Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Flashman” as Want to Read:
Flashman
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Flashman (Flashman Papers #1)

4.08  ·  Rating details ·  9,371 Ratings  ·  820 Reviews
For starters, Harry Flashman is expelled from school as a drunken bully. After seducing his father's mistress, he begins a secret life that leads from the boudoirs and bordellos of Victorian England to the erotic frontiers of her exotic Empire. Along the way he lies, cheats, steals, fights fixed duels, betrays his country and proves a coward on the battlefield.

"The refresh

...more
Hardcover
Published by Jenkins (first published January 1st 1969)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Flashman, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Flashman

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Stephen
Harry Paget Flashman is NOT your typical morally-challenged but likeable scoundrel who you can’t help but love because of his sharp wit and buckets o’ charm.
Photobucket
No…he’s an ASSHOLE…a big one. A rapacious, lecherous, despicable scumbag with no redeeming qualities whatsoever. I’m talking such odious funtivities as:

**Having sex with his Father’s mistress, and then beating and sexually assaulting her when she refuses his subsequent advances.

**Forcibly selling his Indian concubine to a passing artillery
...more
Douglas
May 12, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Flashman books (all twelve of them) would be a guilty pleasure if they were not so jam-packed with Victorian historical detail that would make them a good foundation for a history of the mid to late British Empire.

The protagonist, the classic anti-hero Harry Flashman, is a scoundrel, a bully, a coward, a liar, and a rake. And he frankly admits all of the above in this series of 'memoirs.' Flashman himself is a character from the Thomas Hughes novel, 'Tom Brown's School Days,' published in t
...more
Manny
Dec 06, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I've just been looking at the other reviews, and every guy likes Flashman. Every single one. I'm afraid I do too. What does that say about us? I often wonder why women put up with men at all.

J.G. Keely
How do we distinguish between the author and the characters he writes? There are readers who assume that if a main character does something racist or sexist, that means the author is, too. But then, characters can also transform into cockroaches, commit interplanetary genocide, and die gloriously in a hail of bullets without the author having to undergo those experiences, himself.

Even in an autobiography, the author still isn't writing himself--he's writing one biased version, crafting coherent
...more
Nigeyb
Oct 12, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
There's a recurring theme to the reviews I've read of 'Flashman' which is that whilst, by his own happy admission, he is a racist, scoundrel, bully, cad and coward, Flashman is also an engaging storyteller who has the happy coincidence to be an active participant in the middle of momentous historical events.

George MacDonald Fraser has done a magnificent job of evoking the Britain, India and Afghanistan of 1839 to 1842, and the literary conceit that what we are reading is the first part of a cac
...more
Sally
May 30, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A magnificent read about an appalling man. You get a good feel for Flashman's character early on. With his unflinching and intelligent take on the people and situations surrounding him you feel very much a part of the action. It is extremely well written and a very entertaining book.

Given the current situation in Afghanistan, it's pretty poignant too. I was laughing till I snorted in public at the description of the incompetence of Major-General Elphinstone; then within moments nearly in tears a
...more
Evan Leach
I am not a big historical fiction buff, but I fell head-over-heels in love with this book. The very premise is awesome: in 1857, Thomas Hughes wrote a novel based heavily on his own experiences as a schoolboy. The villain of the book is a boy called Flashman, a bully, drunkard, and general asshole. Naturally, 100 years later George MacDonald Fraser decided to write a series of historical novels starring a grown up Flashman as the “hero.” The result, at least in Fraser’s original book, was pure m ...more
Raegan Butcher
Apr 18, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Meet Harry Flashman, decorated hero of the Victorian age. He also happens to be a liar, a lecher, a bully, and a sniveling coward, and that is what makes these comic historical novels so funny.He is also gloriously un-PC, which seems to ruffle some dainty feathers these days. Great stuff.
Lena
Jan 12, 2008 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
Let me begin this review by saying that my star rating has less to do with the quality of the book and more with the fact that it was a bad match for my reading tastes.

I became interested in the Flashman books after hearing them described as a much-loved series of historically accurate, comic fiction. Though title character Harry Flashman is a self-described coward and cad, he does have a certain charm as he describes how he repeatedly finds himself in the middle of one British military disaste
...more
George
Aug 02, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The first book in what is almost certainly the finest series of historical comic novels ever written. Over the series, written over a 30 year period, Harry Flashman becomes one of Victorian England's most decorated military heros while in actuality he's its most craven coward. There's scarcely anyone of importance in history that he doesn't eventually meet. The books heavily satirize Victorian society and morality. Flashman himself is not only a coward, but is also a bully, a scoundrel, a cheat, ...more
Mike (the Paladin)
Nov 16, 2009 rated it did not like it
There are a lot of these...one was enough for me. Flashman is in a way the primary example of an anti-hero. The books are comedies about a cowardly, bullying,thief who always comes out looking like a hero through a combination of cunning and luck. I thought the idea sounded funny but I found the actual book rather annoying. All I can suggest is try it and see, I didn't care for them.

