I was sad to hear about the death yesterday of George Macdonald Fraser, author of the Flashman series of historical comic novels. His books were politically incorrect, naughty, adventurous, educational and above all seriously funny. They charted the story of the British Empire through arch-cad, Harry Flashman’s eyes, placing this coward and poltroon at many of the key events and battles of the mid to late 19th century. He wasn’t, as some will claim, an apologist for empire or colonialism… far from it. In fact, MacDonald Fraser occasionally used his writing to warn of the dangers present in the waging of imperialist campaigns far from home.
Flashman remains, in my opinion, one of the great comic characters of the English novel and now his creator has died without giving any answer as to how Flashy managed to fight on both sides during the American Civil War.
I nearly shed a manly tear.