[EPUB] ✰ Os Centuriões By Jean Lartéguy – Thomashillier.co.uk

Os Centuriões This Is Jean Larteguy S Most Famous Book That Garnered International Acclaim And Sold Millions Of Copies It Was Also The Basis For The Movie, The Lost Command, Starring Anthony Quinn In His Autobiography, Larteguy Writes That He Got The Name Of The Book From When He Was Traveling With The Foreign Legion In The Sahara And Came Across An Old Roman Column At An Oasis Inscribed On The Column From 2000 Years Before Was Titus Caius Germanicus, Centurion Of The Xth Legion And Underneath It From A Recent Time, Friedrich Germanicus, Of The 1st R.E.P French Paratroop Regiment The Story Begins In May 1954 With The Defeat Of The French Army At Dien Bien Phu The Vietnamese Victors March Their French Prisoners Into Communist Re Education Camps During Their Time In Captivity, The French Paratroop Officers Who Survive The Ordeal To Be Repatriated, Bond Together And Try To Utilize Communist Revolutionary War Tactics In Order To Win Their Next War In Algeria The Book Ends With The French Centurions Fighting The Battle Of Algiers With Propaganda, Torture, Terror And Any Tactic In Order To Win So That The Last Remnants Of Their Empire Could Survive.


10 thoughts on “Os Centuriões

  1. says:

    How many times has the story recounted in this classic novel about war been writ in the history of mankind Ask our soldiers to find a way to save the nation and they do, only to be blamed for their actions in the end The thing about violence is that it destroys the actor and the acted upon There is no safe place.Penguin Classics has just reissued this title with a Foreword by Robert D Kaplan, revised from a 2007 article in The Atlantic called Rereading Vietnam In his Foreword, Kaplan brin How many times has the story recounted in this classic novel about war been writ in the history of mankind Ask our soldiers to find a way to save the nation and they do, only to be blamed for their actions in the end The thing about violence is that it destroys the actor and the acted upon There is no safe place.Penguin Classics has just reissued this title with a Foreword by Robert D Kaplan, revised from a 2007 article in The Atlantic called Rereading Vietnam In his Foreword, Kaplan brings Lart guy s work up to date, relating it to Iraq Inextreme and difficult situations like Iraq, cynics may actually serve a purpose Lart guy immortalizes such soldiers The longest and most lavishly described section of the novel focuses on Vietnam and a group of paratroopers imprisoned there We learn what makes up their natures just as they do, undergoing the hardships, failed escape attempts, sickness, and final release back to France We chart their crisscrossing and overlapping lives as they try to put themselves back together on home soil and lament with them the changes to their character that forbid surrender to their old pleasures Called once again to perform in Algiers, the men reassemble and rely upon one another to build an unusual type of flattened, anti hierarchical and discrete fighting structure that relies on adopting the guerrilla tactics of the enemy Knowing each other so intimately allows each to play to their strengths, but every man is damaged in the course of their work.In the end, the French paratroopers closeness with ordinary Algerians is both their strength and a sword that cuts them Their very integration into a society rebelling French rule gives them access to information but also requires recognizing the humanity of those they strive to overcome Later, their tactics are deniable by higher ups in the French military, leaving the soldiers to bear the brunt of saving Algiers Kasbah Let Rome beware the anger of the legions Soldiers must relate to descriptions of the ways men can be torn from their moorings, to the bond between men harboring together in unbearable conditions, to the uncertainty and fear and the unexpected heroism All soldiers returning to the home country must also experience the confusion and alienation, the regret for what they d left behind, the familiarity with a country that had long imprisoned them And they must feel also the loss of the constraints of discipline and danger A friend has remarked that a key weakness in the novel is its understanding of women It is true that Lart guy does not develop the female characters they are something other But I did not think it distracted from the reading, nor the verisimilitude of the novel Men absorbed as they are in war and with fellow officers often do not see women as the whole people they undoubtedly are Women are apart Many times the reverse is also true Men who return from war are something apart Neither side can comprehend the other the gulf is too wide Lart guy s work therefore is a fair reflection of what is in these men s minds Their primary loyalty is with other men, whom they see with exceptional clarity and sympathy.It is easy to see why this book is the classic it has become It has a vivid relevance and feel even now Initially published in 1960 in French, the English translation by Xan Fielding, himself a Special Operations executive for the British Army in Crete, France and the Far East, was published in Great Britain in 1961 Immediately it was hailed as a classic, a true example of the immediacy of classic status when a book carries with it such honesty and a sense of history in the making There was a film produced in 1965, released in 1967, calledThe Battle of AlgiersIt is a harrowing and almost unbearably lifelike reenactment of the scene when the paratroopers described in this book arrive in Algiers The docudrama won awards in Venice, London, and Alcapulco immediately on release and even today is described as electrifying and eerily resonant There was palpable excitement in the NYTimes review of the premier of the film at the opening of the New York Film Festival at the Philharmonic in the fall of 1967 Zbigniew Brzezinski was quoted as saying If you want to understand what s happening right now in Iraq, I recommendThe Battle of AlgiersA word or two about Lart guy s style he is graceful and immersive I loved the French ness of the book, which did not at all distract from the universality of its message This book is one of a trilogy, consisting of The Mercenaries 1954 ,The Centurions 1960 , and The Praetorians 1961 Lart guy died in 2011


