Frederic-Louis Sauser was born on September 1, 1887 in La Chaux-de-Fonds in the Swiss canton of Neuchatel. At the outbreak of World War I, Cendrars—a fictitious name he assumed in 1907—joined the Foreign Legion. His military career was out short when he lost his right arm as a result of a wound. Adapting to his handicap he learned to type, write, and drive with his left hand. He returned to Paris and continued to write and serve as editor for the Editions de la Sirene as well as show an interest in moviemaking. Cendrars died in Paris in 1961.