Quartered Safe Out Here
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Quartered Safe Out Here

4.36 of 5 stars 4.36  ·  rating details  ·  541 ratings  ·  60 reviews
George MacDonald Fraser—beloved for his series of Flashman historical novels—offers an action-packed memoir of his experiences in Burma during World War II. Fraser was only 19 when he arrived there in the war’s final year, and he offers a first-hand glimpse at the camaraderie, danger, and satisfactions of service. A substantial Epilogue, occasioned by the 50th anniversary...more
Paperback, 225 pages
Published May 3rd 1993 by HarperCollins Publishers (first published 1992)
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I'm reading George MacDonald Fraser's (1925 – 2008) Flashman series with a curious mixture of pleasure and distaste - the pleasure arising from the excellent adventures of the ne'er-do-well Flashman, the wonderfully reconstructed historical settings and the satire of (as I see it) British upper classes, patriotism and hero worship of military heroes (not of military heroism itself, mind); the distaste sweeping out of the many signs of racism and acts of rape and violence towards women. Of course...more
There are a few personal accounts of war and its impact on a man that stand out in the sea of such literature -- works such as "Goodbye to All That," "Homage to Catalonia," and "The Men I Killed." "Quartered Safe Out Here" has now joined that short list. MacDonald Fraser is the acclaimed author of the Flashman series of historical fiction, but here he reveals his own experience as an infantryman in merciless combat against the Japanese in Burma. Here is an all-too-vivid recollection of the fear,...more
Jun 29, 2007 Chris rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Harry Flashman's fans
A deeply affecting book--one of the passages that stays with me is McDonald Frasers confession that he cannot forgive his former foes. I've seen this time and again with British vets of the Burmese theater; a chilling testament to the savagery of the campaign...and just the kind of honesty I'd expect from a man as brave as Mr. Fraser.

Reading this book will definitely give you a much deeper appreciation of both the Flashman books and the WWII generation.

First, Flashman: Pretty obvious if you kno...more
I have started the Flashman Series by the same author. They are fantastic! The author brings that story-telling flair to this memoir & makes what could be either a boring or most harrowing record, as engaging & as readable as anything else he has written. With just the right amount of history, ribaldry & anti-establishment content. Even his 'outspoken' views are dealt with intelligently & are well argued. I now have increased respect for the author & also all those that fough...more
The author of the Flashman series gives his account, from the ground level, of the campaign in Burma with his beloved Nine Section. This war memoir is fascinating for several reasons. First, Fraser is, for all intents and purposes, Flashman himself: the broad racial delineations, the bald admiration for famous generals, the unabashed Imperialist fervor mixed with rational analysis of battle, even the fear of waiting before battle and the mad adrenaline rush afterwards.

It strikes me that Flashy i...more
Excellent memoir of a small British army unit in WWII, Nine Section, in the Burmese Theatre. Fraser, himself a Scot, was a member of this Cumberland unit. It is backed up by native Indian troops. He writes of the camaradarie of these men; how they lived and fought beside each other; and how they created bonds of loyalty and trust. They fight the Battles of Mekteila and Pyawbwe. We share their joys and sorrows. Many episodes are affecting. I loved the episode where Sgt. Hutton, who's not really a...more
TheIron Paw
A very well done memoir from the perspective of pbi (poor bloody infantry) in Burma. Those who've enjoyed Sledge's "With the Old Breed" should also read this. The perspective is the same although this book displays less of the brutality of Sledge's. Fraser carries a more reflective style, that is particularly interesting in that he addresses the differing perspectives of now and then. Fraser also writes with considerable humour and affection for his squad mates, something that I didn't find in S...more
Kylie W
Oct 15, 2008 Kylie W rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommended to Kylie W by: Tim
This is the last book I would expect to have liked. It's a biography (to which I am usually fairly allergic) and it's a war story. Not only that, but there are absolutely no female characters that I can recall.

Having said that, I thought this book was masterful. It was wry and moving without sentimentality. It was, at times, also very disturbing, but the descriptions of battles, death and injury were handled with a quiet pragmatism far removed from the sensationalism of most of the war movies I...more
Laura Leaney
Jul 10, 2014 Laura Leaney rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Laura by: Charlie Brown
This war memoir is about the British men who fought in Burma against the Japanese in what the book jacket calls the "last great land campaign of World War II." George MacDonald Fraser was only nineteen when he fought in Nine Section, and then led it for a while as the sole Scotsman amongst a bunch of Cumbrians, whose linguistic gymnastics include fascinating similes like "E'll be at us like a rat up a fookin' drainpipe," and cinematic exclamations that Fraser swears are true: "They got me! The d...more
Oct 12, 2008 Bill rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone
Recommended to Bill by: WSJ
Fraser's memoirs of his experience in WWII (Burma)has done nothing but reinforce why I think he is (was - he died last year) one of the best writer's I've ever read. His incredible gift for capturing language around him, his outstanding gift for description are absolute treasures for his readers.

