Lee Christmas gets drunk and falls asleep at the throttle of his locomotive, plowing straight into an oncoming train. Blacklisted from the railroad and his marriage in tatters, he flees New Orleans on a steamer bound for the tropics.
In Honduras, he begins a quiet new life. But trouble has a way of finding Christmas. With unrest sweeping the countryside, he's kidnapped by bandits. Soon, he finds himself taking sides in an all-out civil war--as leader of the rebellion.
MERCENARY is the story of the USA's most famous soldier of fortune: the hard-drinking drifter who changed the fate of a nation.
Praise for Mercenary:
"Highly recommended to readers of adventure fiction and history, as well as anyone interested in American adventurism and meddling in Latin America." -- Wall Street Journal and USA Today bestselling author Michael Wallace.
"Lee Christmas led a roaring life on and off the battlefield. Gaughran's great, fast-paced read keeps you right alongside all his exploits." -- Richard Sutton, author of The Red Gate.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Quite entertaining. Different. At times I had to wonder where the plot was going, and why it wasn't being developed more- but didn't realize until the end that this is fiction based on real life- had I known I believed I would have enjoyed the read even more. In any case, this was the first book in quite some time that I had trouble putting down. An enjoyable, unique adventure, and I'll be seeking out more to read from this author.
I didn’t realize till I sat down to write the review for this book that it is more biography than fiction. I have to say that I did not LIKE Lee Christmas – a drunk, philandering, many-times-married, self-centered sort of man who lived at the turn of the 20th century but I do admire him for pursuing his dreams and not letting color blindness, accidents or misfortune stand in his way. I take than Mr. Gaughran for offering his book on LibraryThing giveaways so that I could win and read it. Even though I would not want to have been one of Mr. Christmas’s women or wives I did enjoy reading about his life.
In 1935, Twice Medal of Honor recipient, retired USA Marine General Smedly Butler released a small book entitled, WAR IS A RACKET. In it's few pages, he outlined his active work, as basically a corporate thug, in Central America during the Banana Wars, earlier in the Century. His factual exploits mirror those of David Gaughran's incredible, larger-than-life, whiskey soaked, part-time hero, Lee Christmas who is the primary character here. Mercenary is a rousing, immersive look at just one of the adventurers who found fame and fortune as a paid gun and military leader in the Honduras of the turn of the last century. Lee Christmas... Generalissimo Lee Christmas, I should say, led a roaring life on and off the battlefield, the Gin Palaces and brothels. Gaughran's great, fast paced read keeps you right alongside all his exploits -- both the ones he was proud of and the ones he wasn't. The detail and plentiful period touches add authenticity to a work that is ostensibly historical fiction. The voice is light and conversational, even folksy. Some of it seems so far fetched, that it pushed me to my own research. I found that yes, those days in Central America were particularly ripe for a man of action who knew how to re-invent himself when the wind turned. The active characters are memorable and the settings, including New Orleans, (one of my very favorites) bring the sounds and smells of a Banana Republic right into your reading armchair. Add a star if you're a fan of military fiction and can hang on for dear life!.
In a work that blurs the line between novel and creative nonfiction, David Gaughran's new book follows the strange, mercurial career of Yankee adventurer Lee Christmas. Set around the turn of the 20th century, Christmas's true life exploits included involvement in several Central American coups and revolts. Christmas's adventures come across as both fascinating and infuriating, the actions of a literal train wreck of a man who smashed up a locomotive while drunk, served as gun runner and mercenary for two-bit dictators in Honduras, and drank, whored, and married his way across several countries, while somehow surviving adventures that killed many a lesser man. Gaughran brings this story to life with lucid writing and authentic historical details. Highly recommended to readers of adventure fiction and history, as well as anyone interested in American adventurism and meddling in Latin America.