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Harry Flashman’s imperial morality George MacDonald Fraser's 'Flashman'

Problematic or profound? (Royal Flash/ 20th Century Fox)


December 27, 2022   7 mins

I suppose it’s only a matter of time before the times catch up with George MacDonald Fraser’s Flashman books. One can imagine the scene: an earnest young editor picks up a copy of the books, drawn to them by the enthusiastic plaudits on the jackets, waiting for that “watcher-of-the-skies-when-a-new-planet” feeling promised by the blurb from the sainted P.G. Wodehouse.

At first, the book is promising. Its central conceit is inspired: suppose one were to take up from Thomas Hughes’s worthy Victorian classic of boarding school life, Tom Brown’s Schooldays, a relatively minor character — a bully called Flashman — and imagine his life after he was expelled from Rugby. Suppose one were then, ingeniously, to place him in every major colonial (mis)adventure of the Victorian age, starting with the first Afghan War. Suppose one were to keep his original attributes (his cowardice, his intemperance, his spectacular selfishness) but combine them with some useful gifts (for riding, for picking up new languages). Would that not be a neat way to write a historical novel, mixing up the real characters with the invented, and presenting the whole story as the recently-discovered memoirs of a genuine Victorian military hero, reflecting in old age on his ill-spent life — lying, shirking, philandering?

But a couple of chapters in, the racial slurs are flowing like water; the copious sex is entirely consensual only, at a generous estimate, 60% of the time. The tone is that of a romp, the British Empire depicted as a setting in which defrocked public schoolboys might find themselves a little adventure. Reading the author’s words in his own voice does not help. His breezy defences of his hero’s racism, in an essay that appears in most recent editions of the books, are staggering in their complacency: “of course he is [racist]; why should he be different from the rest of humanity?” Aren’t these books seriously… problematic?

There is a case for seeing this hypothetical editor’s views as having a certain integrity. After all, they reflect a hard-won contemporary consensus about the wrongs of both racism and sexism. But they also reflect a trend authors will know well from their recent interactions with editors and agents: the view that to publish a book is to be willing to take responsibility for its contents, as if one had written it oneself. That means, effectively, that an editor’s ambivalence about the morals of a book or its characters are enough to justify not publishing it.

In their insistence on judging the value of a work of art principally in terms of its moral qualities, the publishers of today are heirs to a tradition of puritanism going back to Plato. But there has long been an anti-puritanical argument available too, the most notorious of them being the one articulated by Oscar Wilde: that to assess art in moral terms is to commit some sort of category mistake. “There is no such thing as a moral or an immoral book. Books are well-written, or badly written. That is all.” But that argument was never very persuasive by itself, and contains a large non sequitur. Why should that be “all”? Why can’t it be that part of what we’re saying in calling a book well-written is that it is morally exemplary? Surely it is those who call on us to leave our moral values at the door who have some explaining to do.

George MacDonald Fraser himself sometimes seemed to take Wilde’s view of the matter. He zealously repudiated, in his non-fiction, all attempts to defend his fiction as covertly anti-colonial, taking great pleasure in mocking critics who “hailed it as a scathing attack on British imperialism”. Was he “taking revenge on the 19 century on behalf of the 20th”? “Waging war on Victorian hypocrisy”? Were the books, as one religious journal was supposed to have claimed, “the work of a sensitive moralist” highly relevant to “the study of ethics”? No, he said, The Flashman Papers were to be taken “at face value, as an adventure story dressed up as the memoirs of an unrepentant old cad”.

Is Fraser’s avowed amoralism the whole story? In one respect, the Flashman books are certainly amoral: they embody no systematic view that colonialism was wrong, illegitimate, unjust. (Nor, come to it, do they embody the view that it was right, legitimate and just.) As Fraser appears to see it in his fiction, empire was simply the default mode of political life in much of the world. This indeed was the case for much of human history. To be colonised was generally a misfortune for the colonised, but the individual coloniser was neither hero nor villain, just a self-interested actor acting on what he believed to be the necessities of his time and place.

We live in a world where we are constantly exercised by the problem of complicity. We wonder: am I complicit in climate change because I just put on the washing machine? In a sufficiently inclusive sense of the word “complicit”, of course I am: one of countless agents whose everyday actions add a tiny bit more carbon to the atmosphere. But outside an ethics seminar, what I’d tell you is that I was just doing my laundry because the clothes were beginning to stink.

Fraser was a deft enough writer to force his characters to confront the larger, what we today might call “structural” questions, in terms that belong to their own times, not to ours. At a pivotal moment in Flash for Freedom, Flashman is enslaved himself in America. Thrown into a cart with a charismatic slave called Cassy, he gets to hear her relish the irony of his position: “Well, now one of you knows what it feels like… Now you know what a filthy race you belong to.” Is there any hope of escape, he asks her desperately. None, she replies, “there isn’t any hope. Where can you run to, in this vile country? This land of freedom! With slave-catchers everywhere, and dogs, and whipping-houses, and laws that say I’m no better than a beast in a sty!” Flashman has the grace to be silent; what can he say?

The characters in the Flashman books, like most citizens of imperial powers in the 19th century, shared in this silence. Empire was the background to their world, much as capitalism is to ours. One needn’t have any kind of high moral view of its aims — spreading civilisation, for instance, or the true religion — to see in it the most reliable source of decent employment, and, if one didn’t die of cholera first, of adventure.

Here lies a major subject of contemporary discussion: how (if at all) we apportion responsibility for something called “structural injustice”, and whether it can be projected back into an age before anyone had recognised that there was such a thing. There are more and less demanding pictures available to us now of what the recognition of complicity demands from an individual. But any sane view of the matter has to allow for moral distinctions between the actions of different people within an unjust system. Not every bureaucrat in Thirties Germany was the moral equivalent of a concentration camp guard.

Fraser was notoriously averse to acknowledging any such complexity in his non-fictional pronouncements. He said of his experience of the end of empire in India simply that it was “the end of an old and glorious song, and I was lucky to be part of it”. His imagination had, after all, been stocked with the “stout-hearted stories for boys which my father won as school prizes in the 1890s”. Reading the works of Walter Scott, among others, taught him that the history of empire was like all history, in being “one tremendous adventure story”. His own military experience in Burma gave him a real feel for the landscapes in which that history had taken place — India, China, Malaya, Australia, Benin, Madagascar — and his subsequent experience as a journalist gave him a “lust for finding the truth behind the received opinion”. That truthfulness he gave to his anti-hero, making one of Flashman’s few virtues his “shameless honesty as a memorialist”.

Aris Roussinos, writing in these pages earlier this year, suggested plausibly that “the Flashman novels became a means for Fraser to process his own experiences of war, and loss and change, and to express his political and moral feelings with a complexity and ambiguity he was incapable of achieving in his memoirs”. The reason the Flashman stories could have been read as exposĂ©s of Victorian hypocrisy is not hard to find: their narrator frequently complains about it. The callous stupidity of leaders, both military and civilian, is Flashman’s great bugbear. He is in an especially good position to see both their callousness and their stupidity for what they were, because he does not have the high ideals — of the white man’s proverbial burden, for instance — that would encourage him to put a nobler complexion on them. He is a cad, but so in his view are the much-fĂȘted men he is required to obey (Disraeli, Palmerston, Raglan of the infamous Charge of the Light Brigade); maybe it takes one to know one.

It is the avowed commitment to this sort of truthfulness that complicates the story Fraser wanted to tell about himself. The journal he mocked for treating his novels as the work of a serious moralist had in fact got it right, as long as we distinguish (to borrow a pair of terms from the American philosopher Stanley Cavell) between a “moralist” and a “moraliser”, between someone talking at us and someone talking to us. Like other unreliable narrators, Flashman’s words — to echo John Lanchester on the amoral, over-sexed (but gay) hero of Alan Hollinghurst’s The Swimming-Pool Library — are “darkened by the pressure of another possible reading, a reading which has a deeper vision of life than the narrator’s”. In Flashman in the Great Game, set during what colonial sources used to call the Indian ‘mutiny’ of 1857, Flashman briefly sets down the final moments in the life of a British riding-master, who has just been struck down by Indian cavalrymen he once trained himself. The old man is neither indignant nor self-pitying. Flashman informs us that he

coughed blood, and his voice trailed away into a whisper. “They shaped well, though…didn’t they…shape well? My Bengalis…” He closed his eyes. “I thought they shaped…uncommon well
”

The so-called mutineers are heroes, skilled fighters in a cause they see as just; but so too are the men they had, until recently, obeyed without question, decent men who did their jobs honourably, failing only — like most people — to think hard enough about the system that made it all possible. It is possible to be wholly on the side of the “Bengali” rebels and still find these dying words both intelligible and moving. It would be a cruel principle of literary criticism, and a silly one, that insisted that our anti-colonial sympathies had not merely to supersede all our other sentiments but to dictate them. But some styles of modern criticism seeking out only what is “problematic” in old fiction appears committed to just such a principle.

