London: Hutchinson & Co. Ltd., 1961. First English language edition, first printing. Hardcover. This is a jacketed copy of the first English-language edition, both the jacket and volume in very good condition. The red and black cloth binding remains clean, bright, and tight, with sharp corners, vivid spine gilt, and no appreciable wear apart from minor wrinkling to the spine ends. A forward lean is the only defect noted.
The contents remain bright with no previous ownership marks. A trivial hint of soiling and spotting appears to the text block edges. The illustrated yellow and gray-green dust jacket is respectably bright, substantially complete, and unclipped, with the original lower front flap price intact. We note minor loss to the spine head and corners, the largest instance being a 1.25 inch deep by .375 inch wide loss to the lower front flap adjacent to the flap fold which does not intrude into either the front cover illustration or the flap print. Otherwise light wear and soiling is mostly confined to edges, hinges, and flap folds. Shelf presentation is good, the minor loss and wear to the spine ends neither intruding into any print nor appreciably diminishing appearance. The dust jacket is protected beneath a removable, archival quality clear cover.
French journalist, war correspondent, and former soldier Jean Pierre Lucien Osty published this acclaimed novel under the nom de plume Jean Larteguy. The Centurions narrative is set against the backdrop of the military quagmires and moral complexities of France’s post-WWII colonial conflicts. The story follows a group of French paratroop officers captured by the Vietminh after the fall of Dien-Bien-Phu in Indo-China through their subsequent release, re-enlistment, and service in Algeria using the methods they learned from the Vietminh. The book was written and published in French in 1960, then translated by Xan Fielding for publication in this first English-language edition in 1961. The Centurions won the prestigious Prix Eve Delacroix for 1960 and in 1966 was adapted into a movie (Lost Command) starring Anthony Quinn. The Centurions is credited with the first presentation of the “ticking time bomb” moral quandary scenario. Item #006475