The Sev­en Lives of Colonel Pat­ter­son: How an Irish Lion Hunter Led the Jew­ish Legion to Victory

Denis Bri­an
  • Review
By – January 3, 2012
Despite the title, this book tells two sto­ries. It begins with an account of Col. Patterson’s adven­tures in Africa, but its major theme is real­ly the devel­op­ment of Zion­ism, the cre­ation of Israel, and the Colonel’s part in the process. 

An Irish-born sol­dier of for­tune, Pat­ter­son is intro­duced as a hero­ic, if at times impru­dent and harsh com­man­der. In Egypt he meets sev­er­al hun­dred Russ­ian Jew­ish refugees who are just as dar­ing as he is. Togeth­er they form what even­tu­al­ly becomes the Jew­ish Legion, fight­ing in the British Army in World War I to free Pales­tine. Not eas­i­ly cowed, Pat­ter­son defend­ed his Jew­ish sol­diers from bla­tant British anti-Semi­tism, to the detri­ment of his own career. 

The book con­tains inter­est­ing behindthe- scenes views in its depic­tion of Patterson’s efforts on behalf of the pas­sage of the Bal­four Declaration. 

Offered as an arm­chair adven­ture tale, the work also serves as the author’s trib­ute to his subject’s ded­i­ca­tion to Jew­ish caus­es. After­word, appen­dices, bio­graph­i­cal notes, illus­tra­tions, index, prefix.
Jane Waller­stein worked in pub­lic rela­tions for many years. She is the author of Voic­es from the Pater­son Silk Mills and co-author of a nation­al crim­i­nal jus­tice study of parole for Rut­gers University.

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