There is more in the Flashman stories than even their author was willing, or able, to admit. One might say that they “tell the truth about empire”, but that is an unintelligent phrase if it means that there is one truth to tell about empire. Like other large historical phenomena — the spread or decline of Christianity, the Industrial Revolution, modernity — there are countless truths to tell about it. All we can try to do is to be truthful: to get the facts right, and to be honest about our reactions to them. The Flashman stories remind us, at a time when we seem to need these reminders, that a morally serious history need be neither simple nor humourless.


Nikhil Krishnan is a Fellow in Philosophy at Robinson College, Cambridge. His book, A Terribly Serious Adventure: Philosophy at Oxford: 1900–1960, will be published by Profile in 2023.


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Mark Melvin
Mark Melvin
1 year ago

I do not understand why you cannot just read a book, listen to music, visit museums and so on just for the pure bloody enjoyment of it. The Flashman books are enjoyable escapism pure and simple. Think no more than that. The author is a Fellow in Philosophy I see. How many people buy his books I wonder? 600 pages of turgid prose. I used to select (gulp and therefore had to read) financial books for a US university and my goodness those 1,000 page books are dull. Give me 220 pages of Flashy any day of the week.

Peter B
Peter B
1 year ago
Reply to  Mark Melvin

Indeed. These books are for entertainment (and very good at that) and not intended to be some sort of factual historical record or instruction manual.
Too many academics with too much time on their hands.

Howard Gleave
Howard Gleave
1 year ago
Reply to  Mark Melvin

Indeed. Last year, I read all the Flashman books at one go. I had to ration myself to x pages a day, give or take. The way Flashman, as the hero, or anti-hero, is woven seamlessly into meticulously researched historical fact is brilliant and an utterly compelling way of learning about Victorian history. I only have one regret… that Macdonald-Fraser never got to locate Flashy in the American Civil War. As rip-roaring storytelling fused with history, the Flashman Papers arguably have no equal.

Peter B
Peter B
1 year ago
Reply to  Mark Melvin

Indeed. These books are for entertainment (and very good at that) and not intended to be some sort of factual historical record or instruction manual.
Too many academics with too much time on their hands.

Howard Gleave
Howard Gleave
1 year ago
Reply to  Mark Melvin

Indeed. Last year, I read all the Flashman books at one go. I had to ration myself to x pages a day, give or take. The way Flashman, as the hero, or anti-hero, is woven seamlessly into meticulously researched historical fact is brilliant and an utterly compelling way of learning about Victorian history. I only have one regret… that Macdonald-Fraser never got to locate Flashy in the American Civil War. As rip-roaring storytelling fused with history, the Flashman Papers arguably have no equal.

Mark Melvin
Mark Melvin
1 year ago

I do not understand why you cannot just read a book, listen to music, visit museums and so on just for the pure bloody enjoyment of it. The Flashman books are enjoyable escapism pure and simple. Think no more than that. The author is a Fellow in Philosophy I see. How many people buy his books I wonder? 600 pages of turgid prose. I used to select (gulp and therefore had to read) financial books for a US university and my goodness those 1,000 page books are dull. Give me 220 pages of Flashy any day of the week.

Jonas Moze
Jonas Moze
1 year ago

The writer, MacDonald-Fraser’s book of his time in the war against the Ja*s in Burma, as he called them – (this dainty writer likely found that offensive too) – but his book of his account of fighting across Burma, ‘Quartered Safe Out Here‘ is a Must Read for everyone. It is widely regarded as one of the best First Person stories of life lived in combat. And as I say – everyone should read it because it is so out of our experience, but is such a part of the human expierence. We all know of WWII, but this gives the story from the foot solider – and it is upbeat, great read, and really good.

Kipling

”You may talk o’ gin and beer   
When you’re quartered safe out ’ere,   
An’ you’re sent to penny-fights an’ Aldershot it;
But when it comes to slaughter   
You will do your work on water,
An’ you’ll lick the bloomin’ boots of ’im that’s got it.   
Now in Injia’s sunny clime,   
Where I used to spend my time   
A-servin’ of ’Er Majesty the Queen,   
Of all them blac* faced crew   
The finest man I knew
Was our regimental bhisti, Gunga Din, ”

I liked MacDonald-Fraser’s MacAuslan books too – comedy of ‘the dirtiest solder in HM Army’, but dirty as in unwashed, incompetent, drunk, tardy, – not in the Flashman vein, not a cad or mean – just an immovable force of sloth and incompetence – like the American ‘Sad Sack’ solider, or the Fantastic WWI character which is a light, yet dark, comedy of a lost cause solider of WWI and was very popular, a military classic of its day.

‘The Good Soldier Ć vejk [a] ( pronounced [ˈʃvɛjk]) is an unfinished satirical dark comedy novel by Czech writer Jaroslav HaĆĄek, published in 1921-1923,’

A solider of dry, even dark, incompetent comedy from all three armies and wars showing an archetype of what all goes into the sausage grinder of conscription – that are forever the albatross around a young Lieutenant’s neck….and used to show the other side of war. the one exemplified by the old Army acronyms of FUBAR and SNAFU… haha, life. You can be sure some of them marched in Caesar’s armies too….

And as far as this article….. the word snowflake hovers over it like smoke from Winston’s cigar….

Allison Barrows
Allison Barrows
1 year ago
Reply to  Jonas Moze

Jonas, I always look forward to your comments. I think ‘ol Flashy would have liked you, too, even after you devised a devilishly macabre permanent farewell for him. Truly, if kids of both sexes read GMF’s wonderful books – fully accurate and unstinting in cruelty on every side – they’d perhaps be less inclined to the “two minutes of hate” they’re all engaging in via the new soma, social media.
Anyway, best wishes to you and fingers crossed for all of us in the new year! Hope to see you in this forum regularly in 2023 – if we’re still allowed!

Last edited 1 year ago by Allison Barrows
Jonas Moze
Jonas Moze
1 year ago

Thanks – depends how long they let me be here ranting into the void…haha, all my life I have gone up the down staircase, and it never lasts too long till I get invited to take my business elsewhere… I remember you from the beginning – when it was free here, us few still here – some good ones gone though. Hi Charles….

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  Jonas Moze

Yes good, happy days, particularly through all that COVID, (to lapse into the vernacular) crap!

Still we are still standing and long may it remain so!

Vale!

Ian Stewart
Ian Stewart
1 year ago
Reply to  Jonas Moze

I see a lot of celebrities in the media bang on about challenging conformity, or going up the down staircase as you put it, in their desperate efforts to look rebelliously cool. A lot of films and books portray this theme too. How boring to be so conventional they cry! Suburban tedium indeed.

Well it’s tougher to challenge the cool kids of rebellion – that’s a different staircase to ascend – defending family, seeing the benefits of conformity, respecting religion.

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  Jonas Moze

Yes good, happy days, particularly through all that COVID, (to lapse into the vernacular) crap!

Still we are still standing and long may it remain so!

Vale!

Ian Stewart
Ian Stewart
1 year ago
Reply to  Jonas Moze

I see a lot of celebrities in the media bang on about challenging conformity, or going up the down staircase as you put it, in their desperate efforts to look rebelliously cool. A lot of films and books portray this theme too. How boring to be so conventional they cry! Suburban tedium indeed.

Well it’s tougher to challenge the cool kids of rebellion – that’s a different staircase to ascend – defending family, seeing the benefits of conformity, respecting religion.

Jonas Moze
Jonas Moze
1 year ago

Thanks – depends how long they let me be here ranting into the void…haha, all my life I have gone up the down staircase, and it never lasts too long till I get invited to take my business elsewhere… I remember you from the beginning – when it was free here, us few still here – some good ones gone though. Hi Charles….

