My book about the crazy gang of foreign mercenaries who fought for Ethiopia in the 1930s went to the printers last week. It has a shiny new cover in gold and marble grey, and should be in the shops some time this summer.
The Italian invasion of Ethiopia in late 1935 outraged the world. Communists saw it as proof of Fascist barbarism, liberals as outdated imperialism; even the empire builders in London and Paris were reluctant to welcome Mussolini into their club.
It was a war between far-right modernity and patriarchal traditionalism. The Italians had airplanes, high explosive, and mustard gas. The Ethiopians preferred swords and spears. Emperor Haile Selassie needed expert foreign help. What he got was a crazy gang of mercenaries who could barely shoot straight and leaned further to the right than Mussolini.
Lost Lions of Judah tells the whole colourful, blood-stained story.
I‘ve been off the radar for the last month trying to finish my third book . The writing is almost done and looks like it’ll be in the shops around June 2017.
My publishers have already got a provisional title and cover up on Amazon (or Amazon.com). So it’ll probably look a bit like this when it hits the bookshops … . But parts of the title may change and the cover too. Welcome to the wacky world of publishing.
Research for the book has turned up some strange characters among the foreigners who fought for Ethiopia against the Italian invasion: adventurers, drunks, Nazis, fascists, Pan-African visionaries, evangelical medical men, and racists of all races came together to defend an emperor against a dictator. And it also turned up a few surprises about Haile Selassie’s international friends.
Hubert Julian’s home overlooked the Harlem River in New York. The Bronx town house was crowded with elephant tusks, vintage rifles, Ethiopian medals, photographs of Julian with Marcus Garvey and Haile Selassie, souvenirs from Guatemala, books of newspaper clippings, a menagerie of parrots, and a pet monkey.
On Sundays his extended family turned up for inch thick steaks flown in from South America, with African fruits for dessert.
Julian obviously had money (“I’m richer now than a yacht full of Greeks,” he told reporters) although how much was the subject of conjecture among interested parties. An FBI report from the late 1950s claimed Julian “was subsidised by wealthy white women”. Julian insisted he earned his cash. Both may been true.
A few months back I signed the contract for my third book. Time to open the champagne. The book will probably being coming out some time towards the end of 2017 with Amberley Publishing. It’s called ‘Lost Lions of Judah: Haile Selassie’s Foreign Legion of Nazis, Mercenaries, and Black Crusaders in the War against Fascism’.
A guaranteed best seller. People would have to be crazy not to buy it. Now I just have to write the thing. Here’s what it’s about: