Diary of a Legionnaire. My Life in the French Foreign Legion
Diary of a Legionnaire, written by Gareth Carins is the author’s first hand account of joining the infamous French Foreign Legion.
Gareth, who after University worked as a trainee Quantity Surveyor was not exactly thrilled at the thought of spending the rest of his life either sitting in morning traffic or calculating how much concrete to pour for a set of steps, wanted to do something a bit more exciting with his life. He already had experience as a soldier in the Territorial Army, but the Legion was always in the back of his mind ever since he was young.
Gareth goes through, in detail, his experiences of what life is like (or was like in the mid 90’s) for a fresh faced recruit upon joining the Legion. The long days Legionnaires have to endure, the insufficient food rations, the almost non existent sleep, the beatings, how fellow colleagues often deserted or tried to… and much more.
It is an exciting read, and one that you just don’t want to put down. The way the author tells the story, it’s like you are there right with him experiencing the mostly hard times and on occasion good times.
When a person signs up, and gets accepted as a Legionnaire, the minimum contract is five years. Gareth goes into detail about his experience yes, but only for the first one and half years. The end of the book seems rushed and just turns into a summary of what he was up to for the remainder of his service.
Overall it’s an entertaining read, one that gives you a glimpse into how one of the most respected armies in the world bring together people from all nationalities and backgrounds to form an elite and close unit.