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Flashman Paperback – Mar 4 1999


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: UK General Books (March 4 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0006511252
  • ISBN-13: 978-0006511250
  • Product Dimensions: 13 x 2.1 x 19.7 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 222 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (34 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #37,115 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

'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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4.7 out of 5 stars
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By Dave_42 TOP 1000 REVIEWER on Dec 9 2009
Format: Paperback
... 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: Paperback
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 describing the Flashman novels because above all else, they are bloody good fun.
This first novel, which describes Flashman's entry into adulthood after expulsion from Rugby school for being found inhebriated in a wheelbarrow, scorches along at a tremendous pace, immersing you in the nineteenth century world, with all its blemishes and contradictions.
It will lead you to a war in Afghanistan that I would imagine 99% of readers would not have formerly known about (I certainly didn't), but you will never forget the characters he meets, most of whom actually existed. I admit to a certain wry smile when I see items on the news about Afghanistan nowadays, what with the mujahedin and the Taliban, when I think of what their ancestors did to the British Army all those years ago.
I heard George Macdonald Fraser comment recently that when this novel was originally released, certain American critics mistook it for a genuine memoir and acclaimed it as a historical find of genuine importance. In some ways this was an understandable mistake as most of the truly outrageous incidents in the book actually happened and the fictional embellishments are skillfully woven around these.
If you have not yet read any of the Flashman Papers, buy or steal a copy, give any PC sensibilities a week off and enter the wonderful world of Harry Flashman, gentleman, bounder, cad, adventurer, philanderer and studious observer of the underbelly of the Victorian world.
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Format: Paperback
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 Royal Flash). I can say with certainty that George MacDonald Fraser significantly influenced not only my writing style but also the way I view the world. Fraser taught me to reject sugar coatings, mindless patriotism, and deification of historical figures, and to look at past events with a new and critical eye. Note that most heroes ARE anti-heroes to some degree; they just had friendly biographers to hide their flaws. The genius of the Flashman series is that the heroic/mythic veneer is stripped away to reveal the human underneath. (Flashy, of course, takes roguishness to an outrageous degree, which is a major reason why the series is so funny, though sometimes the laughter is shocked laughter.)
As for the writing, well... IMHO, Fraser is one of the best writers of the late 20th century. Nobody does battle scenes as well as he does. No one explains political motivations as well. Nobody makes history more palatable or weaves it into the story so naturally. And there are few characters as well drawn as Flashy, who is strangely likable despite his behavior.
For the record, I'm a woman, and I don't have any problem with the depiction of women in this and the other books. It's fiction, and Flashy's behavior has to be taken in the context of the times. (Frankly, if he'd behaved like, say, the wholly unbelievable folk who populated the historical travesty that was Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman, I'd've been bored stiff after three pages.)
So read this first book to familiarize yourself with the character, but know that it isn't the best-written of the series. Fraser really settles in with Flashy's voice in the second book, Royal Flash, and just gets better from there!
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