an academic study of the French Foreign Legion which is comprised of foreigners serving in France's military. While fairly comprehensive, drawbacks includes the extensive use of French terms and a tendency to use large words. The historic facts are informative though the work is a difficult read for the average person.
Well written, deeply researched history of the famous fighting force. Chapters covering the Legion's early exploits in the 1830s and 1840s were a bit slow, but the pace picked up as the narrative moved into the 20th century. The final part of the book, covering the Legion's exploits in Indochina and Algeria, was actually the most interesting. Recommended for serious readers of history.
Douglas Porch is an American historian, academic and a Professor and former Chair of the Department of National Security Affairs for the Naval Postgraduate School at Monterey, California. He obtained his Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of the South, Sewanee, Tennessee in 1967 and a Ph. D. from Cambridge University in 1972. He has been a professor of strategy at the Naval War College, a ...more