Steiner is a true anomaly--a principled mercenary. The currency he's after is not money but glory. A German who witnessed the collapse of the Third Reich at twelve, he seems to have internalized Germanic notions of military valor. His adventures--here recounted with a sang-froid that precludes much emotional pull--begin at 17 when he joins the French Foreign Legion and end (for the time being) when he is released from a Khartoum jail where he was kept for almost four years for aiding South Sudan's black Christian rebels. In between, Steiner fought for the French in Indonesia, joined with the OAS in Algeria, and--his most fervent campaign--created and led a brigade of black Ibo rebels in their losing struggle for Biafran independence from Nigeria. Of the ideological gamut he's spanned, he seems scarcely aware. But he insists on not being lumped with ""the paid killers in the Congo"" and deplores the use of torture in military actions. Much of this adventure is military history, guerrilla style, as Steiner recounts the battles to throw back the tightening vise around Biafra and the derring-do of ""my Black Legion"" of whom he is inordinately proud. His story--and his mentality--will probably remain obscure to Americans though in Europe this self-styled Paladin of the Third World apparently has gained considerable notoriety.