Thursday 3 January 2008

George MacDonald Fraser dies

The author, for those that don't know, of the absolutely brilliant Flashman books, as well as a number of other works. I only discovered his writing in 2005, so am still working my way through his novels - Flashman and the Dragon is currently sitting on the shelf awaiting reading, along with a vast pile of nearly twenty other books. But I can say that every single one of the seven Flashman books I have so far read has been excellent - if you haven't read them, I would urge you to do so!

Another great thing about Fraser was that he was a lefty-baiter par excellence. In 2002 he wrote that Britain was "besieged by hordes of alien scroungers, bums, criminals, layabouts and riff-raff", a comment which led the hacks at the Guardian to line him up right alongside Jean-Marie Le Pen on their hate list. His novels also eschew the PC tendencies of the modern literary world - there's no grovelling apologies for the Empire or slavery there, nor did he indulge in the particularly irritating tendency of some historical novelists I have read, to equip their characters with the political, social, and moral attitudes of a modern-day Hampstead-dwelling chatterer.

All in all, a sad day.


bernard said...

Here Here, FR. He was the very last of the truely great Brits.
A fine gentleman and writer.
Although he lived the last few years on the IoM, his first love was for the 'Borders' of Northumberland, which he called home.

Anonymous said...

Well said : Your tribute to MacDonald Fraser is excellent stuff.

May I recommend Quartered Safe Out Here, his superbly written account of his experiences as an infantry officer in Burma (1945): See here:

Anonymous said...

Curiously the BBC ignored his death with no mention on the TV or radio news to mark his passing (I listened all day without reward). Compare and contrast with the near non-stop coverage of a Scottish footballer last week.

Fulham Reactionary said...


I suppose the circumstances of the footballer's death may have had something to do with the attention they gave to it. Other things being equal, an apparently healthy thirty-five year old dropping dead in front of a large crowd of people would be considered more newsworthy than the private death of an eighty-two year-old cancer patient. Still, things weren't equal (GMF being, I would imagine, much better known than Phil O'Donnell), and it does seem a bit odd that the BBC failed to mention his death even once (other than on the website, of course).

Of course, I very rarely watch the TV news these days. As I wrote in a comment a few days ago, since the advent of the blogosphere and online editions of newspapers, there's just not a lot of point.