In this first-ever biography of Colonel John Patterson, Denis Brian reveals his subject to be a diverse composite of identities. An Irishborn soldier, lion hunter, bridge builder, East African game warden, author, and Zionist, Patterson’s life is a fascinating story, and Brian’s well-researched account gives a revealing look into the ebb and flow of circumstances that produced such a colorful character. Brian begins the narrative with Patterson’s assignment in East Africa,where lion attacks are terrorizing workers on a railroad project. With a storyteller’s breathtaking tone, he details accounts of Patterson quelling the rebellion and killing the lions himself. The colonel’s indomitable energy and courage become a consistent theme in the book as the author traces Patterson’s life from his days as a British socialite to his recruitment of the Jewish Legion of volunteers who helped drive the Turks out of Palestine. Patterson spent most of his later years as an ardent Zionist,working for the creation of a Jewish homeland until his death in 1947, a year before the birth of the state of Israel. Drawing on an impressive range of sources, Brian’s biography of this “Righteous Gentile” is an incisive portrait of a key figure in both Israeli and colonial British history.
6 x 9, 280 pages, 23 black and white illustrations