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  Jonas Moze

I couldn’t agree more about ‘Quartered Safe Out Here’, a wonderful evocation of the ‘Border Regiment’ dealing with the Japanese in Burma. It rather reminds me of Dr Johnson’s famous quip “ “Every man thinks meanly of himself for not having been a soldier, or not having been at sea”, as well as reminding us that it is the Infantry that does the fighting and the Infantry that does the dying!

Flashman is simply splendid. My only regret is that in his distinguished career he never seems to have served in Ireland, which was unfortunate. I often wonder what he would have been up to during the Famine?

As for Gunga Din it really should be quoted in full, but no doubt that would be too much for the UhHerd censors, and many of the commentators.

I haven’t read ‘The Good Soldier Ơvejk, so have something to look forward to, thank you.
I have always thought ‘Storm of Steel’ by Ernst JĂŒnger takes some beating when it comes to the Great War. None of that mawkish drivel but on the contrary, pure exhilaration.

All the very best for 2023!

David Lye
David Lye
1 year ago

I vouch for The Good Soldier Ć vejk; it’s a delight.

Nicky Samengo-Turner
Nicky Samengo-Turner
1 year ago

just a normal Cherry Picker Officer…

Will Will
Will Will
1 year ago

I first read the quote “Every man thinks meanly of himself for not having been a soldier
” as an epigraph in Lt Col Mitchell’s book “Having Been a Soldier”.

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  Will Will

A good man Colin Mitchell, and a splendid career that covered WWII, Palestine, Korea, Cyprus, Borneo-Indonesia and last but certainly NOT least Aden.

Will Will
Will Will
1 year ago

Absolutely.

Nicky Samengo-Turner
Nicky Samengo-Turner
1 year ago

Irish, Coldstream Guards, QDG and Paras in Aden might not agree…

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago

Northumberland Fusiliers would, and they should know.

Nicky Samengo-Turner
Nicky Samengo-Turner
1 year ago

Fair comment

Nicky Samengo-Turner
Nicky Samengo-Turner
1 year ago

Fair comment

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago

Northumberland Fusiliers would, and they should know.

Will Will
Will Will
1 year ago

Absolutely.

Nicky Samengo-Turner
Nicky Samengo-Turner
1 year ago

Irish, Coldstream Guards, QDG and Paras in Aden might not agree…

Jonas Moze
Jonas Moze
1 year ago
Reply to  Will Will

Shakespeare Henry V

‘We few, we happy few, we band of brothers;
For he to-day that sheds his blood with me
Shall be my brother; be he ne’er so vile,
This day shall gentle his condition;
And gentlemen in England now a-bed
Shall think themselves accurs’d they were not here,
And hold their manhoods cheap whiles any speaks
That fought with us upon Saint Crispin’s day.’

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  Will Will

A good man Colin Mitchell, and a splendid career that covered WWII, Palestine, Korea, Cyprus, Borneo-Indonesia and last but certainly NOT least Aden.

Jonas Moze
Jonas Moze
1 year ago
Reply to  Will Will

Shakespeare Henry V

‘We few, we happy few, we band of brothers;
For he to-day that sheds his blood with me
Shall be my brother; be he ne’er so vile,
This day shall gentle his condition;
And gentlemen in England now a-bed
Shall think themselves accurs’d they were not here,
And hold their manhoods cheap whiles any speaks
That fought with us upon Saint Crispin’s day.’

Kerie Receveur
Kerie Receveur
1 year ago

The McAuslan books are wonderful too. At one point, thinking about that Johnson quote, GMF considers what a platoon consisting of Socrates, Ben Jonson, Lincoln, Cobbett, Bunyan, E.A. Poe, Gibbon, Cervantes, John Knox and Thomas Cromwell might have been like ….

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  Kerie Receveur

Unstoppable!

Kerie Receveur
Kerie Receveur
1 year ago

If they ever got started … can you imagine parades with that lot??!

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  Kerie Receveur

I doubt very much if even the renowned Regimental Sergeant Major Ronald Brittain, MBE MSM, Coldstream Guards (1899 – 1981) could have stopped them.

Nicky Samengo-Turner
Nicky Samengo-Turner
1 year ago

or our ” Perry” Mason of ” Black Alec” Dumon!

Nicky Samengo-Turner
Nicky Samengo-Turner
1 year ago

or our ” Perry” Mason of ” Black Alec” Dumon!

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  Kerie Receveur

I doubt very much if even the renowned Regimental Sergeant Major Ronald Brittain, MBE MSM, Coldstream Guards (1899 – 1981) could have stopped them.

Kerie Receveur
Kerie Receveur
1 year ago

If they ever got started … can you imagine parades with that lot??!

Hilary Easton
Hilary Easton
1 year ago
Reply to  Kerie Receveur

Hmm, makes me think of the Monty Python philosophers football match, Ancient Greeks versus Germans.

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  Hilary Easton

Final score 3-1.

Howard Gleave
Howard Gleave
1 year ago

Damn! No spoiler alert!

Howard Gleave
Howard Gleave
1 year ago

Damn! No spoiler alert!

Kerie Receveur
Kerie Receveur
1 year ago
Reply to  Hilary Easton

Or the Goon Show (“The Histories of Pliny the Elder”) – Romans 900 – England 3. War stopped play.

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  Hilary Easton

Final score 3-1.

Kerie Receveur
Kerie Receveur
1 year ago
Reply to  Hilary Easton

Or the Goon Show (“The Histories of Pliny the Elder”) – Romans 900 – England 3. War stopped play.

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  Kerie Receveur

Unstoppable!

Hilary Easton
Hilary Easton
1 year ago
Reply to  Kerie Receveur

Hmm, makes me think of the Monty Python philosophers football match, Ancient Greeks versus Germans.

David Lye
David Lye
1 year ago

I vouch for The Good Soldier Ć vejk; it’s a delight.

Nicky Samengo-Turner
Nicky Samengo-Turner
1 year ago

just a normal Cherry Picker Officer…

Will Will
Will Will
1 year ago

I first read the quote “Every man thinks meanly of himself for not having been a soldier
” as an epigraph in Lt Col Mitchell’s book “Having Been a Soldier”.

Kerie Receveur
Kerie Receveur
1 year ago

The McAuslan books are wonderful too. At one point, thinking about that Johnson quote, GMF considers what a platoon consisting of Socrates, Ben Jonson, Lincoln, Cobbett, Bunyan, E.A. Poe, Gibbon, Cervantes, John Knox and Thomas Cromwell might have been like ….

Rocky Martiano
Rocky Martiano
1 year ago
Reply to  Jonas Moze

Another huge thumbs up from me for ‘Quartered Safe Out Here’, one of the best first hand accounts of the horror, fear and exhilaration of infantry fighting in an unfamiliar foreign land.
I’m more of a non-fiction fan so haven’t read much Flashman, but for God’s sake, is there any area of literature that these woke academics haven’t raked over, scavenging for traces of colonial heresy?

Angelique Todesco
Angelique Todesco
1 year ago
Reply to  Jonas Moze

Jonas was it you who recommended Home from the Hill by Colonel Hook a while back? If so I took the recommendation and read it over the summer. It was a beautiful book and was such a great example of looking at the colonial period from a complex point of view of positives and negatives through the eyes of someone who was there. I think it should be mandatory reading for young people, to see that not everything is black and white in life and history.

Allison Barrows
Allison Barrows
1 year ago
Reply to  Jonas Moze

Jonas, I always look forward to your comments. I think ‘ol Flashy would have liked you, too, even after you devised a devilishly macabre permanent farewell for him. Truly, if kids of both sexes read GMF’s wonderful books – fully accurate and unstinting in cruelty on every side – they’d perhaps be less inclined to the “two minutes of hate” they’re all engaging in via the new soma, social media.
Anyway, best wishes to you and fingers crossed for all of us in the new year! Hope to see you in this forum regularly in 2023 – if we’re still allowed!

Last edited 1 year ago by Allison Barrows
CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  Jonas Moze

I couldn’t agree more about ‘Quartered Safe Out Here’, a wonderful evocation of the ‘Border Regiment’ dealing with the Japanese in Burma. It rather reminds me of Dr Johnson’s famous quip “ “Every man thinks meanly of himself for not having been a soldier, or not having been at sea”, as well as reminding us that it is the Infantry that does the fighting and the Infantry that does the dying!

