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Flashman [Paperback]

George M Fraser
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (35 customer reviews)
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Book Description

March 4 1999 The Flashman Papers (Book 1)

Flashman, soldier, duellist, lover, imposter, coward, cad, and hero, triumphs in this first installment of The Flashman Papers. His adventures as the reluctant secret agent in Afghanistan and his entry into the exclusive company of Lord Cardigan's Hussars culminate in his foulest hour- his part in the historic disaster of the Retreat from Kabul.

This is the story of a blackguard who enjoyed villainy for its own sake. Shameless, exciting, and funny, Flashman's deplorable odyssey is observed with the cynical eyeof a scoundrel who was honest only in reporting what he saw. He makes all other black sheep look respectably grey.

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'The Flashman Papers do what all great sagas do - winning new admirers along the way but never, ever betraying old ones. It is an immense achievement.' Sunday Telegraph 'Not so much a march as a full-blooded charge, fortified by the usual lashings of salty sex, meticulously choreographed battle scenes and hilariously spineless acts of self preservation by Flashman.' Sunday Times 'Not only are the Flashman books extremely funny, but they give meticulous care to authenticity. You can, between the guffaws, learn from them.' Washington Post 'A first-rate historical novelist' Kingsley Amis

About the Author

The author of the famous Flashman Papers and the Private McAuslan stories, George MacDonald Fraser has worked on newspapers in Britain and Canada. In addition to his novels he has also written numeous films, most notably The Three Musketeers, The Four Musketeers, and the James Bond film, Octopussy.

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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
4.7 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars More of Flashman May 17 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Instant Flashman...I love it! I search high and low years ago for the entire series...and it was going to cost me a ton of money.Not any more...you have all of them for a fraction of the cost...
What a great service!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Whatever Became Of... Dec 9 2009
By Dave_42 TOP 500 REVIEWER
... the school bully? George MacDonald Fraser (April 2nd, 1925 - January 2nd, 2008) answers that question for one of the most famous bullies in literature. "Flashman" is the book which kicks off the series of books in which Fraser lets us know what happened next in the life of the Bully from Thomas Hughes' "Tom Brown's Schooldays". Harry Paget Flashman is the anti-hero of this series of books, and it all starts here as Flashman takes up the narrative, after correcting Hughes on one important manner and proceeds to tell the story of the rest of his life. This volume, the first of "The Flashman Papers" series, deals with the years 1839 - 1842 and takes us from dealing with being kicked out of Rugby through his service in the first Anglo-Afghan War.

Fraser does a wonderful job of taking Thomas Hughes' school bully and creating a life consistent with someone who never grows out of the same type of behavior. The narrative is humorous and from a character perspective open and honest, as who would know better than Harry Flashman the cowardly actions he takes throughout his life, and the undeserved rewards which he is given. The key to the story though is that Fraser is true to the character as defined by Hughes. Although certainly a despicable character, he does have the ability to use his charm, and he has an incredible amount of luck which prevents most people from finding out his serious deficiencies of character.

