Flashman, Harry Paget. Brigadier-general, V.C., K.C.B., K.C.I.E.; Chevalier, Legion of Honour; U.S. Medal of Honor; San Serafino Order of purity and truth, 4th Class. b 1822, s H. Flashman, Esq., Ashby and Hon. Alicia Paget; educ. Rugby School. m. Elspeth Rennie Morrison, d. Lord Paisley; one s., one d. Served Afghanistan, 1841-42 (medals, thanks of Parliament); Crimea (staff); Indian mutiny (Lucknow, etc., V.C.); China, Taiping Rebellion. Served U.S. Army (major, Union forces, 1862; colonel (staff) Army of the Confederacy, 1863). Travelled extensively in military and civilian capacities; a.d.c. Emperor Maximilian of Mexico; milit. advisor, H.M. Queen Ranavalona of Madagascar; chief of staff to Rajah of Sarawak; dep. marshall, U.S.; Chmn, Flashman and Bottomley, Ltd.; dir. British Opium Trading Co.; governor, Rugby School; hon. pres. Mission for Reclamation of Reduced Females. Publications: Dawns and Departures of a Soldier's Life; Twixt Cossack and Cannon; The Case Against Army Reform. Clubs; White's, United Service, Blackjack (Batavia). Recreation: oriental studies, angling. Add. Gandamack Lodge, Ashby, Leics.

... and 100-percent the fictional creation of George MacDonald Frazier.

Harry Flashman is a fictional character from the novel, Tom Brown's School Days, by Thomas Hughes. Tom Brown caused a minor sensation upon it's publication in England in 1887. It is a thinly-veiled autobiographical account of the author's youth spent at the presitigous English public school, Rugby. It revealed for the first time the cruelty and social rigidity of the English public schools of the time.

In the book, Flashman is a cruel upperclassman who delights in tormenting the "fags", or underclassmen. Flashman is expelled from Rugby in disgrace after a drunken night on the town,

One fine summer evening Flashman had been regaling himself on gin-punch at Brownsover; and, having exceeded his usual limits, started home uproarious. He fell in with a friend or two coming back from bathing, proposed a glass of beer, to which they assented, the weather being hot, and they thirsty souls, and unaware of the quantity of drink which Flashman had already on board. The short result was that Flashy became beastly drunk. They tried to get him along, but couldn't; so the chartered a hurdle and two men to carry him. One of the masters came upon them, and they naturally enough fled. The flight of the rest excited the master's suspicions, and the good angel of the fags incited him to examine the freight, and, after examination, to convoy the hurdle himself up to the School-house; and the Doctor, who had long had his eye on Flashman, arranged for his withdrawal next morning.


Frazier picks up the story from there. Afer "discovering" a packet of papers in a Leicestershire sales room in 1966, Frazier "edited" the contents; the never-discovered memoirs of Harry Flashman the (fictional?) scoundrel of Rugby and fictional hero of Victorian England.

The beauty of the books is the paradox of Flashman; though he is one of the most completely cowardly and amoral men that ever lived, he manages to be on hand, survive, and through a combination of cowering, toadying and basically rogering everything that moved, managed to emerge covered in glory through every major British or American military engagement from the disaster in the Khyber Pass in the First Afgan War in 1842 to Rourke's Drift in 1879.

Immensely engaging books. Flashman is the ultimate anti-hero. Frazier's research is beyond reproach militarily, socially and politically. His personality sketches of the leading (and minor) personalities of the day are both hilarious and educational. The books are a joyride through the history of the British Empire at it's zenith.

A list of published Flashman books and their major events:
  1. Flashman: Expulsion from Rugby; early military career; marriage; retreat from Kabul, 1839-42
  2. Royal Flash: Meeting with Otto Von Bismarck (punches his lights out) in England, 1842-43; Becoming a Crown Prince (and Bismark's puppet) in a German duchy as part of the Schleswig-Holstein controversy between Denmark and Germany, 1847-48
  3. Flash for Freedom: British political scene and meeting with Disraeli; (involuntary) involvement in west African slave trade; overseeer on southern plantation; flight via the Underground Railroad; meeting with Abraham Lincoln, 1848-49
  4. Flashman at the Charge: Crimean War in Russia (Stevastopol, Charge of the Light Brigade); Russian invasion of Central Asia, suprise meeting of another character from Tom Brown, Scudd East, 1854-55
  5. Flashman in the Great Game: (A continuation of Flashman at the Charge)Court life at Balmoral, meeting with Palmerston; Russian intrigues in Britain and India; Indian Mutiny (sometimes Sepoy Rebellion), 1856-58
  6. Flashman's Lady: Cricket in London, 1842; Journey to Singapore; kidnapping of wife; pirate fighting with James Brooke in Borneo; captivity on Madagascar, chief-of-staff to Malagassy army, lover of Queen Ranavalona, escape from Madagascar, 1844-45
  7. Flashman and the Redskins: Picks up where Flashman for Freedom leaves off. California Gold Rush; captive of Apache; meeting with Kit Carson, 1849-50; US Government's negotiations with Sioux in the Black Hills; riding with Gen. G. A. Custer and the Battle of Little Big Horn, 1875-76
  8. Flashman and the Dragon: Taiping Rebellion; Anglo-French Expedition to Pekin (a.k.a. Brit: 2nd China War Chinese: Opium War) 1860
  9. Flashman and the Mountain of Light: Political agent to the Court of Lahore in Punjab;1st Sikh War in India, the Koh-i-noor diamond, 1845-46
  10. Flashman and the Angel of the Lord: Flashman's great-grandchildren; political scene in South Africa; John Brown's raid on Harper's Ferry, 1858-59
  11. Flashman and the Tiger: British publication, October, 1999. US publication, approx. November, 2000A collection of previously unpublished short Flasman stories. Rourke's Drift (1879), meeting with Oscar Wilde, involvement with Sherlock Holmes(1894)

Flashman is not amoral, but immoral. There is no doubting that he is aware of the folly of his doings and the harm that they can cause, he simply chooses to ignore this. It is this understanding that is the difference between the two.
When it comes to rogering everything in sight, he is most definitely aware of the consequences, as can be seen from what happens in "Flashman's Lady" when Don Solomon Hasman catches him in flagrante delicto with a lady of ill-repute. It should be noted, however, that his ability to mount just about anything in a skirt saves his skin on several occasions, most notably with Queen Ranavalova and Maharani Jeendan. Of course, the counterpoint is that it also nearly kills him on several occasions as well.
Any student of history can gain a very good understanding of Victorian society from these amusing and (mainly) factual accounts of major historical events.

The plot of Royal Flash is identical to that of The Prisoner of Zenda, but a livelier read. The fictional Flashman even goes so far as to accuse author Anthony Hope of stealing his (Flashman's) tale of the affair for his (Hope's) novel.

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