Mouthful of Rocks: Modern Adventures in the French Foreign Legion

Christian Jennings, Author
Christian Jennings, Author Atlantic Monthly Press $18.95 (196p) ISBN 978-0-87113-340-3
Reviewed on: 10/01/1989
Release date: 10/01/1989
Jennings was a 22-year-old delivery boy in London when, in 1984, he joined the legendary Legion. In an hypnotically bland narrative style, he recalls the training, the vicious routine beatings, the boozing and whoring during off-duty hours--and the scathing xenophobic views freely expressed by the various nationalities he soldiered with. Posted to the African Republic of Djibouti, Jennings was mercilessly bullied by his immediate superior, a Spanish corporal, and went over the hill. Captured by bounty hunters while wandering across the desert, he found life in jail preferable to active duty in the 2nd Parachute Regiment. Given a second chance, he accompanied the regiment to France on field maneuvers and took advantage of another opportunity to desert. Successful this time, he was subsequently arrested on forgery charges and served a nine-month sentence. There's nothing self-serving about this memoir: again and again its author casually reveals himself to have been a liar, thief and sexual vulture. The absence of value judgment in his book plus a natural writing talent render it hard to put down. Jennings now works in publishing in London. (Oct.)
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