Legion of the Lost: The True Experience of an American in the French Foreign Legion
Author Jaime Salazar
Country United States
Genre autobiographical novel
Publisher Berkley Books
August 2, 2005
Legion of the Lost is a autobiographical novel by American writer Jaime Salazar.Legion of the Lost was published in the United States by Berkley Books, an imprint of Penguin Group, on August 2nd, 2005. The novel is based on Salazar’s own experiences as an American in the French Foreign Legion.
Legion of the Lost tells the story of Jaime, a bored and self-described corporate cog. In a quest to seek solace from his corporate existence, he joined the French Foreign Legion, reputed to be the world’s toughest army. He experiences brutality, adventure, and an uncompromising camaraderie. This is the story of his life in the “Army of Strangers”. In a 2008 Note addition on the book’s website, Salazar puts into perspective his reckless weekend behavior, notably that with women, into the context of a typical young man’s military life. He claims not to condone such libertine, amorous behavior then or now. He also claims that some of the characters mentioned were morphed from multiple people. Salazar admits to describing a few incidents that were actually second hand accounts. He claims artistic license was taken for purposes of clarity and succinctness.
or….Legion of the Lost: The True Experience of an American in the French Foreign Legion. By Jaime Salazar.
Berkley/Caliber, 243 pp.
Jaime Salazar was munching a rubbery baguette in the Marseilles train station when past walked a lean, uniformed man sporting the kepi blanc. Everyone who’s seen Beau Geste knows the kepi blanc. It’s the funny-looking drum-shaped white cap that marks its wearer as a member of French Foreign Legion.
The fabled Legion had always fascinated Salazar, a young refugee from corporate America, footloose in Europe. He perked up and followed the man to nearby Aubagne, where the fighting force has its headquarters. He visited the Legion’s museum, gazing at regimental flags and other memorabilia on display. He peered down into the Crypte and read the names of the 903 Legion officers killed in action.
At a bistrot he struck up a conversation with a Canadian legionnaire.
I might like to join, Salazar said.
Think about it long and hard, the Canadian replied
also this ………………………
“The French Foreign Legion is still active today,despite its black-and-white 1930s film perception.
In the modern age of rights, laws, and national sovereignty, the French have clung on stubbornly
to the idea of a mercenary force. The Legion operatesas a highly disciplined and motivated army
of nearly every nationality in the world. Americans have traditionally composed a tiny contingent
of fighting men. In a force of roughly 8,000 men (women are still barred from serving),
Americans compose no more than a dozen volunteers.
However, some of the most legendary fightershave been American, from Cole Porter, to a number
of Harvard University romantics during the Great War.
“But the Legion continues its tradition of policing the most insalubrious parts of France’s former
colonies. For most of its existence since 1831, it had been based exclusively in Africa. Algeria
was its birth home. But after independence, then Legion packed up and relocated to France proper.
But rebellions, putsches and general chaos on the continent
has required the Legion to restore order on a nearly continual basis. The Legion has been a
restless, if not a somewhat dangerous force during peacetime, and fighting abroad has been de
rigueur. The Legion, thus, is very much at home battling insurgencies in the Sahel, their traditional
“The Legion plays an integral role as the sharp end of French foreign policy, a bulwark of foreign
volunteers who have no qualms being sent, as one famous general once said, ‘to a place where they
The introduction to the French Foreign Legion website includes this message: “Whatever your origins, nationality or religion might be, whatever qualifications you may or may not have, whatever your social or professional status might be,
whether you are married or single, the French Foreign Legion offers you a chance to start a new
According to the website, there are currently7,699 men enlisted: 413 officers, 1,741 noncommissioned
officers and 5,545 legionnaires divided into 11 regimental formations. The members come
from 136 countries. The initial term of service is five years, and volunteers may join either under
their real name or a different one. You can read more about the French Foreign
Legion at www.legion-recrute.com.