  2. says:

    According to Wikipedia The Centurions was one of the most popular novels in France in the 1960s, and its author partly responsible for a revival of novel reading in France where, at the time 38% of adults had never read a book I d never heard of it, until prompted by Thomas Powers 2013 essay on Warrior Petraeus in The New York Review of Books, I tried to find a used copy and found the few copies available priced in the low hundreds So I was very happy to see Penguin reissue the book in it According to Wikipedia The Centurions was one of the most popular novels in France in the 1960s, and its author partly responsible for a revival of novel reading in France where, at the time 38% of adults had never read a book I d never heard of it, until prompted by Thomas Powers 2013 essay on Warrior Petraeus in The New York Review of Books, I tried to find a used copy and found the few copies available priced in the low hundreds So I was very happy to see Penguin reissue the book in its original translation by Xan Fielding, an author and soldier as colorful as Lart guy himself.I ll limit my review to a few comments because I don t want to spoil the story itself And if you don t want to know anything, stop here Focused on a small group of French paratroopers, the tale unfolds in three acts the first in Vietnam after the fall of Dien Bien Phu when the soldiers are prisoners of the Vi t Minh the second set back in France where they endure the corruption and incomprehension of the civilization they were fighting for and the third in Algeria during the Suez Crisis and the Battle of Algiers Much about the book is artificial, in the way of high drama The characters speak brilliantly, in fine beautifully composed sentences It is suffused with the warrior s creed, an ethos that often hasin common with its counterpart on the enemy side than with the Christian culture it defends but which does not defend them in turn All of this made excellent reading Its key weakness, for me, is its understanding of women and that s all I ll say about that.A book like this casts a spell Readers like David Petraeus or Robert Kaplan who provides the introduction to this edition are riveted by the insurgent soldier saint aspect, the band of brothers Kaplan cites its famous two armies speech, in which a paratrooper opines I d like France to have two armies one for display, with lovely guns, tanks, little soldiers, fanfares, staffs, distinguished and doddering generals, and dear little regimental officers who would be deeply concerned over their general s bowel movements or their colonel s piles The other would be the real one, composed entirely of young enthusiasts in camouflage battledress, who would not be put on display but from whom impossible efforts would be demanded and to whom all sorts of tricks would be taught That s the army in which I should like to fight.Here are resonant echoes of European literature going all the way back to The Song of Roland and the Crusades, if not to the Iliad and little of the light mockery that appears as early as Orlando Furioso 1516 and Don Quixote a hundred years later or the black comedy of antiwar literature in the 20th century The men of The Centurions are as noble and isolated as their Roman precursors In this respect the novel is a romance But not completely There is also a quite different characterization of these men placed in the mouth of a French journalist, which the reader is free to accept or discard Almost by chance, I finished this novel the same afternoon I finished A Life Worth Living Albert Camus and the Quest for Meaning Camus was trapped in the same moral dilemma as these soldiers in fact, one of the Algerian terrorists quotes Camus to her captor , the chasm which divides the soldier not from a corrupt society but from its fundamental values In the night thoughts of one of theappealing paratroopers He knew it had to come to this, that this was the ghastly law of the new type of war But he had to get accustomed to it, to harden himself and shed all those deeply ingrained, out of date notions which make for the greatness of Western man but at the same time prevent him from protecting himself.It is the genius of Lart guy s novel to dramatize this contradiction at the same time as it undermines its legitimacy


  3. says:

