Foreign News: The Insider

In their frustrating and interminable war in Algeria, where cruelty answers cruelty, and heroism has its ugly necessities, the French have found one continuing source of solace: the dramatic exploits of a tough, leathery colonel named Marcel Bigeard. The son of a railway mechanic, Bigeard was a humdrum bank clerk in Toul when he was called up just before World War II. Today, a weatherbeaten and wiry 41, he is a legend.

Bigeard first made a name for himself as a sergeant in 1940 when he held out in a Vosges dugout five...

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