• Appel

  • A Canadian in the French Foreign Legion
  • By: Joel Adam Struthers
  • Narrated by: Paul Boucher
  • Length: 9 hrs and 29 mins
  • 4.9 out of 5 stars (87 ratings)

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Appel  By  cover art

Appel

By: Joel Adam Struthers
Narrated by: Paul Boucher
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Publisher's Summary

Appel: A Canadian in the French Foreign Legion is the first-hand account of the author’s six years as a professional soldier during the 1990s, and his experience in the Legion's elite Groupe des Commandos Parachutistes (GCP). Joel Struthers recounts the dangers and demands of military life, from the rigours of recruitment and operational training in the rugged mountains of France, to face-to-face combat in the grasslands of some of Africa’s most troubled nations. 

Told through the eyes of a soldier, and interspersed with humorous anecdotes, Appel is a fascinating story that debunks myths about the French Foreign Legion and shows it more accurately as a professional arm of the French military. Struthers provides insight into the rigorous discipline that the Legion instills in its young recruits - who trade their identities as individuals for a life of adventure and a role in a unified fighting force whose motto is “Honour and Loyalty”. 

Foreword by Col. Benoit Desmeulles, former commanding officer of the Legions 2e Régiment Étranger Parachutistes.

From the Foreword: "Travelling through these pages, you will discover how a restless young Canadian turned himself into a professional soldier, and then a pathfinder immersed in a system that, even if could always be improved, remains a reference in terms of soldiering. You will appreciate the quasi-monastic life - made of satisfaction, celebration, hard training, operational commitments, but also of routine and service - of these soldiers who decided to leave everything they had to come and serve in the Legion. And finally you will discover from the inside this esprit de corps that empowers the Corps and helps these hommes sans noms to cope with the tensions of their new lives."

©2019 Wilfrid Laurier University Press (P)2020 Wilfrid Laurier University Press

Critic Reviews

"In Appel, Joel Struthers has illustrated a soldier’s life on and off duty through his vast experience in diverse training activities and operations. Those with a military background will find this a fascinating story, laced with humour, and told through the eyes of a professional soldier in a renowned military organization, the French Foreign Legion. Those who have not experienced military life will be equally fascinated with a soldier’s insights into the dangerous and demanding profession of arms. (LGen (Retired) RR Crabbe, CMM, MSC, MSM, CD, B Sc)

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One of the best accounts of the FFL

Well done
From soup to nuts. A superb example of story strength and reality. Very much enjoyed this

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Great read

As a former Marine I found Struthers' description of the challenges and unrelenting discipline he experienced as a Legionnaire very compelling. This is a must-read for any veteran or other hard-charger interested in learning more about this legendary organization.

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Superbly Written! Bravo, Joel!

I knew so little about the French Foreign Legion before discovering Joel Struthers and reading Appel. This book is a real adventure, and captures the excitement of a young man leaving home & embarking on a soldier’s journey. Great background, detail, perspective etc. Your book is great specifically due to your honestly about where you came from, how you developed from a youth to a man to a warrior. This is a must read! Or listen… Cheers 🇨🇦🇺🇸

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And that's how you write a military memoir

A very well-written book. The guy is hardcore but not Superman, something I like, making it real. Highly recommended

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It will hold your interest

Great read and a fascinating look into a misunderstood unit. Anyone interested in modern military history should give this book a try.

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Excellent

Honest and excellent account if life in the Foreign Legion. Should be read by more young men who are wondering what to do with themselves.

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Reality of the Legion

This book give a snapshot into the life of a legionnaire. All the details, good and bad to paint a picture of the life in full swing. I recommend this book to anyone who wants to learn more about the modern legion.

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Good honest book

Is not a book for the ones that search for history of great battles, heroic acts accounted on first person. For that I recommend "a handful of hard men".

Personally I enjoy the book, the narrator is good, the last part was my favorite, you never leave the Legion... Going back years later trough legion gates with his family...

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Good true military book

I heard the author on the Jocko Podcast and picked up the book. There is a lot more to the book and enjoyed it throughout. The FFL is an interesting organization and this book gives a great modern description of the Legion. For what its worth, I am a military veteran and recommend it.

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Spoke to a veteran

Something about the approach Struthers takes allowed me, a USMC veteran, to really appreciate the similarities the Legion has to other militaries, and the things that made it unique.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 07-25-21

Excellent listen

While the narrators performance could be better (feels slightly rushed) the story and information included is fantastic. Definitely worth it

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  • Paul G.
  • 06-30-21

Exceptional insight into the Legion

An superb account of Joel Struthers journey from his recruitment into the Legion until the completion of his contract which could so easily have been spoiled with poor narration. In this case though, the combined quality of the narrator and what appeared to me to be his perfect pronunciation of French (although I'm not a French speaker) along with Joels description of his service draws you in and holds you as you travel with him through each of his key experiences. There are a lot of myths and misconceptions about this unit but I had the privilege of being embedded with a Legion OMLT in Afghanistan during Op Moshtarak in 2010 and found the guys to be utterly professional and a pleasure to serve with in very challenging circumstances. This book has reinforced my opinion of the Legion and I thoroughly recommend it to anyone wishing to gain a greater understanding of this famous organisation.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 06-03-21

Was an OK listen

A bit of a history lesson on the Foreign Legion.

If you like action this is not the book for you. He spent more time on how he did in each training run, than he did on any action he was involved with, he would say we went forward and cleared the building, not how they cleared the building, Maybe nothing happened so he didn't bother to elaborate.

If you are thinking of joining the Foreign Legion this is probably a handy book!

1 person found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 05-19-21

An funny, interesting book that is very well read.

If you are interested in the military or even some French history then this is well worth a listen. Following Joels journey through the Canadian army then on to the pinnacle of the French Foreign Legion the GCP. With plenty of laughs and action along the way.