    A complex and cerebral book.It can be viewed as a thinly disguised polemic on counterinsurgency, an anti communist screed, or the wine of sour grapes by an Imperialist bitterly lamenting the loss of his possessions.And there s sex Lots and lots of sex In fact, it seems that part of Larteguy s anger over the loss of Indochina and Algeria is a lament for the loss of exotic fleshpots Larteguy voices several times over the moral superiority of France, as evinced in how its men allow the women of A complex and cerebral book.It can be viewed as a thinly disguised polemic on counterinsurgency, an anti communist screed, or the wine of sour grapes by an Imperialist bitterly lamenting the loss of his possessions.And there s sex Lots and lots of sex In fact, it seems that part of Larteguy s anger over the loss of Indochina and Algeria is a lament for the loss of exotic fleshpots Larteguy voices several times over the moral superiority of France, as evinced in how its men allow the women of their colonial possessions to be sexually liberated, compared to their oppressive countrymen All the while, continuing to sexually objectify them Apparently the freedoms inherent in Sexual Egalitarianism do not include Feminism But, it was a different time I suppose Regardless of those social s, this is a book about changing the mindset of conventional warriors, and the eternal isolation of the combatant from the civilians he protects Indeed, most of the book justifies the insularity of the military from its country, and beyond that the insularity of elite units from the conventional military An interesting build up to the next installment , The Praetorians, which I m dying to read Larteguy skewers civilians in France, and the Pied Noirs in Algeria He skewers intellectuals and the bloated cowards in the military that are not of the paratrooper community.It s an angry book.However, it is fascinating.The first third of the book takes place in a prison camp after the fall of Dien Bien Phu In this portion, a collection of officers attempt to resist the indoctrination of their Vietnminh jailers Each of the officers learns a different lesson from this experience, and the alpha officer, Raspeguy, later uses communist methods to indoctrinate conscripts assigned to fight with him in Algeria.The second portion of the book sees many of these officers return to France, and the intellectual, ideological and emotional battles they fight with the people they d left behind This portion speaks to the alienation of the returning combatant and their disconnect with an indifferent, and often scornful nation.Finally, under Raspeguy s banner, they go to Algeria and are thrust into a dirty war, forced to transgress conventional morality Our heroes grapple with the issue of torture, which further goes to develop their disconnect with their civilian masters, and even their own high military leadership.All in all, it was a powerful book Lots of food for thought and an interesting document of that era Americans would do well to read it, and see how other countries have conceptualized wars very similar to the ones we fight now.I m very much looking forward to reading the sequel The Praetorians to see how these characters deal with the plot against de Gaulle Algiers Putsch of 1961 , and the final abandonment of Algeria.If you re looking for a blood and guts, thrill ride of an action novel, this isn t for you, While there is some kinetic combat very, very little in fact, most of the violence is implied , the majority of this book is a psychological battle of wills and ideology.For Further Reading The main characters of this novel are all inspired and based on real French military officers The book, A Savage War of Peace by Alistair Horne provides strong background for them, and is also an excellent companion if you want a broad and concise overview of the entire conflict from its earliest origins to the bitter end The Centurions most intriguing character, Julien Boisferas is based on General Paul Aussaresses and Colonel Roger Triniquier Triniquier features in the exhaustive history of the OAS phase of the war, Wolves in the City The Death of French Algeria by Paul Henissart, and is author of a book on counterinsurgency theory called, Modern Warfare Aussaresses wrote an account of his service entitled, Battle of the Casbah


  4. says:

    I do not recommend books very often Having read all my life I am difficult to please As an author, I am also a harsh critic, however this book demands that it is recommended to readers.The writing, its style, the content and psychological explanations of character are excellent.This description of the French war in Indochina deserves to be read in all college history classes, as does the account of the war in Algeria.


  5. says:

    This is a book about soldiers, but not so much about war It s a treatise on class, race, communism and colonialism as told through the experience of French paratroopers in Indochina and Algeria Female readers may object some because many the female characters are judged as lusty, unfaithful, or both while the same characteristics in the men is portrayed as simply understandable While the book is a little disjointed in the telling, and the characters at times hard to sort out, it is worth read This is a book about soldiers, but not so much about war It s a treatise on class, race, communism and colonialism as told through the experience of French paratroopers in Indochina and Algeria Female readers may object some because many the female characters are judged as lusty, unfaithful, or both while the same characteristics in the men is portrayed as simply understandable While the book is a little disjointed in the telling, and the characters at times hard to sort out, it is worth reading because it isabout subject and character than violence It is a good look at a time in history that seems long ago and far away, but it is not


  6. says:

    An excellent book which gives a good understanding of the French military mindset during the First Vietnam War I recommend it to my students at Glasgow University as a must read for American History Vietnam studies.I read this book as a young Parachute Regiment officer and have remembered its lessons to this day as they have been applicable to all subsequent wars.