I wrote that review a long while back, I thought I'd give a short example from "early on". Flashman in facing a du
...more
Louise
Jan 28, 2011 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: unfinished
Flashman was picked as the February book for the NeoGAF bookclub. I thought I would like the adventures of Flashy based on the first few pages. Who wouldn't like a story that starts off with being expelled from Rugby school for drunkenness?

Unfortunately, after reading 1/3 of the book, I can't continue. Flashy is an unapologetic ass! I'm usually fine with antiheros, but this one takes it too far. Flashy's treatment of women is awful and while this could be the norm for his time and his class, it
...more
Karla
Fraser took a small character in Tom Brown's Schooldays and turned him into a legend. The mock memoir set-up is very fun, and Flashman in his first outing is a real loathsome character. I didn't much like him! He's the embodiment of ugly British colonialism, raping women and doing whatever he can to get whatever he wants. But I had to keep reading about the fiendish little cad, because the scrapes he gets into and the sh!t luck that keeps him alive was far too amusing.
Mr. Matt
Harry Flashman, despite every effort to stay out of harm's way, finds himself propelled into one life threatening event after another. Eventually he winds up in Afghanistan for the start of the first Anglo-Afghan war. And despite all this, I can't help but love the bastard.

Harry Flashman is the nineteenth century version of Archer. He is a bumbling buffoon with a knack for being in the right place at the right time. Time after time he winds up in trouble, but somehow he always winds up smelling
...more
Simon
Sep 25, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Sexually incontinent, self-centred, spineless and shameless - what's not to like about Harry Flashman, George McDonald Fraser's timeless comic character? This is the first book, originally published in 1969, and it began one of the greatest series of historical fiction in the English language. The Hornblowers and Sharpes have their place, but heroic types can be dreadful bores at times. Give me a promiscuous, drunken coward nine times out ten; the tenth time being when it was my hide or Flashman ...more
Stephen McQuiggan
Cowardice is a virtue. Flashy is totally unapologetic for his many shortcomings as a human being, which in the spirit of the book makes you want to yell 'Bravo!'. A refreshing change to the derring do heroes that saturate modern society with their relentless perfect boredom. Flashy - a cross between Terry Thomas and Dick Dastardly - rapes, flirts, lies and seduces when he's not praying for the death of his comrades... and lands on his feet every time. Just when it seems he's about to exhibit a n ...more
Ms.pegasus
Sep 15, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone interested in history
Recommended to Ms.pegasus by: my husband
Shelves: fiction, history
A braggart, bully, liar, cheat, lecher, racist, cad, wastrel and coward — how does author George MacDonald Fraser make a riveting and even sympathetic character out of such material? He pulls it off with deceptive ease. First, there is the backdrop of Victorian hypocrisy. Behind a public show of prudery and self-satisfied morality flourished a robust traffic in prostitution and indifference to social injustice. Abroad, diplomats cynically formed duplicitous alliances while jockeying for power an ...more
S.J. Arnott
Apr 22, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: flashman
Poor old Flash.

What would he say to all these one star reviewers? Actually, he’d probably damn their eyes, then nip round the corner to pay a couple of toughs to knock them down, de-bag them and blacken their backsides with boot-polish...

I can see why some people might take against Flash after reading the first book in the series. Although I think it’s excellent, it has slightly rougher edges than the ones that follow and portrays our protagonist more as the vicious schoolboy he was, rather than
...more
Noble
Oct 02, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'm going to review the whole series here, instead of saying more or less the same thing for each of the books I've read.

Flashman, the character, is an asshole. Really, he doesn't have many redeeming qualities. I shall list those which come to mind:
He seems to genuinely love his wife, in his own way (he cheats on her, or tries to, pretty much constantly, but he also has ample reason to believe she does the same and knows about his own infidelities; still, his thoughts seem to go back to her more
...more
Victor Bruneski
I picked this book up after a mere reference to Flashman in The Bookman Histories. From what I read in the reviews it looks like just my cup of tea, and boy howdy is it.

The novel is told by Harry Flashman, the same Harry Flashman who's claim of fame is from Tom Brown's Schooldays & Tom Brown at Oxford (I had no idea of that book before this). The author decided to write some further adventures of the school bully, to hilarious results.

The story starts out right after Harry Flashman is kicked
...more
Deborah Pickstone
You want to laugh? Fancy a little side trip down the byways of the politically incorrect? Do you secretly know you are not really the hero you pretend to be? Read this first volume of the Flashman Papers. A very clever, well-researched lifting of a single character from a classic and giving him one hell of a run for his money.

Hilarious!
Nate
Sep 26, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: owned
It's rare for me to actually feel guilty for enjoying the antics of a protagonist but I had this nagging cognitive dissonance the entire time I was reading this--Harry Flashman is certainly one of the more repulsive, boorish fictional people I've rooted for. He's devoid of pretty much every trait humans find admirable and stuffed with every trait we find deplorable...I'm struggling to think of one positive thing about him. And yet, I can't deny there was a part of me that took a perverted glee i ...more
Bruce
Jul 11, 2009 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This is the first of a series of novels published beginning in 1969, all featuring Harry Flashman, a relatively minor and altogether craven character in Thomas Hughes’ Tom Brown’s Schooldays. This novel somewhat comically chronicles Flashman’s exploits in the British army, primarily in Afghanistan in 1849. The book raised several issues of interest to me.