Flashman is simply splendid. My only regret is that in his distinguished career he never seems to have served in Ireland, which was unfortunate. I often wonder what he would have been up to during the Famine?

As for Gunga Din it really should be quoted in full, but no doubt that would be too much for the UhHerd censors, and many of the commentators.

I haven’t read ‘The Good Soldier Ơvejk, so have something to look forward to, thank you.
I have always thought ‘Storm of Steel’ by Ernst JĂŒnger takes some beating when it comes to the Great War. None of that mawkish drivel but on the contrary, pure exhilaration.

All the very best for 2023!

Rocky Martiano
Rocky Martiano
1 year ago
Reply to  Jonas Moze

Another huge thumbs up from me for ‘Quartered Safe Out Here’, one of the best first hand accounts of the horror, fear and exhilaration of infantry fighting in an unfamiliar foreign land.
I’m more of a non-fiction fan so haven’t read much Flashman, but for God’s sake, is there any area of literature that these woke academics haven’t raked over, scavenging for traces of colonial heresy?

Angelique Todesco
Angelique Todesco
1 year ago
Reply to  Jonas Moze

Jonas was it you who recommended Home from the Hill by Colonel Hook a while back? If so I took the recommendation and read it over the summer. It was a beautiful book and was such a great example of looking at the colonial period from a complex point of view of positives and negatives through the eyes of someone who was there. I think it should be mandatory reading for young people, to see that not everything is black and white in life and history.

Jonas Moze
Jonas Moze
1 year ago

The writer, MacDonald-Fraser’s book of his time in the war against the Ja*s in Burma, as he called them – (this dainty writer likely found that offensive too) – but his book of his account of fighting across Burma, ‘Quartered Safe Out Here‘ is a Must Read for everyone. It is widely regarded as one of the best First Person stories of life lived in combat. And as I say – everyone should read it because it is so out of our experience, but is such a part of the human expierence. We all know of WWII, but this gives the story from the foot solider – and it is upbeat, great read, and really good.

Kipling

”You may talk o’ gin and beer   
When you’re quartered safe out ’ere,   
An’ you’re sent to penny-fights an’ Aldershot it;
But when it comes to slaughter   
You will do your work on water,
An’ you’ll lick the bloomin’ boots of ’im that’s got it.   
Now in Injia’s sunny clime,   
Where I used to spend my time   
A-servin’ of ’Er Majesty the Queen,   
Of all them blac* faced crew   
The finest man I knew
Was our regimental bhisti, Gunga Din, ”

I liked MacDonald-Fraser’s MacAuslan books too – comedy of ‘the dirtiest solder in HM Army’, but dirty as in unwashed, incompetent, drunk, tardy, – not in the Flashman vein, not a cad or mean – just an immovable force of sloth and incompetence – like the American ‘Sad Sack’ solider, or the Fantastic WWI character which is a light, yet dark, comedy of a lost cause solider of WWI and was very popular, a military classic of its day.

‘The Good Soldier Ć vejk [a] ( pronounced [ˈʃvɛjk]) is an unfinished satirical dark comedy novel by Czech writer Jaroslav HaĆĄek, published in 1921-1923,’

A solider of dry, even dark, incompetent comedy from all three armies and wars showing an archetype of what all goes into the sausage grinder of conscription – that are forever the albatross around a young Lieutenant’s neck….and used to show the other side of war. the one exemplified by the old Army acronyms of FUBAR and SNAFU… haha, life. You can be sure some of them marched in Caesar’s armies too….

And as far as this article….. the word snowflake hovers over it like smoke from Winston’s cigar….

John Murray
John Murray
1 year ago

The final book Flashman on the March was written and published after the Iraq Invasion and has a rather pointed author’s note (grabbed from a google for it): “Flashman’s story is about a British army sent out in a good and honest cause by a government who knew what honour meant. (…) It went with the doubt that it was right. It served no politician’s vanity or interest. It went without messianic rhetoric. There were no false excuses, no deceits, no cover-ups or lies, just a decent resolve to do a government’s first duty: to protect its people, whatever the cost. To quote Flashman again, those were the days.”

Chris Keating
Chris Keating
1 year ago
Reply to  John Murray

I might be missing the irony in your comment but the British army of those days were the enablers of Empire and they got very little out of it, at least the lower orders anyway, as they crushed whole continents. Nothing much has changed and I would like to have shown what the ordinary British citizen has got from the delusions of the Ministry of Defense based on the lies and fabulations of the “intelligence” services who are still meddling, even in Ukraine which is only crucial to the best of British blowhards and nationalist delusionists.
The protection of British citizens is the least of their concerns.

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  Chris Keating

There was always Prize Money. The bungling Lord Combermere netted ÂŁ60,000 in 1826 for the sack of Bharatpur, and there are plenty of other examples.

No wonder Clive exclaimed “ I am amazed at my own moderation “!

Last edited 1 year ago by CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  Chris Keating

There was always Prize Money. The bungling Lord Combermere netted ÂŁ60,000 in 1826 for the sack of Bharatpur, and there are plenty of other examples.

No wonder Clive exclaimed “ I am amazed at my own moderation “!

Last edited 1 year ago by CHARLES STANHOPE
Chris Keating
Chris Keating
1 year ago
Reply to  John Murray

I might be missing the irony in your comment but the British army of those days were the enablers of Empire and they got very little out of it, at least the lower orders anyway, as they crushed whole continents. Nothing much has changed and I would like to have shown what the ordinary British citizen has got from the delusions of the Ministry of Defense based on the lies and fabulations of the “intelligence” services who are still meddling, even in Ukraine which is only crucial to the best of British blowhards and nationalist delusionists.
The protection of British citizens is the least of their concerns.

John Murray
John Murray
1 year ago

The final book Flashman on the March was written and published after the Iraq Invasion and has a rather pointed author’s note (grabbed from a google for it): “Flashman’s story is about a British army sent out in a good and honest cause by a government who knew what honour meant. (…) It went with the doubt that it was right. It served no politician’s vanity or interest. It went without messianic rhetoric. There were no false excuses, no deceits, no cover-ups or lies, just a decent resolve to do a government’s first duty: to protect its people, whatever the cost. To quote Flashman again, those were the days.”

Peter Lucey
Peter Lucey
1 year ago

A shout-out to GMF for the Flashman books’ excellent history lessons, and for keeping the pretence and style consistent over the series. A highly competent job!

Peter Lucey
Peter Lucey
1 year ago

A shout-out to GMF for the Flashman books’ excellent history lessons, and for keeping the pretence and style consistent over the series. A highly competent job!

Jerry Carroll
Jerry Carroll
1 year ago

Nikhil Krishman seems to favor sensitivity readers sticking fingers into the creative process before the editor gets in her last licks.You can’t have too many eyes scouring manuscripts for bits conceivably hurtful to the unwary book buyer coming upon them. No one must be given offense, especially the easily offended with access to one of the countless Twitter mobs that police behavior today. So rollicking adventure stories like George MacDonald Fraser wrote won’t be countenanced by the puritanical left that captured the published industry years ago. They offend too many modern-day sacred cows, to use a phrase that itself will be suppressed one day unless used with all due deference to its sacral roots . Projecting today’s cleansing moral values backward in time will deform popular and even serious literature and rob them of their savour and verisimilitude. Nobody will read them without yawns at their moral correctness, a problem already seen today. The Booker-prize winners generally speaking are a way of saying to readers pass on by, nothing to see here except angst or some form of victimhood.

Jerry Carroll
Jerry Carroll
1 year ago

Nikhil Krishman seems to favor sensitivity readers sticking fingers into the creative process before the editor gets in her last licks.You can’t have too many eyes scouring manuscripts for bits conceivably hurtful to the unwary book buyer coming upon them. No one must be given offense, especially the easily offended with access to one of the countless Twitter mobs that police behavior today. So rollicking adventure stories like George MacDonald Fraser wrote won’t be countenanced by the puritanical left that captured the published industry years ago. They offend too many modern-day sacred cows, to use a phrase that itself will be suppressed one day unless used with all due deference to its sacral roots . Projecting today’s cleansing moral values backward in time will deform popular and even serious literature and rob them of their savour and verisimilitude. Nobody will read them without yawns at their moral correctness, a problem already seen today. The Booker-prize winners generally speaking are a way of saying to readers pass on by, nothing to see here except angst or some form of victimhood.