The back-half of this book is the best, as the war starts to wind down, Fraser lapses into his own commentary about things like the A-bombs at Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and he confrontation with a guilt-r...more
View from the foxhole of the retaking of Burma by Allied forces. Fraser tells it like it is from first hand experience as a ranker in the infantry, from the mundane routine of guard duty to blow by blow accounts of hairy firefights and clearing Jap bunkers. Mixed in with occasional philosophical reflections on the morality of war and killing from the perspective of an unapologetic and battle hardened veteran. Truly riveting, and a surprisingly good non fiction work from the creator of Flashman.
Charlie Brown
A fine memoir of service in the British 14th Army in Burma during WWII, written by a novelist of international repute. The author offers a fine perspective of what the global conflict looked like to one that was immersed in it, which is a perspective we can never really know looking back today. Well worth the investment of time to read with care. By the way, the title is "Quartered Safe Out Here", not "Quartered Safe Out There"--the ISBN search pulled the wrong title.
Brilliant book about GMF's life as a young soldier, fighting the Japanese in the Pacific. Full of humour, comraderie and sorrow.

One of my favorite writers!!

R.I.P mate!
This is one of the best war memoirs I have ever read. George MacDonald Fraser, author of the "Flashman" series, wrote this book about his experiences in fighting the Japanese in Burma. While Fraser does not remember every detail of the military operations, he does remember the men he served with, the conversations they had, and the experiences they shared. "Quartered Safe Out There" is not a plea for peace or an exorcism of the author's post-traumatic demons like others in this genre, because it...more
Kathy  Petersen
I don't know anything about the war (WWII) in Burma, but I've certainly seen references in British novels. That's why I read Fraser's memoir. Of course it's more about him and his philosophy of life than about the war in Burma or Burma itself. That's okay because he wrote it well.

War is not only hell; it's immoral and obscene. But I try to appreciate other views and to honor the armed services people who are, so they presumably believe, fighting for me and for freedom. Though I would disagree st...more
Scott Browne
An excellent book by the author of the Flashman series. Fraser tells the harrowing story of his service in the British army in Burma during World War II. Fraser mixes wry humor with the fear all his platoon mates had as they fought the Japanese in the last months of the war in 1945. If anyone has an interest in the Pacific theater of the war they should enjoy this book. The hardest part may be figuring out the Cumbrian dialect that most of Fraser's section mates speak, but with a little patience...more
Another fantastic read from GMF. This book is an account of Fraser's time in WWII, where he was stationed in Burma towards the end of the war and the allies last push against Japan. He served in Nine Section, which was largely consisted of Cumbrian borderers...a tough breed to say the least. Fraser is insightful and unflinching in his views on war and what it meant to him and what it has come to mean in the modern day. As an eyewitness account, this is a fascinating book. Both moving and humorou...more
Milton Soong
[Audio book] A book better listened to than read since it's narrated by the author, who does all the accents and all...

Definitely brings a new perspective to the war memoir genre, since a) the author was an enlisted men, thus you don't get the usual officer's reminiscence, but a frank look of life in the trenches. b) he knows how to write and tells a good story.

Be prepared for some political incorrectness for the modern sensibility (the author's hatred of the Japanese is unabated after all these...more
Oct 22, 2007 George rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Flashman addicts, WWII
Very nice to hear Fraser in his own voice. A must read for all the Flashman addicts scattered profusely across the globe, but a very good read in its own right. One of the best personal memoirs from the war I've read, especially from a junior enlisted man. Quite a bit of humor, but a fair amount of fear and fatigue as well. Fraser's comments on his view of Hiroshima, from the point of view of a soldier who would have continued to soldier on had Japan not surrendered are worth reflecting on, but...more
Weel, here's t'thing: T'appresheeate Quartered Safe Out Here, thal't need mor'n a middlin' tolerance f'r dialect speech, rendered funneticklee. So if that last sentence didn't make any sense to you, or it did but got your blood pressure up, then give this one a pass. If you can tolerate it, though -- and I for one hate dialect speech -- you'll get one of the most enjoyable World War II memoirs ever written.

George MacDonald Fraser is best known for his Flashman books, wherein a cowardly reprobate...more
J. Scott Payne
Perhaps the best book on soldiering I've ever read. Fraser had a marvelous sense of humor, remarkable humility and a fantastic eye for detail. Moreover, he was a superb narrator.