First, there is the question of genre. One might legitimately describe the book as historical fiction. And, equally, it could be viewed as a pa
...more
Kirsten Mortensen
Mar 01, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Okay, I'll admit it. Perhaps because I'm a gal, a couple chapters into this book I wondered if I was going to have to force myself to keep going.

Because -- as you know if you know anything about the Flashman series -- the narrator of these books is *not* a nice guy.

But something happened as I reached a quarter mark or so of the novel: I found myself hooked.

And by the time Flashy found himself in Afghanistan (the series' conceit is that Flashman was an eyewitness to a number of significant 19th
...more
Erica
Jul 07, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Ok so I ended up liking this book more than I thought I would. I rather like ole Flashy and I suppose I'll read the next in the series. I wouldn't review it as "hilariously funny" as stated on the cover, but to each his own.
Dan Schwent
Feb 04, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: funny
Another book Neil Gaiman mentioned in his blog. I liked it and thought parts were really funny. Some parts made me uncomfortable, though.
Sam
Aug 23, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: history fans, people with a sense of humor
Shelves: fiction
I really enjoyed Flashman, but I have mixed feelings about talking about it. Flashman is satire that cuts to the bone, with a protagonist that you don't want to like, but find yourself caught up in his life regardless. I think of Harry Flashman as a kind of anti-Forrest Gump. The books are a first-person narrative, a tell-all memoir by one of England's greatest heroes. The memoirs (fictional, of course) were written in 1910 or so, when Flashman was 80 years old. 'Flashy' as his friends call him, ...more
John Spillane
Feb 18, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobooked
This was pretty funny. I audiobook Wodehouse and Flashman because I can't justify actually sitting down and reading something so light no matter how wonderful it is.
PLEASE click MORE, excerpt is so funny:
This victory speech bit was probably my favorite part, rewound it like three times.

Elizabeta
Dec 04, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
At the beginning, author wrote about the book as being a true memoir of Harry Flashmen that was recently discovered. In the middle of the book, I google the guy and he is actually fictional (but based on some guy) -.- Not cool...

But, I was actually relieved that this jerk didn't actually exist and did all the awful things from the book. So, a fun read and I learned something about the First Anglo-Afghan War.
Eve
Feb 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: not-mm
This whole series is sheer unadulterated 5-star fun. Flashman is a lying cowardly womanizer, but he had the good luck to be born handsome and quick-witted, so he bamboozles, drinks, cheats, seduces and pretends to fight his way (while actually hiding as much as possible) through battles and wars, and takes us along with him for the ride.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Man Reads Book: Flashman 2 6 Feb 25, 2017 02:36PM  
UK Amazon Kindle ...: Recommend Flashman style books 22 258 Apr 01, 2014 09:31AM  
The Flashman Club: The real history behind Flashman 10 96 Sep 24, 2013 03:45AM  
Goodreads Librari...: ISBN Issue: What should I do? 11 37 Nov 10, 2011 12:54AM  
  • Sharpe's Eagle (Sharpe, #8)
  • Day
  • Lord Hornblower
  • The Soldier's Art (A Dance to the Music of Time, #8)
  • Confederates
  • Williwaw
  • Death of a Hero
  • Covenant With Death
14220
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...

Other Books in the Series

Flashman Papers (1 - 10 of 12 books)
  • Royal Flash (The Flashman Papers, #2)
  • Flash for Freedom (The Flashman Papers #3)
  • Flashman at the Charge (Flashman Papers, #4)
  • Flashman in the Great Game (The Flashman Papers, #5)
  • Flashman's Lady (The Flashman Papers, #6)
  • Flashman and the Redskins (The Flashman Papers, #7)
  • Flashman and the Dragon (The Flashman Papers, #8)
  • Flashman and the Mountain of Light (The Flashman Papers, #9)
  • Flashman and the Angel of the Lord (The Flashman Papers, #10)
  • Flashman and the Tiger (The Flashman Papers, #11)

Share This Book

“If anything she was a shade too plump, but she knew the ninety-seven ways of making love that the Hindus are supposed to set much store by―though mind you, it is all nonsense, for the seventy-fourth position turns out to be the same as the seventy-third, but with your fingers crossed.” 25 likes
“I recognized the handwriting, and my heart gave a skip; when I opened it I got a turn, for it began, 'To my beloved Hector,' and I thought, by God she's cheating on me, and has sent me the wrong letter by mistake. But in the second line was a reference to Achilles, and another to Ajax, so I understood she was just addressing me in terms which she accounted fitting for a martial paladin; she knew no better. It was a common custom at that time, in the more romantic females, to see their soldier husbands and sweethearts as Greek heroes, instead of the whore-mongering, drunken clowns most of them were. However, the Greek heroes were probably no better, so it was not far off the mark.” 10 likes
More quotes…