Christopher Chantrill
Christopher Chantrill
1 year ago

No doubt in 100 years some writer will start a “Wokeman” series about a woke lefty that shows up at every lefty disaster from 1900 to 2100. I suggest that the first book should be titled “Wokeman and the Mountain of Skulls.”

Graeme McNeil
Graeme McNeil
1 year ago

Another example of why conservatives should never attempt humour. It never goes well…

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  Graeme McNeil

Nor can a Scotchman attempt humour as you well know?
Example that chippy rodent, one Billy Connolly, who even NOW is too BIG to apologise for his revolting Mr Bigley so-called joke back in 2004.

Perhaps if Lieutenant Colonel Mitchell had had
both of you he may have made something of you? But, sadly I doubt it.

Ian Stewart
Ian Stewart
1 year ago

Why do you have to descend into this low pit of insult about all Scots? The comments were great until this nasty effort from you.

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  Ian Stewart

Surely even you don’t support Connolly over the Bigley affair?

I take it that with no reply to my question within 24 hours you must support Connolly over Bigley.
How simply deplorable.

Last edited 1 year ago by CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  Ian Stewart

Surely even you don’t support Connolly over the Bigley affair?

I take it that with no reply to my question within 24 hours you must support Connolly over Bigley.
How simply deplorable.

Last edited 1 year ago by CHARLES STANHOPE
Ian Stewart
Ian Stewart
1 year ago

Why do you have to descend into this low pit of insult about all Scots? The comments were great until this nasty effort from you.

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  Graeme McNeil

Nor can a Scotchman attempt humour as you well know?
Example that chippy rodent, one Billy Connolly, who even NOW is too BIG to apologise for his revolting Mr Bigley so-called joke back in 2004.

Perhaps if Lieutenant Colonel Mitchell had had
both of you he may have made something of you? But, sadly I doubt it.

Graeme McNeil
Graeme McNeil
1 year ago

Another example of why conservatives should never attempt humour. It never goes well…

Christopher Chantrill
Christopher Chantrill
1 year ago

No doubt in 100 years some writer will start a “Wokeman” series about a woke lefty that shows up at every lefty disaster from 1900 to 2100. I suggest that the first book should be titled “Wokeman and the Mountain of Skulls.”

Susan Lundie
Susan Lundie
1 year ago

The impression received from this writer is that he largely abhors the Flashman books by GMF, which I haven’t read, but am coincidentally about to start reading “Quartered Safe out Here” following that other fascinating WW2 memoir by Fitzroy Maclean “Eastern Approaches”. I also comprehend that he regards the concept of colonialism with equal disdain. He is of course entitled to his opinion, and most of us would question some of our nation’s past history, including aspects of our colonial record, though there are those who quite legitimately point out that there were benefits to be had (not least the banning of the practice of suttee), even occasionally admitted by those in receipt of some of our better habits, amazingly our once efficient Civil Service.
Other nations who also engaged in colonialism in the same centuries we were, also conferred mixed blessings upon the nations they colonised. Their impact was in some cases infinitely more damaging than the British, the Belgian Congo being one. There were also, before the arrival of the British in India, successive waves of invaders who came down from the North subjugating previous incomers. I wouldn’t dream of insulting the author by asking his background, but it seems fairly safe that his name gives an indication that some of his antecedents sprang from the Indian subcontinent.
The “British” tribes occupying Britannia when the Romans arrived would have quite virulently denied any advantages of the Roman occupation. After all, what did the Romans do for us? They did at least eventually leave us to our own devices as the dark ages ensued. And then there are the waves of Vikings from Scandinavia, and their successors the Normans. I’m English, and from what I know of my grandparents background on both maternal and paternal sides almost certainly from peasant stock a few generations further back, but there’s no knowing whether my genes indicate whether I started here, or arrived as a surf with an invading wave.
Before I’m accused of whataboutery, my point is that not many of us from any continent or island worldwide, can legitimately claim historical innocence from the “colonial” tendancies or straightforward powermongering sins of our ancestors. I accept that it seems a worldwide occupation at present to bash the Brits, but I’ve reached the point where my response is now, so what? Tell me what you did for the people your ancestors colonised in your past history.

Last edited 1 year ago by Susan Lundie
Susan Lundie
Susan Lundie
1 year ago

The impression received from this writer is that he largely abhors the Flashman books by GMF, which I haven’t read, but am coincidentally about to start reading “Quartered Safe out Here” following that other fascinating WW2 memoir by Fitzroy Maclean “Eastern Approaches”. I also comprehend that he regards the concept of colonialism with equal disdain. He is of course entitled to his opinion, and most of us would question some of our nation’s past history, including aspects of our colonial record, though there are those who quite legitimately point out that there were benefits to be had (not least the banning of the practice of suttee), even occasionally admitted by those in receipt of some of our better habits, amazingly our once efficient Civil Service.
Other nations who also engaged in colonialism in the same centuries we were, also conferred mixed blessings upon the nations they colonised. Their impact was in some cases infinitely more damaging than the British, the Belgian Congo being one. There were also, before the arrival of the British in India, successive waves of invaders who came down from the North subjugating previous incomers. I wouldn’t dream of insulting the author by asking his background, but it seems fairly safe that his name gives an indication that some of his antecedents sprang from the Indian subcontinent.
The “British” tribes occupying Britannia when the Romans arrived would have quite virulently denied any advantages of the Roman occupation. After all, what did the Romans do for us? They did at least eventually leave us to our own devices as the dark ages ensued. And then there are the waves of Vikings from Scandinavia, and their successors the Normans. I’m English, and from what I know of my grandparents background on both maternal and paternal sides almost certainly from peasant stock a few generations further back, but there’s no knowing whether my genes indicate whether I started here, or arrived as a surf with an invading wave.
Before I’m accused of whataboutery, my point is that not many of us from any continent or island worldwide, can legitimately claim historical innocence from the “colonial” tendancies or straightforward powermongering sins of our ancestors. I accept that it seems a worldwide occupation at present to bash the Brits, but I’ve reached the point where my response is now, so what? Tell me what you did for the people your ancestors colonised in your past history.

Last edited 1 year ago by Susan Lundie
Matt Hindman
Matt Hindman
1 year ago

I should pick up a few of those books.

Tom Lewis
Tom Lewis
1 year ago
Reply to  Matt Hindman

The audio books are SUPERB. A perfect combination of material and narrator,
GET THEM WHILE YOU STILL CAN, before they are consigned to the bonfire of the vanities !

Matt Hindman
Matt Hindman
1 year ago
Reply to  Tom Lewis

Where did you get them? They sound like they would be perfect for work.

odd taff
odd taff
1 year ago
Reply to  Matt Hindman

I found them on utube for free. They are brilliant. There’s about twenty hours of shameful pleasure.

Kerie Receveur
Kerie Receveur
1 year ago
Reply to  Matt Hindman

There was a very kind man who made all the good narrations available on Google Drive. If I can find it. I’ll post the links …

odd taff
odd taff
1 year ago
Reply to  Matt Hindman

I found them on utube for free. They are brilliant. There’s about twenty hours of shameful pleasure.

Kerie Receveur
Kerie Receveur
1 year ago
Reply to  Matt Hindman

There was a very kind man who made all the good narrations available on Google Drive. If I can find it. I’ll post the links …

Kerie Receveur
Kerie Receveur
1 year ago
Reply to  Tom Lewis

Ensure you listen to the Timothy West narrations. They are unsurpassed …

Matt Hindman
Matt Hindman
1 year ago
Reply to  Tom Lewis

Where did you get them? They sound like they would be perfect for work.

