The Infidel by Achmed Abdullah

The short story posted below appeared in Lippincott’s magazine, Volume 95 (1914).  I found it buried in a digital collection of this magazine on Google Books.  It is about a band of deserters from the infamous Bataillon D’ Infanterie Légère d’ Afrique better known as the BILA, les Joyeux or the Bat d´Af.  This unit of criminals serving their military obligation in North Africa is often mistaken for the French Foreign Legion.  They were frequently found working together in combat situations but at the end of the fighting the soldiers of the BILA had to turn in their weapons and ammunition and get back to the back breaking work of building roads and infrastructure in Algeria and Morocco.  It was written by a very extraordinary author-Achmed Abdullah.  A true man of adventure who’s own personal life seems like it might have been right out of a pulp novel.  Maybe this is why he spent the latter half of his life in the United States writing for Pulp magazines and for the movies.  He was pretty outspoken at times and boasted of the superiority of his Islamic religion but it seems nobody gave a crap back then and he was fairly successful nonetheless.   His biography on Wikipedia is well done and includes a list of his published stories (many of which are available on Google Books and other places on the web).

Achmed Abdullah

The Infidel

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About Jack Wagner

Retired Army.
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