In October 1935 Fascist Italy invaded independent Ethiopia. The Italians had planes, high explosive, and mustard gas. The Ethiopians had swords and spears. Emperor Haile Selassie needed expert outside help. What he got was a crazy gang of mercenaries who could barely shoot straight and were further to the right than Mussolini. There were Americans posing as fake French counts, Fascist Belgian guns for hire, an African-American pilot duo known as the Black Eagle and the Brown Condor (they hated each other), a Cuban veteran of three failed far-right coups, an Austrian Nazi doctor, Swedish soldiers who preferred fighting communism, and an alcoholic English dropout.
Haile Selassie's international state support was equally disreputable. Hitler backed Selassie as part of a plot to grab back the Rhineland and Japanese secret societies pushed a penniless Tokyo princess into marriage with an Ethiopian prince. Together, this bizarre foreign legion tried to save Ethiopia from Fascism. This is the first time the story of Haile Selassie's motley combatants has been told, researched from primary records, some in French, Swedish, Spanish and Czech. In his own fast-paced style, Christopher Othen demonstrates how the invasion of Ethiopia almost turned into a worldwide race war.
Christopher Othen is an English writer currently based in Eastern Europe. He has worked as a journalist, legal representative for asylum seekers, and an English language teacher. In off-the-clock adventures he has interviewed retired mercenaries about war crimes, discussed lost causes with political extremists, and got drunk with an ex-mujahidin who knew Osama Bin Laden. His first book, Franco's International Brigades: Adventurers, Fascists, and Christian Crusaders in the Spanish Civil War has been published in four editions. His second, Katanga: Mercenaries, Spies, and the African Nation that Waged War on the World, was published in 2015.