Kerie Receveur
Kerie Receveur
1 year ago
Reply to  Tom Lewis

Ensure you listen to the Timothy West narrations. They are unsurpassed …

Kerie Receveur
Kerie Receveur
1 year ago
Reply to  Matt Hindman

Several members (of the FB Flashman Appreciation Society – Kerie) have expressed an interest in the Flashman audiobooks. The 7 read by Timothy West are generally regarded as the best at capturing the spirit of our hero. I (Keith Thompson) have uploaded all 7 to Google cloud. They are accessible through the links below. Copy, paste in your search engine, then download at your leisure. Along with the 7 West books, I have included “Tiger” and “On the March” by Jonathan Keeble, “Quartered Safe Out Here” read by GMF himself, and the BBC dramatization of “At the Charge”.
Some of you may know me as the author of “SCOUNDREL!”, a book about a real-life American rogue during the American Revolution, written very much in the Flashman tradition. I learned how to write with a Flashman-style perspective by doing my own abridged audiobooks of four of my favorite Flashman novels. I have included links to them as well (the ones marked KT), for those of you really hard up for entertainment. I also wrote a Flashman screenplay/treatment back in the day, and I’ve had a couple of requests that I post it. I haven’t done so because I cannibalize bits and pieces of it for use in other works from time to time, however, the “KT – Flashman” audiobook, uses several scenes from the screenplay interwoven with GMF’s own superior prose for those of you who would like an inkling of how a movie made from my screenplay might have turned out.
Lastly I’ve included the Amazon USA & UK links to my novel SCOUNDREL!, where you can read the first 15 pages.
If you have any questions or problems accessing or downloading the material, please do not hesitate to 
 pester somebody else about it.

1 Flashman (West) https://drive.google.com/open?id=0Bxur8GlcEAw6N1RiYm1jdzJITVE
2 Royal Flash (West) https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/0Bxur8GlcEAw6cHFZbVpDV3R1ckU?usp=sharing
3 Freedom (West) https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/0Bxur8GlcEAw6ejUtdkdiVkFtZUk?usp=sharing
4 Charge (West) https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/0Bxur8GlcEAw6WTdlNjRVQjFGRkU?usp=sharing
5 Great Game (West) https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/0Bxur8GlcEAw6bHRnRUV3WUhXMzQ?usp=sharing
6 Flashman’s Lady (West) https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/0Bxur8GlcEAw6OVpEUVdlblMxMmc?usp=sharing
7 Angel of Lord (West) https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/0Bxur8GlcEAw6VVozTzhqa2YyZTg?usp=sharing
8 Tiger (Keeble) https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/0Bxur8GlcEAw6MjNQOVlVTXhObWc?usp=sharing
9 On the March (Keeble) https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/0Bxur8GlcEAw6OThhXzZUSk9fMUU?usp=sharing
BBC Flashman at the Charge https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/0Bxur8GlcEAw6azVlZ2N5eWQtNm8?usp=sharing
Quartered Safe (GMF) https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/0Bxur8GlcEAw6X3ZxRmdhQXVYeGs?usp=sharing

KT Flashman
https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/0Bxur8GlcEAw6Q1RNXy1xb0NBb1E?usp=sharing
KT Royal Flash https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/0Bxur8GlcEAw6cTJhTS1pWWFfRTA?usp=sharing
KT Great Game https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/0Bxur8GlcEAw6M2xENHA3WlRTbUU?usp=sharing
KT Charge https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/0Bxur8GlcEAw6UGYzb1dTbWhicnM?usp=sharing

SCOUNDREL! 
https://drive.google.com/open?id=0Bxur8GlcEAw6S29tYmNsZVBHSmc

Amazon USA & UK links to SCOUNDREL!
 
https://www.amazon.com/Scoundrel-Secret-Memoirs-General-Wilkinson/dp/1935254634/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1329141531&sr=1-1

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Scoundrel-Secret-Memoirs-General-Wilkinson/dp/1935254634/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1418231256&sr=1-1&keywords=scoundrel+thompson

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  Kerie Receveur

Excellent work, thank you!

Allison Barrows
Allison Barrows
1 year ago
Reply to  Kerie Receveur

Thank you for all of this!!! What a Christmas gift!

Richard Carter
Richard Carter
1 year ago
Reply to  Kerie Receveur

Hello! Just read this – I get “Access Denied”. Would it be possible to request access please?

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  Kerie Receveur

Excellent work, thank you!

Allison Barrows
Allison Barrows
1 year ago
Reply to  Kerie Receveur

Thank you for all of this!!! What a Christmas gift!

Richard Carter
Richard Carter
1 year ago
Reply to  Kerie Receveur

Hello! Just read this – I get “Access Denied”. Would it be possible to request access please?

Tom Lewis
Tom Lewis
1 year ago
Reply to  Matt Hindman

The audio books are SUPERB. A perfect combination of material and narrator,
GET THEM WHILE YOU STILL CAN, before they are consigned to the bonfire of the vanities !

Kerie Receveur
Kerie Receveur
1 year ago
Reply to  Matt Hindman

Several members (of the FB Flashman Appreciation Society – Kerie) have expressed an interest in the Flashman audiobooks. The 7 read by Timothy West are generally regarded as the best at capturing the spirit of our hero. I (Keith Thompson) have uploaded all 7 to Google cloud. They are accessible through the links below. Copy, paste in your search engine, then download at your leisure. Along with the 7 West books, I have included “Tiger” and “On the March” by Jonathan Keeble, “Quartered Safe Out Here” read by GMF himself, and the BBC dramatization of “At the Charge”.
Some of you may know me as the author of “SCOUNDREL!”, a book about a real-life American rogue during the American Revolution, written very much in the Flashman tradition. I learned how to write with a Flashman-style perspective by doing my own abridged audiobooks of four of my favorite Flashman novels. I have included links to them as well (the ones marked KT), for those of you really hard up for entertainment. I also wrote a Flashman screenplay/treatment back in the day, and I’ve had a couple of requests that I post it. I haven’t done so because I cannibalize bits and pieces of it for use in other works from time to time, however, the “KT – Flashman” audiobook, uses several scenes from the screenplay interwoven with GMF’s own superior prose for those of you who would like an inkling of how a movie made from my screenplay might have turned out.
Lastly I’ve included the Amazon USA & UK links to my novel SCOUNDREL!, where you can read the first 15 pages.
If you have any questions or problems accessing or downloading the material, please do not hesitate to 
 pester somebody else about it.

1 Flashman (West) https://drive.google.com/open?id=0Bxur8GlcEAw6N1RiYm1jdzJITVE
2 Royal Flash (West) https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/0Bxur8GlcEAw6cHFZbVpDV3R1ckU?usp=sharing
3 Freedom (West) https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/0Bxur8GlcEAw6ejUtdkdiVkFtZUk?usp=sharing
4 Charge (West) https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/0Bxur8GlcEAw6WTdlNjRVQjFGRkU?usp=sharing
5 Great Game (West) https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/0Bxur8GlcEAw6bHRnRUV3WUhXMzQ?usp=sharing
6 Flashman’s Lady (West) https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/0Bxur8GlcEAw6OVpEUVdlblMxMmc?usp=sharing
7 Angel of Lord (West) https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/0Bxur8GlcEAw6VVozTzhqa2YyZTg?usp=sharing
8 Tiger (Keeble) https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/0Bxur8GlcEAw6MjNQOVlVTXhObWc?usp=sharing
9 On the March (Keeble) https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/0Bxur8GlcEAw6OThhXzZUSk9fMUU?usp=sharing
BBC Flashman at the Charge https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/0Bxur8GlcEAw6azVlZ2N5eWQtNm8?usp=sharing
Quartered Safe (GMF) https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/0Bxur8GlcEAw6X3ZxRmdhQXVYeGs?usp=sharing

KT Flashman
https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/0Bxur8GlcEAw6Q1RNXy1xb0NBb1E?usp=sharing
KT Royal Flash https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/0Bxur8GlcEAw6cTJhTS1pWWFfRTA?usp=sharing
KT Great Game https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/0Bxur8GlcEAw6M2xENHA3WlRTbUU?usp=sharing
KT Charge https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/0Bxur8GlcEAw6UGYzb1dTbWhicnM?usp=sharing

SCOUNDREL! 
https://drive.google.com/open?id=0Bxur8GlcEAw6S29tYmNsZVBHSmc

Amazon USA & UK links to SCOUNDREL!
 
https://www.amazon.com/Scoundrel-Secret-Memoirs-General-Wilkinson/dp/1935254634/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1329141531&sr=1-1

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Scoundrel-Secret-Memoirs-General-Wilkinson/dp/1935254634/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1418231256&sr=1-1&keywords=scoundrel+thompson

Matt Hindman
Matt Hindman
1 year ago

I should pick up a few of those books.

Peter Strider
Peter Strider
1 year ago

“We live in a world where we are constantly exercised by the problem of complicity. We wonder: am I complicit in climate change because I just put on the washing machine?”

