Lost Lions of Judah

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In October 1935 Fascist Italy invaded independent Ethiopia. The Italians had planes, high explosive, and mustard gas. The Ethiopians had swords and spears. Emperor Haile Selassie needed expert outside help. What he got was a crazy gang of mercenaries who could barely shoot straight and were further to the right than Mussolini. Americans posing as fake French counts, Fascist Belgian mercenaries, an African-American pilot duo known as the Black Eagle and the Brown Condor (they hated each other), a Cuban veteran of three failed far-right coups, an Austrian Nazi doctor, Swedish soldiers who preferred fighting communism, an alcoholic English dropout. Haile Selassie’s international state support was equally disreputable. Hitler backed Selassie as part of a plot to grab back the Rhineland and Japanese secret societies pushed a penniless Tokyo princess into marriage with an Ethiopian prince. Together, this bizarre foreign legion tried to save Ethiopia from Fascism. In his own fast-paced style, Christopher Othen demonstrates how the invasion of Ethiopia almost turned into a worldwide race war.


Christopher Othen is the author of Franco's International Brigades: Adventurers, Fascists, and Christian Crusaders in the Spanish Civil War and Katanga: Mercenaries, Spies, and the African Nation that Waged War on the World.