I recommend it to any veteran, any soldier, any student of World War II and especially to anyone with a love of the English language, the English themselves, or the Scots.
I've been a fan of G. M. Fraser since the 1970s and I was not at all disappointed by this superb memoir of his experiences as a soldier in the British Army in Burma at the tail end of WWII. Fraser, a historian as well as a novelist, brings color and emotion to this story, making you feel as if you are right beside him in battle. His unit saw relatively little action, and much of the book is devoted to descriptions: equipment and clothing, military history, and humorous anecdotes, but all of it i...more
David Mcangus
My Granddad was in Burma during the war from the get go I believe. When I consider this fact, along with that my other Granddad fought in Europe for around the same amount of time, my first reaction is that of supreme humility when considering my own life. With only a grasp of knowledge concerning what went on in those years (for, as observers I think this all we can claim) I'm still routinely shocked and stupefied when considering the collection of experiences that emerge from this period. This...more
Richard Palmer
I've read a fair number of war memoirs, and Fraser's is certainly
one to have on the list. He focuses not so much on specific
details or actions, but rather on the personal relationships he
forged during the war, and how the working class men he fought
with reacted to it.

There are few battle scenes. They feel almost surreal. In the
beginning of the book, Fraser tries to explain how his memory of
events seems to work for him. Its uneven focus on some mudane
details does seem to distort the narrative. Wh...more
Sherwood Smith
This book was recommended by Jen Busick, and as I already enjoyed Fraser's nonfiction (except for one or two of the Flashmans I can't quite get his fiction) I grabbed it.

Fascinating for so many reasons. I knew nothing about the Burma campaign save Orde Wingate's exploits, so here was a Wingate-free (except for a mention here and there, as you can't get away from him) look at a thoroughly grim campaign. Fraser says up front that his memory is piecemeal, and talks about memory and war. He offers...more
Féarghal Mac giobúin
Undeniably amazing. I want my friends to read it but I'm afraid to lose my hard-earned copy. Fraser's memoir of the last months in Burma can be both heart-wrenching, philosophical and funny at the same time. His description of the jungle war with an eccentric group of Cumbrian borderers is one of the must-reads for any student of military history.

Fraser gives it his all, whether it's describing the stress of night patrols, the political discussions between section-mates of the agony of seeing hi...more
Tim Mitchell
Still one of the best accounts of a young man's introduction to war by the author of the Flashman novels, which covers his experiences in Burma at the end of World War II. And a timely reminder that even what armchair commentators loosely term 'mopping up operations' can lead to sudden death and tragedy.
Christopher Saunders
Mr. Fraser recounts his experiences as a infantryman in the 17th Indian Division, fighting the Japanese in Burma. Not surprisingly, this work is much more sober than Fraser's fiction, being an intense grunt's-eye view of a nasty conflict. In style and attitude, it's much closer to his McAuslan stories than Flashman. Still, fans will easily recognize his ear for dialect (indiscernible Cumbrian accents abound) and eye for the absurd (battling a foot-long centipede during a mortar barrage!). Its on...more
C. Owen
Note: my reviews is of "Quartered safe out here: a recollection of the war in Burma" that came out in 1993.

This is without question the best memoir of WWII (or any other war), I have ever encountered. I am not a huge fan of Fraser's fiction, but here the writing is powerful, deeply personal, unsparing and poignant while being precise.

Most important, this book conveys what it is really like to live outside the bubble that so many people who are the beneficiaries of the heroism described in this b...more
One of my all time favorite authors, this is the first of his nonfiction/autobiographical books Ive read. In addition to doing his usual stellar work capturing accents and dialogue, this book offers real insight into the author and the attitude that became controversial late in his life. (See http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/artic...).

But what really makes the book a valuable addition to the trove of materials on WWII, is how he conveys the incredibly narrow, jumbled perspective of a soldier in...more
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He is best known for his Flashman series of historical novels, purportedly written by Harry Flashman, a fictional coward and bully originally created by Thomas Hughes in Tom Brown's School Days. The novels are presented as "packets" of memoirs written by the nonagenarian Flashman, who looks back on his days as a hero of the British Army during the 19th century. The series begins with Flashman, and...more
More about George MacDonald Fraser...
Flashman (The Flashman Papers, #1) Royal Flash (The Flashman Papers, #2) Flashman at the Charge (Flashman Papers, #4) Flash for Freedom! (The Flashman Papers, #3) Flashman in the Great Game (The Flashman Papers, #5)

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“It was part of war; men died, more would die, that was past, and what mattered now was the business in hand; those who lived would get on with it. Whatever sorrow was felt, there was no point in talking or brooding about it, much less in making, for form’s sake, a parade of it. Better and healthier to forget it, and look to tomorrow.
The celebrated British stiff upper lip, the resolve to conceal emotion which is not only embarrassing and useless, but harmful, is just plain commons sense”
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