Yes! And with the effective altruists gaining traction with their million year horizon of ethical decision-making, escapism seems all the more imperative.

I might dip into my E E Doc Smith Lensman series and imagine myself in a more manageable moral universe!

Peter Lucey
Peter Lucey
1 year ago
Reply to  Peter Strider

Wow! The Lensmen series. I read them avidly as a boy (the Golden Age of SF is boys between 10 and 14…) Attaboy Kimball Kinnison and co!

I find them unreadable now, but what glorious space opera they were!

Peter Lucey
Peter Lucey
1 year ago
Reply to  Peter Strider

Wow! The Lensmen series. I read them avidly as a boy (the Golden Age of SF is boys between 10 and 14…) Attaboy Kimball Kinnison and co!

I find them unreadable now, but what glorious space opera they were!

Peter Strider
Peter Strider
1 year ago

“We live in a world where we are constantly exercised by the problem of complicity. We wonder: am I complicit in climate change because I just put on the washing machine?”

Yes! And with the effective altruists gaining traction with their million year horizon of ethical decision-making, escapism seems all the more imperative.

I might dip into my E E Doc Smith Lensman series and imagine myself in a more manageable moral universe!

Clay Poupart
Clay Poupart
1 year ago

Seems the majority of snarky comments on this article are from people who didn’t actually read it or failed to understand it, since their assertions of the author’s point are completely wrong. If your conclusion is that the author is somehow -for- the moral censorship of books, then I’m talking about you.

Susan Lundie
Susan Lundie
1 year ago
Reply to  Clay Poupart

Or perhaps we who carefully read his epistle found that he expressed himself in slightly ambiguous terms, did largely understand him, but found his views rather narrowly focused. That of course is his perogative, but it’s also ours to respond in ways that other commenters might not appreciate.

Susan Lundie
Susan Lundie
1 year ago
Reply to  Clay Poupart

Or perhaps we who carefully read his epistle found that he expressed himself in slightly ambiguous terms, did largely understand him, but found his views rather narrowly focused. That of course is his perogative, but it’s also ours to respond in ways that other commenters might not appreciate.

Clay Poupart
Clay Poupart
1 year ago

Seems the majority of snarky comments on this article are from people who didn’t actually read it or failed to understand it, since their assertions of the author’s point are completely wrong. If your conclusion is that the author is somehow -for- the moral censorship of books, then I’m talking about you.

Frank McCusker
Frank McCusker
1 year ago

Well, I’m no fan of empire, any empire.
But as soon as art tries to be ethical, it fails as art.
Camus once said that “nothing is true that forces one to exclude”.
There is a role for politics, and ethics, and propaganda, etc, but for god’s sake keep them well away from literature.

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  Frank McCusker

Nor even the Roman Empire?

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  Frank McCusker

Nor even the Roman Empire?

Frank McCusker
Frank McCusker
1 year ago

Well, I’m no fan of empire, any empire.
But as soon as art tries to be ethical, it fails as art.
Camus once said that “nothing is true that forces one to exclude”.
There is a role for politics, and ethics, and propaganda, etc, but for god’s sake keep them well away from literature.

Christopher Chantrill
Christopher Chantrill
1 year ago

If there is one thing worse than the racist-sexist-homophobia of popular novelists it is the bottomless conceit of your average “Fellow in Philosophy at Robinson College, Cambridge.”
But I wonder which is worse: the imperial colonialism of the Flashmans of the world and their military and political masters? Or maybe the cultural colonialism of wokey academics and their academic and “effective altruist” paymasters.

Last edited 1 year ago by Christopher Chantrill
Christopher Chantrill
Christopher Chantrill
1 year ago

If there is one thing worse than the racist-sexist-homophobia of popular novelists it is the bottomless conceit of your average “Fellow in Philosophy at Robinson College, Cambridge.”
But I wonder which is worse: the imperial colonialism of the Flashmans of the world and their military and political masters? Or maybe the cultural colonialism of wokey academics and their academic and “effective altruist” paymasters.

Last edited 1 year ago by Christopher Chantrill
JĂŒrg Gassmann
JĂŒrg Gassmann
1 year ago

The cardinal sin for an author is to be boring. And that GMF most definitely is not.
Like all art, ideologically correct writing – whatever the ideology catered to – is inevitably boring: One-dimensional, schematic, and predictable. Dante’s “Inferno” is read with enjoyment; “Paradiso” is boring.

JĂŒrg Gassmann
JĂŒrg Gassmann
1 year ago

The cardinal sin for an author is to be boring. And that GMF most definitely is not.
Like all art, ideologically correct writing – whatever the ideology catered to – is inevitably boring: One-dimensional, schematic, and predictable. Dante’s “Inferno” is read with enjoyment; “Paradiso” is boring.

Colin Elliott
Colin Elliott
1 year ago

I had to read this twice to discern what the author intended to convey, and concluded that I agreed with him that works such as the Flashman novels can contribute to the complicated history of British imperialism, despite the occasional assumption with which I would quibble.
For example, “The callous stupidity of leaders, both military and civilian, is Flashman’s great bugbear” may well be true, but such callous stupidity is recognizable in British leaders of today, in competing empires of those times, and in the leaders of colonies following independence. Some of these have governed themselves well since independence, others, not so well.
Anyone who considers these books ‘problematic’ need not read them. I reject utterly their right to prevent me from doing so. The modern campaign for censorship is appalling.

Colin Elliott
Colin Elliott
1 year ago

I had to read this twice to discern what the author intended to convey, and concluded that I agreed with him that works such as the Flashman novels can contribute to the complicated history of British imperialism, despite the occasional assumption with which I would quibble.
For example, “The callous stupidity of leaders, both military and civilian, is Flashman’s great bugbear” may well be true, but such callous stupidity is recognizable in British leaders of today, in competing empires of those times, and in the leaders of colonies following independence. Some of these have governed themselves well since independence, others, not so well.
Anyone who considers these books ‘problematic’ need not read them. I reject utterly their right to prevent me from doing so. The modern campaign for censorship is appalling.

ben arnulfssen
ben arnulfssen
1 year ago

Meanwhile leftist “celebrities”, moist of eye and with trembling lower lips seek to guilt-trip us about the war in Yemen.

This is a multi-sided civil war, primarily a proxy war between Iran and Saudi Arabia. Its cause is largely incomprehensible to Western thinking, which has left religious conflict far behind it.

Why is it our problem? Why can these hypocrites not call it by its name, that Muslims hate each other and fight fir that reasons?

ben arnulfssen
ben arnulfssen
1 year ago

Meanwhile leftist “celebrities”, moist of eye and with trembling lower lips seek to guilt-trip us about the war in Yemen.

This is a multi-sided civil war, primarily a proxy war between Iran and Saudi Arabia. Its cause is largely incomprehensible to Western thinking, which has left religious conflict far behind it.

Why is it our problem? Why can these hypocrites not call it by its name, that Muslims hate each other and fight fir that reasons?

Nicky Samengo-Turner
Nicky Samengo-Turner
1 year ago

The man was on Officer in ” The Cherry Pickers” The 11th Hussars, now called the Kings Royal Hussars, and they would be no different today… not that the author would have ever been in any social circle that would ever have met one…

Nicky Samengo-Turner
Nicky Samengo-Turner
1 year ago

In more recent years Flashman would have been one of those extraordinarily talented Royal Hussar pilots who handled Gazelles , not least in Northern Ireland, as deftly as they rode in point to points, or even ended up at Hereford as two recent Cherrypickers have, as Commanding Officers.

Nicky Samengo-Turner
Nicky Samengo-Turner
1 year ago

In more recent years Flashman would have been one of those extraordinarily talented Royal Hussar pilots who handled Gazelles , not least in Northern Ireland, as deftly as they rode in point to points, or even ended up at Hereford as two recent Cherrypickers have, as Commanding Officers.

Nicky Samengo-Turner
Nicky Samengo-Turner
1 year ago

The man was on Officer in ” The Cherry Pickers” The 11th Hussars, now called the Kings Royal Hussars, and they would be no different today… not that the author would have ever been in any social circle that would ever have met one…

Ian Stewart
Ian Stewart
1 year ago

Well I think many of the commenters are rather negatively misinterpreting this article. It’s an insightful exposition about the journey of writing adventure stories about empire and enjoying these regardless of the moral issues.