One fairly minor point which detracts slightly from the overall effort is that there are a few too many references back to Hughes. It suits its purpose well at the start of the book, but becomes unnecessary and in some cases interrupts the narrative when it occurs later in the book.
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Format:Audio Cassette
I picked up the audio version of this book at the library and found I was forced to listen to one tape after another, I just couldn't stop listening.
As other reviewers have noted it is, for modern times, a politically incorrect tale with racial and sexual descriptions, language and actions that will offend some. But on the whole it comes off very well, especially when considering that the 'hero' is really an anti-hero. And that his thoughts and actions can be viewed as a parody of the self-serving, self-interested and self-promoting individual (or something like that).
Anyway, it is a worthwhile, entertaining story and the reading (of the audio version) by West is excellent.
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5.0 out of 5 stars the best of Flashman Nov. 21 2001
By Kay Cee
This is the first and the best of the Flashman series. I first read this book back in 1990 and it combines history with a good dash of humor. George MacDonald Fraser brings the British Empire and the men who made it to life. Typical of some the comments in the book is when Brigadier Shelton comments on his Commander-in Chief shooting himself in the arse, " no doubt in an attempt to blow his brains out. He couldn't have missed by much" I definitely recommend this book to anyone.
Unfortunately the Flashman series got a bit stale with the years. The only one worth reading after this is Flashman and the great game.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Soldier Svejk's not so brave grandfather Sept. 26 2001
By B. Gone
Last year I read the first of the O'Brian Aubrey/Maturin novels. I really could not understand what all the fuss was about. Reading similarly positive reviews on Fraser's Flashman series, I initially hesitated, afraid of another O'Brianesque disappointment, but here I thank my fellow reviewers for their convincing arguments.
Considering it at first glance, Fraser set himself an almost impossible task to combine an accurate history lesson with the memoir of a drinking, whoring, raping, conniving coward. Yet, the results are both highly informative and extremely entertaining/funny.
Flashman has a clear predecessor in Hasek's brave soldier Svejk. Yet, Flashman's sense of self-preservation and -promotion, add a contemporary edge, that make him so appealing to mankind entering the 21st century. When reading biographies of contemporary icons like Bill Gates and Steve Jobs, you often wonder what really took place at the critical moments of their heroic careers. I would not be surprised, if those two -and many, many others for that matter- each had armies of Flashmans in their closets.
The history writing in this book really has the classic feel of two of my high school staples: Ceasar's "de bello gallico" and Xenophon's "anabasis". The comedy writing sometimes equals the level of Gargantua, Don Quichote and Tom Jones.
There are so many gems throughout the book that it is hard to choose a favorite, but for me Flashman's attempt at fornication on the horrific retreat from Afghanistan is one of the greatest tour de forces in the history of comedy writing. After reading it, even Sigmund Freud might have considered adding another chapter to "der Witz".
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5.0 out of 5 stars Triumph of the Wicked! Aug. 28 2001
Fraser is an absolute master of historical fiction. In this, the first effort in the acclaimed "Flashman" series, Fraser is at the top of his game. In this spare, but well crafted narrative we follow the early career of the datardly and unrepentant scoundrel, Harry Flashman in the first Afghanistan War. It is rare that a book can make you howl with laughter while teaching you history at the same time. Flashman undergoes a harrowing experience on the retreat from Kabul, in the process becoming one of the most delightfully politically-incorrect heroes in popular fiction. The character is wonderful, the plot is superb, and the history is dead-on accurate. Any fans of historical fiction (with a mature sense of humor) would do well to make the acquaintance of Sir Harry Flashman. And this is the place to start.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars A hugely enjoyable yet learned romp through the 19th C
I have to agree with an earlier reviewer who described George Macdonald Fraser as one of the best writers of the late 20th century - yet you do not want to get too precious when... Read more
Published on July 3 2001
4.0 out of 5 stars Four stars because the later books are even better!
I've been reading the Flashman books for close on two decades now, after learning about them in an interview with Richard Lester (who directed the disappointing movie version of... Read more
Published on June 17 2001 by ShowTunes
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant, Superb and 1001 other superlatives
How many of us.. with a low chuckle and under our breath murmur... "flashy"... with a smile on our faces, whilst reading the flashman series, when our hero gets into one of his... Read more
Published on May 28 2001 by "austin_ed"
4.0 out of 5 stars A scurrilous historical romp
Having read Tom Brown's Schooldays and thoroughly enjoyed it, I was initially perturbed by the idea of Flashman being developed into an anti-hero figure. Read more
Published on May 28 2001 by Gordon Neill
5.0 out of 5 stars WOW
In a good week, I read two books. So, over the past ten years, that makes...well you do the math. Out of all of them over the past 10 years, I have to rank "Flashman"... Read more
Published on Jan. 26 2001 by "frnick"
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Storytelling!
George MacDonald Fraser kept me on the edge of my seat while reading his delightful novel. With an abilty to get in to situations where the courageous cower, the cad known as... Read more
Published on Nov. 30 2000 by Lawrence Domkowski
4.0 out of 5 stars A less than honorable Indiana Jones
I liked this book regardless of the myriad offenses it contains. "Flashman" offers a wild ride from beginning to end. However, it must be read with a sense of humor. Read more
Published on Nov. 22 2000 by Jan McGreger
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