  7. says:

    This book was ONE of the main books that inspired me to join the Marine Corps and helped me so much in Vietnam I have this book in my library, and consider it a treasure.


  8. says:

    If anyone in the Johnson or Bush administrations had ever read The Centurions by Jean Lart guy, they might never have ventured into Southeast Asia or the Middle East In both cases, France went there first and failed first, before the United States did The intro to the Penguin edition of The Centurions lets us know that by now, you ll find copies of this superb novel on the desks of many prominent soldiers, including Generals David Petraeus and Stanley McChrystal, who showed such competence wha If anyone in the Johnson or Bush administrations had ever read The Centurions by Jean Lart guy, they might never have ventured into Southeast Asia or the Middle East In both cases, France went there first and failed first, before the United States did The intro to the Penguin edition of The Centurions lets us know that by now, you ll find copies of this superb novel on the desks of many prominent soldiers, including Generals David Petraeus and Stanley McChrystal, who showed such competence whatever else happened to them later in their superintendence of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, respectively The Centurions is the middle book of Lart guy s masterful trilogy about the French struggle to keep Vietnam and Algeria in the empire That struggle is doomed and the soldiers know it, whether they let themselves realize it or not Larteguy is a reporter, soldier, and writer who knows his material, knows war, knows history, and cares about people and the meanings of their actions We see some unforgettable characters Captain Philippe Esclavier, brilliant, world weary, and first to see that this is a new kind of war, spearheaded by a new brand of nationalist fervor expressed in guerrilla and terror tactics Colonel Raspeguy, a Basque soldier with a flair for heroism Major de Glatigny, an upper class soldier with higher thoughts and lower drives and manyAll suffer as prisoners of war in Vietnam after the fall of Diem Bien Phu When they return to France, they suffer the ennui of the demobbed soldier So they sign up again, this time for Algeria There, they learn that to succeed, they must think and act as their opponents do, as guerrillas willing to do anything to further the cause It is a worldly, knowing, propulsive book, one of the best selling novels of its time in the French speaking world, and remade into a couple of films For a war novel, it devotes less space to the violence and savagery of war than to discussion of their meaning and yet, perhaps because of this, when savagery does erupt, it seems all thesavage Near the end, there is an especially splendid account of a showdown with a rebel force, told with equal parts thrill and cold blooded detachment I admire how Lart guy moves from mind to mind, giving us the life stories of these men, their motives, their nuanced viewpoints All of them are coming unwillingly to realize that the world is changing, war is changing, and France, too, the France they have loved and fought for, is changing, shrinking, losing its grip on the far off lands it once controlled They all become increasingly impatient with the hidebound, old fashioned ideas of the men who command them, and all go off campus, go against orders, to achieve something lasting if they can A word about the title The centurions referred to are those of Rome, who were dispatched to distant corners of the known world in the name of Rome and then were forgotten, ignored, and even disparaged, much as returning soldiers from Vietnam were hooted and hollered at in the United States More and , the centurion, abandoned by the country he has served, must not hope for thanks, but must fight for his own ideals, and if those fail, then for victory, for his mates on the battlefield, and if not those, then himself There s not much place for women or love in The Centurions, although I count two true loves, one of a woman unreturned, and fatal for the soldier she is caring for, and another of a man surprised for a rich woman whose Algerian farm is burned down by rebels Our French centurions end this book huddled on a far off hillside in the cold and rain they have only one another It s a tremendous trilogy you could read The Mercenaries first, then this one, then the final one, The Pretorians They follow several of these figures from their beginnings as soldiers for France, some in the Foreign Legion, all the way to their several destinies What if you win the battle and lose the war What if you win the war and lose yourself What if you always beat the enemy but in the end lose the French Empire I wish our leaders had read these books before stepping into place behind the failed French army in Indochina and the Middle East If we had read their warnings, we might never have gone


  9. says:

