Great Books for Men, a Book (series) Review: Flashman

I am a rather voracious reader, by my estimation. Between my local public library (and the supremely beneficial inter-library loan program) and my father (who likes to shop used book stores, and then loans me large stacks of his purchases 2-3 times a year) I read between 50 and 75 books a year. I don’t read “chick-lit” but aside from that, I have few intentional limits on my consumed subject matter, which brings me to this review.

Flashman (and the eleven or so sequels) written by George Macdonald Fraser has been one of the more entertaining series of stories I’ve had the opportunity to read in the last couple years. I was loaned the first three books in the series, chronologically, by my father at the end of our most recent time together. I emphasize the chronology because the series is set in the 1800s over the span of roughly 60 years (approximately 1840-1900) and is presented in the style of the author as editor of a previously unpublished autobiography, of Sir Harry Flashman. Flashman is a British “gentleman” of “cowardly but amorous” nature who joins the Army and proceeds to have a variety of (mis)adventures while bedding a substantial (tending toward quantity over quality) number of women. While the character is lacking somewhat in both character and discrimination in his conquests, he is nevertheless presented in a manner that suggests the author is familiar with (and perhaps indeed even a proponent of) many of the topics discussed at Le Chateau.

Used copies are seemingly difficult to find and the prices on Amazon are higher than I would expect for a series primarily published around 40 years ago (ranging from $12-17 even on Kindle). That said, I would recommend the series as an enjoyable read.

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