Jean Lartéguy (actually named Jean Pierre Lucien Osty) was born in 1920, at Aumont-Aubrac, Lozère.
Nephew of famous Canon Émile Osty, who spent most of his life translating the Bible, he was interested in History and obtained his first degree in Toulouse, which enabled him to become the secretary of the historian Joseph Calmette.
When the Second World War broke out, he volunteered to go to the front as early as October 1939. Upon the invasion and occupation of France, he escaped in 1942 through Spain, and after having been imprisoned for nine months, he went to England and joined the Free French Forces within which he was sent as an officer to the 1st commando group. He remained in the army as an active officer for seven years.
Demobilized, reserve captain, Jean Lartéguy, in 1946, started the career of war correspondent. This profession took him to several countries in conflict, thus making him the witness of the Azerbaijan revolution, the Palestinian war, the Korean War, where he was wounded during the Crève-Coeur attack. Subsequently, he witnessed the Indochina War, Algerian War, Vietnam War, and the revolutions of Central America and Latin America.
Famous reporter at "Paris-Presse" from 1952, he received the Albert Londres Prize in 1955. Jean Lartéguy subsequently became a novelist and wrote over sixty books, which were translated into twelve languages. In his reports, just like in his novels, Jean Lartéguy, drew from his experience to conscientiously and genuinely express the feelings of the people, who were sometimes indoctrinated and often betrayed by politicians, show the decline of the colonial system and the moods of servicemen.
Knight of the Legion of Honour, commended four times, Jean Lartéguy notably received decorations like the Second World War cross, the Overseas Operations war cross, and the volunteer servicemen cross.
A ma connaissance, aucun mercenaire
ne répond plus à la définition qu'en donne le Larousse :
"soldat qui sert à prix d'argent un gouvernement étranger".
Les mercenaires que j'ai rencontrés et dont parfois j'ai partagé la vie,
combattent de vingt à trente ans pour refaire le monde.
Jusqu'à quarante ans, ils se battent pour leurs rêves
et cette image d'eux-mêmes qu'ils se sont inventée.
Puis, s'ils ne se font pas tuer, ils se résignent à vivre comme tout le monde,
mais mal, car ils ne touchent pas de retraite,
et ils meurent dans leur lit d'une congestion ou d'une cirrhose du foie.
Jamais l'argent ne les intéresse, rarement la gloire,
et ils ne se soucient que fort peu de l'opinion de leurs contemporains.
C'est en cela qu'ils diffèrent des autres hommes. Jean Lartéguy