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Flashman and the Redskins (1982)

by George MacDonald Fraser

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: The Flashman Papers (6)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
8581417,955 (4.05)6
George MacDonald Fraser's famous Flashman series appearing for the first time in B-format with an exciting new series style, ready to please his legions of old fans and attract armies of new ones. The Flashman Papers 1849--50 and 1875--1876 Vol. Seven What was Harry Flashman doing on the slopes of the Little Bighorn, caught between the gallant remnant of Custer's 7th Cavalry and the withering attack of Sitting Bull's Braves? He was trying to get out of the line of fire and escape yet again with his life (if not with his honour) intact after setting the American West by its ears. Here is the legendary and authentic West of the Mangas Colorado and Kit Carson, of Custer and Spotted Tail, of Crazy Horse and the Deadwood stage, gunfighters and gamblers, eccentrics, scoundrels and, of course, Indian belles, dusky beauties, enthusiastic widows and mysterious adventuresses; this seventh volume of The Flashman Papers shows the West as it really was. Terrifying… (more)
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English (13)  Hebrew (1)  All languages (14)
Showing 1-5 of 13 (next | show all)
I registered a book at BookCrossing.com!
http://www.BookCrossing.com/journal/13538215
  Lunapilot | Jul 19, 2016 |
After seven books, what new things can I say about Flashman? Flashman and the Redskins is the same brilliant mix of laugh-out-loud lecherous comedy, rip-roaring adventure, prime historical fiction and just darn good storytelling as the previous six books.

Redskins is not up there with the best of the series, but my love for the books grows with every page; perhaps it's because I know there's only five more to go, or perhaps it's just because Fraser's quality of writing is so consistently high. His writing skill is tested here, as Redskins is, in contrast to previous books, two separate stories set decades apart (think of it, in a way, as two novellas rather than a novel, though the stories are linked). This means there is a bit of a disconnect on the reader's part: no sooner has the first part ended (and it does end rather abruptly) than we are thrust into another twenty-odd years later. By this time, Flashman has gained (note I did not say earned) great fame and has the ear of many bigwigs (Lincoln – dead by this time, Ulysses S. Grant, Sheridan, etc.). Unfortunately, we don't know how he earned these American laurels; Fraser never got around to writing Flashman's American Civil War adventures before his death. All we are left with is this tantalising passage from Redskins:

… now, in 1875, I was Sir Harry Flashman, V.C., K.C.B., with all the supposed heroics of the Crimea, [Indian] Mutiny and China behind me, to say nothing of distinguished service to the Union in the Civil War. No one had been too clear what that service was, since it had seen me engaged on both sides, but I'd come out of it with their Medal of Honour and immense, if mysterious, credit, and the only man who knew the whole truth had got a bullet in the back at Ford's Theatre, so he wasn't telling. Neither was I – although I will some day, all about Jeb Stuart, and Libby Prison, and my mission for Lincoln (God rest him for a genial blackmailer), and my renewed bouts with the elfin Mrs Mandeville, among others. But that ain't to the point just now; all that signifies is that I'd gained the acquaintance of such notables as Grant (now President) and Sherman and Sheridan – as well as such lesser lights as young Custer, whom I'd met briefly and informally, and Wild Bill Hickok, whom I'd known well (but the story of my deputy marshal's badge must wait for another day, too)." (pg. 260)

Consequently, we have to take a lot of Flashman's circumstances in this second story on faith. But it is useless pining over what we will never have, and we must be grateful for all the (amazing) Flashman we have. It took me a while to warm to Redskins; it seemed longer (not so much in page length as in prosing) and, as it picks up directly from events of the third book, Flash for Freedom!, to be thrust directly into this one is a bit disorienting. (As a sidenote, the publisher also changed the font from the more engaging and historical-looking one of previous books to a rather bland Times New Roman. A minor point, I know, but it did disappoint me.) But soon enough Flashy is up to his same old tricks - he is at his roguish best here (but I seem to say that about all the books; I think 'shameless rogue' is his default – perhaps his only – mode). Redskins is interesting in that this behaviour actually comes back to bite him; usually he just wins clear. Elspeth's prolonged appearance in the second story is also very welcome; her interactions with dearest Harry are pure gold and I'm starting to think that perhaps she's just as great a comedic creation as Flashman himself.

