A terrific book review about what seems to be a terrific book.
The book is a biography of Colonel John Patterson, the gentile commander of the Jewish Zion Mule Corps at Gallipoli and later colonel of the Jewish Legion, the Jewish Royal Fusilier Battalions in Palestine in 1918-19. His right hand man and second in command at the Zion Mule Corps was none other than Joseph Trumpeldor – he who is famous for either saying or not saying “it is good to die for our land.”
The review provides fabulous info like:
…in the Boer War Patterson was commissioned into the Imperial Yeomanry, rose to Lieut. Colonel and was awarded the DSO. In 1908 he led a safari into Africa with a brother officer and his wife. The lady became enamored of Patterson and shared his tent while her husband lay stricken with fever. The distraught husband then shot himself. Patterson and the wife buried the man and, amazingly enough, continued with the safari.
Patterson was particularly impressed with the bravery of the steadfast Trumpeldor (as was the Allied commander, General Sir Ian Hamilton), but did not appreciate his proto-Israeli approach to discipline, for Patterson was an officer who did nearly everything by the book. Trumpeldor overworked the Hebrew expression ein davar (it’s of no matter).
Streeter writes that when Trumpeldor and Jabotinsky first held an informal march past of Jewish ZMC volunteers still in civvies, the horrified Jabotinsky protested that they marched like geese. Trumpeldor smiled and said ein davar.