The Epic Story of The Lafayette Escadrille: An Afternoon with Maurin Picard

Saturday, May 11 at 3pm, join Maurin Picard as he tells a story of audacity and courage, based on his latest book, L’Epopée Lafayette (The Lafayette Escadrille), just published in France with Alisio. In L’Epopée Lafayette, Picard investigates the story of a handful of volunteers, the spiritual sons of the Marquis de La Fayette, who joined the ranks of a Franco-American fighter squadron and, between April 1916 and February 1918, scoured the Western Front in Dantean and heroic confrontations.

In 1916, France had already been holding out against the Prussian steamroller for two years. The United States watched from afar, staunchly isolationist. But a handful of individuals were determined to come to the aid of their oldest ally, in the name of “the noblest of all causes” – civilization – in the face of the barbarity of the invader.
Enlisted in the Foreign Legion or flying ambulances on the front line, they set up a volunteer squadron, exploiting their science of flight or their extraordinary courage to pilot frail biplanes through the glowing skies of Verdun and the Somme. From the Vosges to the North Sea. the thirty-eight aviators quickly proved their worth, transforming the N 124 “La Fayette” into an elite unit. Their exploits were chronicled in the newspapers, their eccentricities recounted with relish, and their losses commemorated with military honors. It took a few brave young men to sway American public opinion. On April 6, 1917, the United States declared war on Germany.

This event will be in English. It is free with RSVP. Click here for tickets.

Maurin Picard is the author of Des héros ordinaires (Perrin); Métamorphoses des Etats-Unis depuis 1965 (éditions Henri Dougier); Le Manoir, Histoire et histoires de la Maison Blanche (Perrin); Ils ont tué Monsieur H. Congo, 1961, le complot des mercenaires (Seuil); and L’Epopée Lafayette (Alisio). Picard is the correspondent of the French newspaper Le Figaro in New York City.