Episode#28 – Einmal Legionär

Einmal Legionär

by Philip Rosenthal


The book in one sentence

Philip Rosenthal describes his time in the French Foreign Legion, 1939-1942.


My personal opinion

Wow, what a crazy story! I read this book and was not sure if this was all just fiction or did Philip Rosenthal really experienced such things? Listening to a podcast, I heard about Einmal Legionär. I do not remember the episode I was listening to and not the context but somehow I thought it would be interesting to read this book.

Philip Rosenthal (1916-2011) was a famous German businessman and politician. He was the only son of the porcelain family Rosenthal. In 1934 the Rosenthals moved to England. Philip studied politics, philosophy and economics at Oxford. Later he earned his PhD.

When the second world war started, Philip Rosenthal volunteered for the French Foreign Legion. Here began his long and exhausting journey in the north of Africa. Philip Rosenthal had a tough time at the French Foreign Legion and after the Vichy regime was build he tried to desert. All his attempts failed and he was imprisoned multiple times. But during this time he never gave up. He kept trying and trying until he could went back to England.

This endurance is what really impressed me. Reading such a book shows me that a situation could always be worse but if you believe that in the end you will be successful, if you never give up and do not lose hope, then you will achieve your goal.

The book showed me that happiness is relative. That you have to value the good things of your life, that you have to be grateful for what you have.


To whom I would recommend this book

If you experience difficult times, take a look at Einmal Legionär. It will give you the inspiration and power to make the best out of your current situation.


What I learned from this book

  • Think ahead and see the consequences of your action. Use your imagination, experience and common sense. (I was thinking about this when Philip Rosenthal explained why volunteers with bad teeth were denied by the French Foreign Legion.)
  • Be open and try to experience new things.
  • To lead an huge organisation like the French Foreign Legion you need to plan every detail or you have to give the lower ranks more autonomy. “Something” in the middle will lead to big inefficiencies. (Like Philip Rosenthal describes on the first pages.)
  • You will experience your real character if you experience huge pressure, poverty and oppression.
  • Focus on the solution, not the problem.
  • Fake it till you make it – at least in specific situations.
  • We see what we want to see.


Want to read this book?

Check it out on Amazon.com – Einmal Legionär by Philip Rosenthal



Thanks to the publisher for printing such a great book!