Our Friends Beneath the Sands: The Foreign Legion in France's Colonial Conquests 1870-1935Paperback
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- Publisher: Phoenix (an Imprint of The Orion Publishing Group Ltd )
- Format: Paperback | 784 pages
- Dimensions: 152mm x 232mm x 50mm | 1,039g
- Publication date: 7 February 2012
- Publication City/Country: London
- ISBN 10: 0753828561
- ISBN 13: 9780753828564
- Edition statement: Reprint
- Sales rank: 183,793
Ever since the 1920s the popular legend of the French Foreign Legion has been formed by P.C. Wren's novel BEAU GESTE - a world of remote forts, warrior tribes, and desperate men of all nationalities enlisting under pseudonyms to fight and die under the desert sun. As with all cliches, the reality is far richer and more surprising than this. In this book Martin Windrow describes desert battles and famous last stands in gripping detail - but he also shows exactly what the Foreign Legion were doing in North Africa in the first place. He explains how French colonial methods there actually had their roots in the jungles of Vietnam, and how the political pressures that kept the empire expanding can be traced to battles on the streets of Paris itself. His description of the Berber tribesmen of Morocco also reveals some disturbing modern parallels: the formidable guerrillas of the 1920s were inspired by an Islamic fundamentalist who was adept at using the world's media to further his cause. Martin Windrow's previous book THE LAST VALLEY received fabulous reviews across the English-speaking world. This unique book, which is the first to examine the 'golden age' of the Foreign Legion has followed suit.
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Born in 1944 and educated at Wellington College, Martin Windrow is an Associate of the Royal Historical Society and a member of the Foreign Legion Association of Great Britain. He has worked in publishing since the mid-1960s as a commissioning editor and author.
'Exemplary...we get both the grim reality and the heart-pounding drama...a very exciting read.' -- Tim Newark FINANCIAL TIMES 'A detailed and fascinating trawl through the real history of this most romanticised of fighting forces.' CATHOLIC HERALD 'Proves that the reality which inspired the myths is every bit as captivating.' SUNDAY BUSINESS POST 'Brings a lost world alive ... a vivid and welcome piece of history writing' HISTORY TODAY