Ian Stewart
Ian Stewart
1 year ago

Well I think many of the commenters are rather negatively misinterpreting this article. It’s an insightful exposition about the journey of writing adventure stories about empire and enjoying these regardless of the moral issues.

Peter Roberts
Peter Roberts
1 year ago

Good piece, Fraser was great writer and deserves the academic defence offered here. Flash for Freedom (third in the series) is an unsparing account of the transatlantic slave trade in its entirety. It’s also hugely entertaining, and John Charity Spring is surely Fraser’s most inspired villain. The scene in the slavers cart, referenced by the article, is packed with insight. I was first advised to read Fraser by my history teacher in 1972 (Royal Flash for background to the Schleswig Holstein question) and reread them to this day.

Peter Roberts
Peter Roberts
1 year ago

Good piece, Fraser was great writer and deserves the academic defence offered here. Flash for Freedom (third in the series) is an unsparing account of the transatlantic slave trade in its entirety. It’s also hugely entertaining, and John Charity Spring is surely Fraser’s most inspired villain. The scene in the slavers cart, referenced by the article, is packed with insight. I was first advised to read Fraser by my history teacher in 1972 (Royal Flash for background to the Schleswig Holstein question) and reread them to this day.

Stephen Barnard
Stephen Barnard
1 year ago

He’s a Fellow at Cambridge: there is no more authoritative credential to define him, so none of the (negative) comments ought to be a surprise.

Stephen Barnard
Stephen Barnard
1 year ago

He’s a Fellow at Cambridge: there is no more authoritative credential to define him, so none of the (negative) comments ought to be a surprise.

Nona Yubiz
Nona Yubiz
1 year ago

“Not every bureaucrat in Thirties Germany was the moral equivalent of a concentration camp guard.” I couldn’t agree more. Sadly, nuance and complexity seem to have gone out the window these days, which is particularly sad when it comes to the literary world, which used to offer something of a respite from over-simplistic thinking. That said, I believe that any “morally serious history” MUST “be neither simple nor humourless.” Moral seriousness requires thinking, not regurgitating.

Nona Yubiz
Nona Yubiz
1 year ago

“Not every bureaucrat in Thirties Germany was the moral equivalent of a concentration camp guard.” I couldn’t agree more. Sadly, nuance and complexity seem to have gone out the window these days, which is particularly sad when it comes to the literary world, which used to offer something of a respite from over-simplistic thinking. That said, I believe that any “morally serious history” MUST “be neither simple nor humourless.” Moral seriousness requires thinking, not regurgitating.

Des Browning
Des Browning
1 year ago

My take on the Flashman Civil War adventures, which GMF had no intention of writing:- https://archiveofourown.org/users/Kings_Guard

Geoffrey Hicking
Geoffrey Hicking
1 year ago

If Tombs says it’s alright to return colonial artifacts in limited circumstances, is that permissible?

Last edited 1 year ago by Geoffrey Hicking
CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago

No.

Geoffrey Hicking
Geoffrey Hicking
1 year ago

No one criticised Tombs when he said that. Did you?

I can change my opinions if there is consistency.

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago

No I missed it completely, but if he said that I must disagree, if only because it “encourages the others “.

Geoffrey Hicking
Geoffrey Hicking
1 year ago

Thankyou sir. I respect your position.

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago

And I yours sir!

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago

And I yours sir!

Geoffrey Hicking
Geoffrey Hicking
1 year ago

Thankyou sir. I respect your position.

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago

No I missed it completely, but if he said that I must disagree, if only because it “encourages the others “.

Geoffrey Hicking
Geoffrey Hicking
1 year ago

No one criticised Tombs when he said that. Did you?

I can change my opinions if there is consistency.

odd taff
odd taff
1 year ago

Yes you should return such items once you’ve ascertained that the country you are returning them to is stable, democratic doesn’t have a history of colonialism, slavery, atrocities or anything else that might cause hurty feelings in snowflakes. Just to be on the safe side also check that they haven’t misgendered anyone.

Colin Elliott
Colin Elliott
1 year ago
Reply to  odd taff

There are probably other conditions one might also consider, for example capital punishment, laws concerning homosexuality, and tactics in common use against protesters.

Colin Elliott
Colin Elliott
1 year ago
Reply to  odd taff

There are probably other conditions one might also consider, for example capital punishment, laws concerning homosexuality, and tactics in common use against protesters.

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago

No.

odd taff
odd taff
1 year ago

Yes you should return such items once you’ve ascertained that the country you are returning them to is stable, democratic doesn’t have a history of colonialism, slavery, atrocities or anything else that might cause hurty feelings in snowflakes. Just to be on the safe side also check that they haven’t misgendered anyone.

Geoffrey Hicking
Geoffrey Hicking
1 year ago

If Tombs says it’s alright to return colonial artifacts in limited circumstances, is that permissible?

Last edited 1 year ago by Geoffrey Hicking
Graeme McNeil
Graeme McNeil
1 year ago

I’m always amused when apologists try to defend the benefits of empire!
“We are here to plunder your resources, murder and enslave your men and rape your women – but don’t worry, here’s cricket and railways in return!”

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  Graeme McNeil

I don’t think you will find we bothered much with “we are here to rape your women” ( Jungle Fever and all that).
Otherwise it was a fair exchange!

Graeme McNeil
Graeme McNeil
1 year ago

Your naivete is almost amusing

Graeme McNeil
Graeme McNeil
1 year ago

Your naivete is almost amusing

Susan Lundie
Susan Lundie
1 year ago
Reply to  Graeme McNeil

I do hope you have read the colonial histories of the many other nations in the “West”, including that of Spain, Portugal and Belgium, as well as the British.

Graeme McNeil
Graeme McNeil
1 year ago
Reply to  Susan Lundie

Is that supposed to be a defence of the British empire? You may wish to try again…

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  Graeme McNeil

What an ungrateful chap, as you well know thanks to the generosity of the English (1707) the Scotch did very well out of the Empire!

What is wrong with you?(besides the obvious.)

Last edited 1 year ago by CHARLES STANHOPE
Ian Stewart
Ian Stewart
1 year ago

Why do you hate the Scots so much? Genuinely interested to know.

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  Ian Stewart

Hate is too strong, despise would be better
.
Why? Far to many, but NOT all are grotesquely ungrateful parasites that think England owes them a living. It doesn’t. QED?

Last edited 1 year ago by CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  Ian Stewart

Well you have had your answer for 24 hours now. So presumably you agree?

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  Ian Stewart

Hate is too strong, despise would be better
.
Why? Far to many, but NOT all are grotesquely ungrateful parasites that think England owes them a living. It doesn’t. QED?

Last edited 1 year ago by CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  Ian Stewart

Well you have had your answer for 24 hours now. So presumably you agree?

Ian Stewart
Ian Stewart
1 year ago

Why do you hate the Scots so much? Genuinely interested to know.

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  Graeme McNeil

What an ungrateful chap, as you well know thanks to the generosity of the English (1707) the Scotch did very well out of the Empire!

What is wrong with you?(besides the obvious.)

Last edited 1 year ago by CHARLES STANHOPE
Graeme McNeil
Graeme McNeil
1 year ago
Reply to  Susan Lundie

Is that supposed to be a defence of the British empire? You may wish to try again…

Kat L
Kat L
1 year ago
Reply to  Graeme McNeil

i don’t understand these types of comments. every population did it if they were able to but no one expects anyone but anglos to feel guilty or flog themselves over it.

Last edited 1 year ago by Kat L
CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  Graeme McNeil

I don’t think you will find we bothered much with “we are here to rape your women” ( Jungle Fever and all that).
Otherwise it was a fair exchange!

Susan Lundie
Susan Lundie
1 year ago
Reply to  Graeme McNeil

I do hope you have read the colonial histories of the many other nations in the “West”, including that of Spain, Portugal and Belgium, as well as the British.

Kat L
Kat L
1 year ago
Reply to  Graeme McNeil

i don’t understand these types of comments. every population did it if they were able to but no one expects anyone but anglos to feel guilty or flog themselves over it.

Last edited 1 year ago by Kat L
Graeme McNeil
Graeme McNeil
1 year ago

I’m always amused when apologists try to defend the benefits of empire!
“We are here to plunder your resources, murder and enslave your men and rape your women – but don’t worry, here’s cricket and railways in return!”