Flashman and the Redskins

by George MacDonald Fraser

Hardcover, 1982





New York : Knopf, 1982.


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)

User reviews

LibraryThing member dougwood57
The seventh entry in the Flashman series is two books in one. The book picks up where [[ASIN:0452260892 Flash for Freedom! (Flashman)]] ended. It’s 1849 and Flash is in New Orleans, on the run from the law. He reacquaints himself with Susie Wilnick, a local madam who is moving her brothel west to join the flood of Forty Niners heading to California. Flash marries – again – but even at great personal risk he cannot help his roving eyes...and hands and so forth.

He leaves Susie along the west (and in order to take his leave, he commits a deed that is shameful even by Harry Flashman’s standards.) He then begins a wild trip across the Old West, even living with Apaches for awhile (where he weds yet again). Along the way, the reader meets many historical characters including Spotted Tail, John Joel Glanton, Mangas Coloradas, Geronimo, and Kit Carson. One of the more interesting historical bits involves Bent’s Fort and its mysterious destruction. Harry was there and resolves the mystery.

As always Fraser deflates the mythology surrounding historical figures. This characteristic debunking is a bit odd because Fraser believed the mythology about his own army and his own war, the Indian 17th Division of the British Army fighting in Burma during the last months of World War Two (See his war memoir [[ASIN:1602391904 Quartered Safe Out Here: A Harrowing Tale of World War II]]).

Flashman manages to escape the Apaches and returns to England. In Part Two, Elspeth, his ‘real’ English wife convinces Harry to return to the States, which introduces us to even more historical figures and eventually lands Harry right in the midst of the Battle of the Little Big Horn. I found the first part more entertaining and the ending was more than a bit of stretch.

Fraser is a marvelous story teller and as he spins out his entertaining tales one also picks up a good deal of history. The reader should exercise caution in accepting Fraser’s history. His version tends to be based on older sources and he eschewed more modern works (and certainly rejected modern viewpoints). Enjoy it for what it is: well-told speculations on historical mysteries. While some will be offended by Flashman’s views on women, Indians, Africans, and other people of color, in fairness, he also did not generally hold other white men in high regard, perhaps because Harry knew what a scoundrel he was himself.
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LibraryThing member John5918
This starts a bit more slowly than some of the Flashman books, but by the end I couldn't put it down. Our anti-hero rogers his way across the Wild West, meeting well-known real-life characters and ending up as the only survivor of a famous battle where previous history books had suggested there were no survivors. If anything Flashy's treatment of women is even more callous than usual. There is an unexpected twist at the end.… (more)
LibraryThing member jztemple
The recent death of George McDonald Fraser has brought a close (maybe permanent, maybe not?) to this delightful series of books. I have had the pleasure of following this series every since the release of the first book back in the sixties. The Flashman novels combine history (including substantial endnotes) with sex, action, adventure and the secret pleasure of enjoying the exploits of one of the most notoriously popular non-politically correct characters of 20th Century literature. Flashman is a womanizer, a coward, a scoundrel and a cheat, but in the novels, which are all narrated by Flashman himself, he is utterly honest with his readers. He is a man not proud of his faults, but certainly unabashed about them.

The Flashman novels could be dismissed as sensationalized light reading , but Fraser cleverly tied his character into most of the major events of the last sixty years of the nineteenth century, a Victorian Zelig or Forrest Gump. Flashman casually mentions this minor detail or that simple observation, then Fraser in his assumed role as editor of the Flashman papers meticulously explains in the endnotes how these mentions by Flashman confirm the truth of his narrative, since only if Flashman was there could he have known about this fact or that. Fraser's endnotes also round out the historic details of the narrative, giving background and elaboration to the history-as-I-lived-it tales told by Flashman. It all works wonderfully, even if you somewhat suspect that some details are being outrageously fabricated.

I very strongly recommend these books to anyone who has an interest in history and is willing to keep an open mind towards the womanizing and the language (the n-word appears quite a bit, but completely in character for Flashman). I would suggest the best way to read them is in order of publication. This doesn't follow Flashman's own life chronology, but the books published later often make reference to previous editions of the "Flashman Papers" and so is more fun for the reader to follow.
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LibraryThing member glowboat
I recently acquired four of the Flashman novels all at once. It was the first I'd heard of them, and since this one came chronologically first in the four that I have, it's been my introduction to the series. I thought it great fun...highly humorous, well-researched and well-written. I admit, though, about three-quarters through I was anxious for it to be finished...I think I would have liked it better had the two halves of the story been two seperate books, despite their direct relevance to each other. I'm excited to eventually tackle another...but hope I won't find it quite as...dragging.… (more)
LibraryThing member santhony
Our intrepid hero, Harry Flashman, is back for volume seven of the Flashman Papers, a narrative of the life and times of one of the most ne’er-do-well wastrels to ever grace the pages of a published autobiography.

The first five Flashman novels were presented in chronological order. This “packet”, like its immediate predecessor, acts to fill in a previous “gap” in the Flashman timeline. From a chronological standpoint, the adventures of this novel immediately follow those contained in Flash For Freedom, wherein we left Flashman in the port of New Orleans awaiting transport to England. Alas, poor Harry is instead destined for adventures in the American West of 1849-50. The story then skips over 25 years and picks up again with Flashman attending the wedding of his good friend Philip Sheridan in Chicago. From there, our friend Flash hooks up with General George Custer for a leisurely ride through the Black Hills of Dakota and into Montana.

As in the previous Flashman novels, our Harry is revealed as the premier coward and opportunist of his era; faults which he quite willingly admits and even boasts of. Much as a prior day Forrest Gump, he has a way of finding himself among the most powerful and famous personages of his era, as he takes part in the great events of the period, in this case meeting a young Geronimo on the Santa Fe Trail, traveling with Kit Carson and riding among the American cavalry at Little Big Horn.

Aside from uproarious fun and games, the Flashman series is set against historical events and actually serves as an educational experience. On to volume eight of the Flashman Papers.
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LibraryThing member antiquary
Another of the nicer Flashman novels. Flashman actually rescues an Apache princess from a fate worse than death.
LibraryThing member DinadansFriend
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.
LibraryThing member varielle
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.… (more)
LibraryThing member SeriousGrace
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).
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