As France emerged from the Franco-Prussian War she embarked on a period of active colonialism, acquiring territories in South-East Asia and Africa. By the turn of the century much of north, west and central Africa was under French control. In order to police all of these territories, the French needed an army and so the French Foreign Legion was born. In this book, world-renowned Legion expert Martin Windrow analyses what it would have been like to be a member of the French Foreign Legion and how the experience, equipment, tactics and training of the Legion developed in the 80 years between their foundation and the outbreak of the First World War. He investigates their glory years in North Africa and Indochina, and draws extensively on memoirs from two British legionnaires, peppering the text with extraordinary first-hand accounts of the French Foreign Legion.