FRASER, George Macdonald

(1925 - 2008)
“Courage - and shuffle the cards.” 

Serving as a soldier in Burma during WWII, becoming a journalist when demobbed, George Macdonald Fraser went on to make a career writing historical fiction, non-fiction histories and screenplays (including Octopussy) but is best known for his “resurrection” of Harry Flashman, that arch bounder and bully from Tom Brown’s School Days.  Although Fraser found some difficulty in getting his first book published, Flashman finally arrived in 1969 and was an immediate success, in part because of the accuracy and detail of its historical background, and in part because of the jocular bawdiness of its tone.   The 12 book series is based on the premise that the author had discovered the warts and all memoirs of Brigadier-General Sir Harry Paget Flashman, the cowardly womaniser who unwillingly found himself at every major military engagement of the British Empire during the late 19th century.  Though the books and their leading character were fictional, the premise of the Flashman Papers being real memoirs was maintained throughout, and at one stage there was even a debate in the New York Times about whether or not General Flashman had been a real person.  Although Fraser wrote other historical novels, it is for writing about “the finest fictional rogue ever to grace the map of the British Empire" for which he remains best known.

Fraser was awarded an OBE in 1999.

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 George Macdonald FRASER

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