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Quartered Safe Out Here

4.31  ·  Rating Details  ·  1,005 Ratings  ·  95 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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Aug 21, 2016 Manray9 rated it it was amazing
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, pain, d ...more
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
May 02, 2016 Jane rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jun 29, 2007 Chris rated it it was amazing  ·  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
Laura Leaney
Jul 10, 2014 Laura Leaney rated it it was amazing  ·  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
Dec 19, 2011 Ensiform rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction, war
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
TheIron Paw
Jun 15, 2010 TheIron Paw rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: military-history
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
A.L. Sowards
A well-written, warts-and-all memoir about the author’s time in Burma during the last year of WWII. The narrative was sometimes sad and sometimes funny, but it always felt realistic. Originally published in 2001, so the author included his thoughts on the changes he’s seen in society since the war ended. I enjoyed those parts. I did have trouble with the thick Cumberland dialect. I’m not suggesting he should have done it any differently than he did, but sometimes it was hard for me to follow. On ...more
Mar 11, 2011 Strey rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Dec 16, 2014 Bill rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone
Recommended to Bill by: WSJ
Shelves: owned
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
Kylie W
Oct 15, 2008 Kylie W rated it really liked it
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
Milton Soong
Jul 25, 2011 Milton Soong rated it it was amazing
[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
Jul 25, 2011 Ryan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: war
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.
Jun 24, 2011 Chris rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Jonny Ruddock
Quite simply, the best personal history of World War Two I've read... yes, the only one, but still..
The moving, totally honest story of nine section in the closing days of the war, through the final battles of the Burma campaign. You'll laugh (quite a bit), you'll be moved (a lot more than you thought) and you'll ask yourself "What?" more than a few times (the dialogue is in the Cumbrian dialect, more or less Anglicised).
Highly recommended to anyone interested in the British Army, or looking for
Charlie Brown
Jul 03, 2010 Charlie Brown rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
May 24, 2010 Mick rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history
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!
Thomas Brooke
Aug 25, 2015 Thomas Brooke rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I was moved to read this book, not only because I like GMF's unorthodox writing, but also because this book documents the British campaign in Burma, which my grandfather also took part.

It chronicles the fascinating story of the British campaign as they first repelled and then all but destroyed two Japanese armies as the British liberated Burma from under Japanese control. Fraser came late to the war, due to his youth, so we miss the earlier part of the campaign when the British successfully prev
Rick Brindle
George Macdonald Fraser tells the very personal story of his war time service in Burma. It is an intensely modest, insightful account, told in a very honest way. Some of his views are perhaps controversial, but as he rightly says, he was there, and if anyone has earned the freedom to say what they think, it's him.
Of course, you can't talk about GMF without mentioning Flashman. You can see how he developed the character from some of his experiences and world view, but as I personally think Flashy
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
Scott Browne
Feb 19, 2014 Scott Browne rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
May 29, 2012 Adam rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Oct 22, 2007 George rated it it was amazing
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
Alan Williams
Mar 05, 2016 Alan Williams rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
As an autobiographical tome set during WW2 this couldn't be more different from the Flashman novels. However it is an engaging, "warts and all" personal remembrance of a 19 year-olds experience as a member of the 'Forgotten Army' in Burma. GMF's skill as a writer lifts this above the standard war-memoir fare and it brings life in the jungle and the characters around him (friend and foe) to life. The love and respect he feels for the hard bitten but stoically jocular northerners who are his 'sect ...more
J. Scott Payne
Feb 06, 2014 J. Scott Payne rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Jul 29, 2016 Richard rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is both an amazing and utterly horrifying book. It's a very honest account by someone who by their own admission is what we would probably now call a virulent racist. It is absolutely NOT for everyone, which is one of the reasons I wouldn't give it five stars. But if you want to read a personal soldier's memoir written unapologetically from the perspectives of the time, then it is a splendid (if not always enjoyable) read. And, leaving the reactionary diatribes to one side, a very useful co ...more
Feb 02, 2016 Velvetink rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: war, read-2008
culled from parents shelves. donated to St Vincent de Paul
Michael Kerr
Oct 18, 2015 Michael Kerr rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: war, memoir, non-fiction
(Audio book). Fraser is obviously a talented writer and his gift for dialogue shines in this memoir about foot-soldiering in Burma near the end of World War II. Boredom, terror, death, humour, camaraderie, and a wry self-awareness make for an illuminating narrative; in the epilogue, his trenchant observations about the Japanese and modern attitudes toward the war give pause. This book works well in audio since the narrator's plummy accent is perfect for the voice of Fraser, and he covers the dia ...more
Stuart Binnie
Aug 22, 2016 Stuart Binnie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Such a true account of life at war for the British soldier and the decline and fall of common sense and decency post WW2

A wonderful account of war in Burma,well written without bravado and gloss using the language of soldiers from Cumbria. No nonsense or false heroics, funny at times without meaning to be
Razor sharp insights into the moral decay of the British psyche, it does make one wonder was it worth the sacrifice that these guys made.
In my humble opinion it should be required reading in sc
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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
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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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