03 December 2009

Mouthful of Rocks (Christian Jennings)

Christian Jennings attended Downside School. In 1984 he started a military career as a paratrooper in the French Foreign Legion. In this memoir, 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 with which he soldiered. 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 East African 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. For the last ten years, Jennings has been a foreign correspondent covering military interventions, Special Forces operations and world conflicts in thirteen different countries. From 1999-2003 he was based in Kosovo and the Balkans and from 1994-1998 in Central Africa, where he reported on genocide, civil war, and humanitarian disasters from Rwanda, Burundi and Democratic Congo. Currently, Christian Jennings works and lives in Sarajevo.

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