    So this is the book that got Frenchmen reading again Telling A notorious read, if there ever was one Well known for being on the short list of David Petraeus favorite books, as well as providing literary justification for torture, rape and murder by military forces in order to combat against the western world s new enemies In broad strokes, the story surrounds the educational process a group of French officers undergo while held prisoner by communists in Vietnam There they learn that conve So this is the book that got Frenchmen reading again Telling A notorious read, if there ever was one Well known for being on the short list of David Petraeus favorite books, as well as providing literary justification for torture, rape and murder by military forces in order to combat against the western world s new enemies In broad strokes, the story surrounds the educational process a group of French officers undergo while held prisoner by communists in Vietnam There they learn that conventional warfare is insufficient for dealing with the new, superior soldier who has jettisoned emotions, traditions and moral conventions Once released, these officers take what they have learned and practice their newly learned lessons in Algeria Through disregard of civilian rights, application of merciless torture, and the occasional rape which transforms victim into lover, these French officers save the day, prevent a series of terrorist bombings, and dismantle an entire nationalist network This book is known for its message that the successful armies of the future will have to conduct battles through surgical strikes, using ideology when available, but always emphasizing focused ruthlessness in achieving the goal of victory Peace is given little thought in this work as being false or repugnant Good dialogue seems to suffer the same fate I do not know if this is a translation issue too much of the characters sentences are either wooden or outright improbable A French officer discussing his loins with another male is comically surreal Much is made of alliances and divisions The Centurions see themselves as beyond the parade ground armies of the past They see themselves as disconnected from the politics, the people, and even the morals of their country All are viewed in an adversarial light Yet part of the lessons learned by the Centurions in Vietnam is the importance of co opting the general populace as efficiently as possible Civilians are to be controlled or disposed of This philosophy is hardly mitigated by the duplicity which the French government inflicts time and time again against the Centurion, first in Vietnam, then in Egypt, and finally in Algiers The Centurions havein common with their terrorist counterparts than the average citizen they re supposed to protect As they have adopted their tactics, it s hardly surprising that strategy would follow This is not high literature The book expresses viewpoints which must have intrigued some in the 50s when it was written, but when read today such viewpoints can only be seen as inherently pathological Penguin is soon to release the sequel to this work, The Praetorians In that work I believe the officers of this novel are brought back to France to be tried for crimes committed while combating the Algerian terrorist group These officers attempt to overthrow De Gaulle s regime in response There is much to think about in this novel the problem is that most of it is extremely unsettling Larteguy was something of an embedded journalist in his time and the reader feels a degree of authenticity through portions of the story Unfortunately, Larteguy dealt with very difficult and nasty problems, though one would have to say if his solutions do eliminate the difficult they certainly enhance all that is nasty


  10. says:

    Jean Lart guy s The Centurions seems to me to be centered around two basic things 1 the threat posed by a global communism in its various forms and 2 soldiers The former is necessarily tied to a time and place in history, the latter appears to be timeless The former coincides with the demise of European attempts to colonize the entire world and the latter are the instruments caught up in it all The threat posed by a global communism is the loss of human individuality the Viet Minh are oft Jean Lart guy s The Centurions seems to me to be centered around two basic things 1 the threat posed by a global communism in its various forms and 2 soldiers The former is necessarily tied to a time and place in history, the latter appears to be timeless The former coincides with the demise of European attempts to colonize the entire world and the latter are the instruments caught up in it all The threat posed by a global communism is the loss of human individuality the Viet Minh are often referred to by the soldiers as insects They are depicted as indistinct humans governed by an ideal that forces them to suppress things like human love Their success depends on a logic of efficiency They are numerous Their struggle, first depicted in Vietnam, carries over to Algeria Communism in Asia is thus depicted as a close sibling to the rise of Islamic fundamentalism The struggle is the same All of this is very specifically twentieth century history On the other side we have the soldiers But note we do not have just any soldiers we are told about soldiers by means of the best soldiers, the officers, the leaders of soldiers These soldiers in particular emerge out of the final evaporating whiffs of French aristocracy They are the very opposite of the communists and Islamic fundamentalists they fight They are radically unequal in the eyes of Property or Allah And these particular soldiers, as the name of the book strongly implies and specific events in the book make explicit, are atavisms of a kind of man that emerged from the aristocracy from which the French aristocracy was born, the Roman aristocracy Centurions are ahistoric If Centurions are timeless, are the foes they face timeless as well Perhaps this book suggests that they are If that is the case, then the book points to a basic difference between noble and base Perhaps Lart guy is suggesting that there is always a contest between the rare and the common One question raised is this if the common can only be defeated by using the logical efficiency employed by the common fight in Algiers as one was fought against in Vietnam , do the uncommon lose that which makes them uncommon The answer seems to be Yes The uncommon is thus depicted as perennially doomed And yet, and yet whether scratching graffiti on a Roman column in the concluding evening of the Roman Empire or reading that very graffiti in the late sunset of the French Empire, Centurions keep cropping up who defy the common