March Or Die: France And The Foreign Legion by Tony GeraghtyA good overview of the military history of the Foreign Legion. Although the author includes vignettes about various legionnaires throughout the book, he does not focus on how the Legion drew on its recruits through the ages. He makes some overarching statements about what it represents, but does not inquire deeply about what the units membership think (or thought) of it as an organization.
Thats okay, ultimately, because thats not what this book is trying to do. Its a combination of the many engagements in which the Legion has found itself over the years. In that respect, its a brisk and memorable read.
Any single philosophy on the part of the author is more implied than it is explicitly stated. He seems to clearly believe that the core characteristic of the legionnaire is honor, while the core characteristic of French politics is dishonor. The legionnaires role is, in some part, to act honorably in dishonorable circumstances. He provides more than enough evidence of the Legion being on the wrong side of history, but goes perhaps a little too hard on painting legionnaires as amoral actors. It may work in broad brush strokes, but it does not jive with the individual characters he describes.
Anyway, my qualms really are on the margins of the work. I wanted to understand more about how the Legion came to be, what its done, and why it still exists. I feel like the book does a good job of making that much clear. Id recommend it to anyone who wants to find out the same.
MARCH OR DIE. Legionnaires and Bedouins. Final fight
March or Die
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