An amazing woman
September 24, 2009 9:03 AM   Subscribe

The only woman in the French Foreign Legion. A little about the fantastic life of a brave woman.
posted by Idcoytco (17 comments total) 29 users marked this as a favorite
I'm not crying, my eyes are just irritated from the pollen.

posted by briank at 9:43 AM on September 24, 2009

I want her on a teeshirt. I want a "junior graphic novelization" or something of her life story, right now, so my girls can read it. I want to go order this book right now.
posted by padraigin at 9:45 AM on September 24, 2009

The memoir on Amazon. Ordering right now.
posted by joyceanmachine at 9:58 AM on September 24, 2009

What an amazing story. I would love to see a movie about her. How sad though about her and Koenig. Timing really can be everything.

I've just ordered her book on Amazon. It'll make for an excellent topic in my French class. Thanks for posting this.

Plus the French Foreign Legion has always interested me.
posted by shoesietart at 10:09 AM on September 24, 2009

The formerly extremely macho Spanish Legion does accept women these days. Not so many foreigners, though (unless from one of a handful of Spanish-speaking countries).

And, yes, what a kick-ass lady.
posted by Skeptic at 10:20 AM on September 24, 2009

Great post. What an amazing story!
posted by vorfeed at 10:21 AM on September 24, 2009

I would love to see pictures of the uniform she designed when she was formally inducted into the Legion. The kepi, sash and epaulets are already very striking when worn by men.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 10:49 AM on September 24, 2009

Yo, padraigin, et al -- while you're directing your girls to read about some brave, tough women, you might look for Beryl Markham's autobiography, West With the Night. Markham didn't shoot anyone or come off as one of the boys -- she merely hunted with her African friends (with spears!), trained racehorses as a teenager, then learned to fly, becoming the first aviatrix of note in Africa. She was the first person to fly across the Atlantic, solo, east-to-west (the hard way, against the prevailing winds). And, she was a fantastic writer.
posted by slab_lizard at 10:57 AM on September 24, 2009

Awesome. My daughter and sons will read about this outstanding lady. A humble heroic class act.
posted by JohnnyGunn at 11:22 AM on September 24, 2009

Don't lets forget Ursula Graham-Bower, previously on MeFi, who is the topic of another fantastic book.
When the Japanese armies surged across the Burma border and threatened to spill into India, Miss Graham-Bower declared war on Japan. She placed herself at the head of the mobilized Nagas. By her orders guards were posted on main and secondary trails, a watch-and-warn system was established. Over these trails thousands of evacuees, deserters, escaped prisoners and bailed-out airmen fled from Burma to India. Miss Graham-Bower also directed Naga ambushes of Japanese search parties.

She is still leading her pleasantly active life among the headhunters. In Leigh Hall, Cricklade, Wilts, Miss Graham-Bower's mother commented on her daughter's fighting blood, added proudly: "An extraordinary girl; she never would sit still."
I found a used copy of her book Naga Path on Amazon cheap...more info on her here.

I think my favorite bit about her is ok, she's running a tribe full of headhunters during a major world war, but meanwhile, all the villagers are asking her to name their girl babies and she named pretty much all of them Victoria Elizabeth. Headhunter queen AND loyal subject of the British crown? WTF? Love it.
posted by at 11:50 AM on September 24, 2009 [2 favorites]

Yo, padraigin, et al -- while you're directing your girls to read about some brave, tough women, you might look for Beryl Markham's autobiography, West With the Night.

As a matter of fact, I might look for it under M for Markham in the biography section of my personal library! My dad gave it to me when I was a kid; he was very big on history-related books as gifts and put a lot of thought into each one he gave, so many of those he gave to my sister and I leaned toward stories of interesting women.
posted by padraigin at 12:17 PM on September 24, 2009

She's like a female cross between James Bond and Chuck Norris. Good post, and another win for the BBC.
posted by reenum at 1:01 PM on September 24, 2009

Let us also not forget Virginia Hall, the subject of The Wolves at the Door: The True Story of America's Greatest Female Spy. WW II produced several women that one may classify as bigger than life.

Not to take away from Ms. Travers, just saying . . .

I, too, am ordering the story of Le Miss from Amazon.
posted by Man with Lantern at 1:07 PM on September 24, 2009 [1 favorite]

i love that she wanted the memior to let her grandkids know how wicked she had been.

posted by rmd1023 at 1:19 PM on September 24, 2009 [1 favorite]

This is great, thank you.
posted by Salamandrous at 2:18 PM on September 24, 2009

rmd1023: Completely agree... I love her reason for letting Holden write her bio.
posted by LakesideOrion at 8:05 AM on September 25, 2009

I am glad that people have enjoyed my post of the link about Susan Travers. And it has been very nice to be thanked.
posted by Idcoytco at 4:59 PM on September 25, 2009

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