Memoir by French colonial veteran



A translation of the seminal First World War memoir written by Bakary Diallo, a Pullo soldier from Senegal who fought for France in the war. Diallo shares his life story, including his childhood in Senegal, but focuses mostly on his experiences in the army and in a variety of hospitals as he recovered from a serious war wound. His multiple themes include the work of overcoming linguistic, cultural, and racial barriers, re-establishing a more human relationship with the natural world, and the power of kindness and friendship.


Of the several hundred thousand West African soldiers who fought for France in the First World War, Bakary Diallo was one of the few who had enlisted in the years before the war. He was also one of the first to see action on the Western Front, eventually being knocked out of combat with a serious facial wound in October 1914, outside Sillery. His memoir was the first African autobiography published in French.