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George MacDonald Fraser, 1925-2008 January 9, 2008

Posted by Jeff in Books I like, In memoriam.

FlashmanI had to comment on the passing of one of my favorite historical novelists, author of the twelve books known collectively as the Flashman Papers, and also several wonderful screenplays, most notably the Richard Lester movies The Three Musketeers and The Four Musketeers.

The character of Harry Paget Flashman is based upon the villain of Tom Brown’s Schooldays, the eighteenth-century novel of English public-school life that has influenced everything from the movie if … to Harry Potter. (There’s a delicious irony in that Harry is played in the movie Royal Flash by Malcolm McDowell, who also starred in if … as the victim of bullies not unlike Flashman himself.)

Flashman is an unremitting cad and coward who falls into impossible scrapes and improbably emerges time after time with his reputation intact, until he eventually becomes a hero of the Victorian era. The Flashman novels are meticulously researched and written and give a full-blooded accounting of Victorian military history.

Fraser is also the author of The Hollywood History of the World: From One Million Years B.C. to Apocalypse Now, which argues that classic Hollywood movies did a better job of accurately reporting history than they are given credit for.

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