George V. Reilly

Review: Flashman And The Redskins

Flashman And The Redskins
Title: Flashman And The Redskins
Author: George MacDonald Fraser
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★
Publisher: Plume
Copyright: 1982
Pages: 480
Keywords: historical fiction, humor
Reading period: 20 July–7 August, 2016
Flashman Papers VII: 1849–50 and 1875–76

Flashman And The Redskins is the seventh volume of the Flashman Papers, although it opens im­me­di­ate­ly after Flash For Freedom! In the first part, which takes place in 1849–50, Flashman is fleeing from New Orleans in the company of a madam who is taking her entire brothel westward to take advantage of the California Gold Rush. He sees the opening of the West and the beginning of huge changes to the Plains. He is taken captive by Apaches and spends several months living with them. Flashman can be a callous self-centered bastard, but I was shocked by his off-hand betrayal of someone who misplaced their trust in him.

A quarter-century later, Flashman is back in America, where he is persuaded by his friend George Custer to travel to North Dakota. The Plains have been radically trans­formed in the interim, as the West has been “won”: the bison are largely gone, white set­tle­ments abound, and the tribes are not happy that they have been relocated to ever-shrinking reser­va­tions. Flashman comes to regret his earlier betrayal, as his former victim arranges for him to be captured by Sioux warriors, which leads to his barely surviving in the Battle of the Little Bighorn (Custer’s Last Stand).

Flashman has a grudging respect for the various tribes he spends time with, and he is (by nineteenth century standards) sym­pa­thet­ic to their plight as white Americans encroach upon their lands.

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