Fraser's clear enthusiasm for the Western setting also shines through, not only in the adventuring and the borderline misty-eyed descriptions of the Old West (Flashman remarks on how rapid Western expansion was; in passing through by steam train you could still see the ruts your frontier wagon made fifty years before (pg. 75)) but in his historical research. The differences between the Indian tribes – their appearance and their mannerisms, their social customs and their dispositions to the white man – are all accounted for; these are not offensive Hollywood 'Indians' of one indistinguishable Red mass. (For all the false claims of Fraser being bigoted in his Flashman books, he takes great care in crafting fully-realised and often sympathetic personalities out of his dark-skinned – and white-skinned – characters.) His first story is incredibly accurate and detailed about the fledgling frontier (I noted, with some interest, that the scalp-hunter 'Gallantin' that Flashman has the misfortune to meet was the same historical figure that Cormac McCarthy would use for his 'Glanton' character in Blood Meridian just a few years after Fraser), although I confess I did get lost geographically as Flashy flits about the Old West. In the second story, Fraser will not be drawn on his opinions of Little Bighorn (in general, he sides with the majority views on the battle) but he does have a lot to say on the plight of the American Indians in general, and there is certainly a lot to ponder for those readers so inclined. But even for those who aren't, damn your eyes, it is still another great, ripping Flashman yarn to devour." ( )
  Mike_F | Jun 3, 2016 |
Flashman and the Redskins circles back to where Flash for Freedom left off. Harry Flashman is up to his old tricks again. If you think I'm joking just know that sex is mentioned on the very first page. That's Flashy for you! But, in Flashman and the Redskins he takes it a bit further. To get out of yet another jam Flashman is forced to take up with Susie, a madame of a New Orleans brothel (surprise, surprise), but to further complicate things, he ends up marrying her to ensure safe passage across the west to California. It's on this journey that Flashman encounters the "redskins" and ends up marrying an Apache Indian too. Never a dull moment for 28 year old Harry. The multiple marriages set the stage for the rest of Flashman's story with a twist at the end.
Fast forward and Flash is back in the States, this time with his real wife, Elspeth. To give you some perspective, the events in Royal Flash happened twenty eight years earlier. Remember Otto von Bismarck? This time Flashman is up against an even craftier opponent...a woman he has wronged (it was bound to happen sometime). ( )
  SeriousGrace | Sep 27, 2015 |
After Flash for Freedom, our disreputable old Flashman just wants to get home to jolly old England and his darling Elspeth. Instead he finds himself still incognito, on the run and married to a Madam who's moving her girls to boom times in 1849 California. Fraser mines early pioneers' accounts for actual events and conditions that Flashman gets to experience for himself. Great, naughty, politically incorrect fun as usual, through many hair raising (literally) adventures. ( )
  varielle | Oct 29, 2014 |
Fraser demonstrates that he has read Francis Parkman's " The Oregon Trail" and explored some of the research on Custer's Last Stand. He uses the material well, and we the readers have a good time. ( )
  DinadansFriend | Mar 8, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 13 (next | show all)
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
George MacDonald Fraserprimary authorall editionscalculated
D'Achille, GinoCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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For Icimanipi-Wihopawin "Travels-Beautiful-Woman" from Bent's and the Santa Fe Trail to the Black Hills
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A singular feature of the Flashman Papers, the memoirs of the notorious bully of Tom Brown's Schooldays, which were discovered in a Leicestershire saleroom in 1966, is that their author wrote them in self-contained instalments, describing his background and setting the scene anew each time.
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George MacDonald Fraser's famous Flashman series appearing for the first time in B-format with an exciting new series style, ready to please his legions of old fans and attract armies of new ones. The Flashman Papers 1849--50 and 1875--1876 Vol. Seven What was Harry Flashman doing on the slopes of the Little Bighorn, caught between the gallant remnant of Custer's 7th Cavalry and the withering attack of Sitting Bull's Braves? He was trying to get out of the line of fire and escape yet again with his life (if not with his honour) intact after setting the American West by its ears. Here is the legendary and authentic West of the Mangas Colorado and Kit Carson, of Custer and Spotted Tail, of Crazy Horse and the Deadwood stage, gunfighters and gamblers, eccentrics, scoundrels and, of course, Indian belles, dusky beauties, enthusiastic widows and mysterious adventuresses; this seventh volume of The Flashman Papers shows the West as it really was. Terrifying

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