No military unit – not even the SAS – has been more glamourised, fictionalised, or been the subject of more myth-making than the French Foreign Legion. But despite the hype, quality first-hand accounts of life in the ranks of France’s cosmopolitan elite colonial force are relatively rare. This is one of the finest of that select group. It is the work of the adopted son of the famous Russian writer Maxim Gorki. Pechkoff served in the Legion during the Great War, and later in North Africa. He was on peacekeeping duties in Algeria, and fought in the Rif Wars of the 1920s against the forces of the great tribal guerilla leader Abd-el-Krim. This memoir is based on the author’s diaries, and was written while he was recovering from wounds in a hospital in the Moroccan capital, Rabat. Pechkoff gives vivid accounts of his rough, tough Legion comrades, and of fierce military action. He was one of a special ‘Group Mobile’ assigned to relieving Legion outposts besieged by the Rif rebels, and his accounts of the fighting pays tribute to the heroism of both sides. A first-class military memoir which gives the truth behind the romantic ‘Beau Geste’ image, this book has a foreword by the famous French writer Andre Maurois, a map of Morocco, the music for the legion’s anthem ‘Marche de la Legion Etrangere’, a frontispiece drawing of a Legionairre, and an appendix giving a brief history of the Legion from its foundation in 1831. A ‘must-have’ book for all lovers of the Legion and its literature, and for all students of desert and guerilla warfare.
Major Zinovi Pechkoff
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SB xiii+287pp. map ,2004 N&MP Reprint of 1927 Original Edition