“FLASHMAN,” BY GEORGE MACDONALD FRASER

Satire at its best, is masterful but sadly not many artists have achieved this and many who have tried repeatedly have failed repeatedly. Lord Byron, one of my favorite, if not my favorite, poet of all times was a master of satire and to read his “Don Juan,” is like a journey to heaven.

“Flashman (The Flashman Papers, # 1) were discovered during a sale of household furniture at Ashby, Leicestershire in 1965. They are the the personal memoirs of a celebrated Victorian soldier, Harry Flashman, who was born in the early Eighteen twenties and died in 1905.

Those collection of papers have been turned into eight novels by writer/ editor George MacDonald Fraser. Harry Flashman, the main character in all the novels, is a cowardly, lying, thief, and womanize and the real Harry Flashman is a master of satire, not Byron, but still a master.

The first novel takes place mostly in Afghanistan during the British invasion and occupation of the country in the middle eighteen century. Flashman survives his military incompetence, ambushes, snake pits, vengeful women, torture, warlords, and cowardly behavior and somehow survives and becomes, against all odds, a bona fide hero.

Naturally, the main character is fictionalized, and he is hilariously funny, but the actual events during the British occupation of Afghanistan as described by Harry (Flashy) Flashman rank right up there with the best biographies I have read on this period of British history and the incompetence of their military leadership in Afghanistan.

This series of books were recommended to me by my friend Dmitri, and I can’t wait to read more about Flashy Flashman in book 2. I highly recommend.

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