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4.6 out of 5 stars64
4.6 out of 5 stars
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on 15 March 2003
... MacDonald Fraser's skill as a writer and a historian are under-represented. "Flash For Freedom", like all the Flashman series, is beautifully written and the way the author has mixed historical fact with fiction is truly sublime. Extensive footnotes referring to the sources of his imagination reveal that MacDonald Fraser is a thorough researcher and emphasise the huge amount of effort that must have gone in to the creating of the series.
And then of course there's Flashy himself, self-confessed rake and poltroon, not to mention unashamed racist and snob. In this current age of political correctness "Flash For Freedom" is unapologetically outrageous; there is enough fuel here to fan the flames of feminist and Christian fury from now to Kingdom Come!
And yet that, maybe, is MacDonald Fraser's point. Through his protaganist's skewed morality he manages to present a vision of human nature that is troubling and thought provoking. Flashman's world was very different to our own but perhaps not that different underneath it all.....
This book is deeply amusing, thoroughly entertaining and a delight to read. Women may be turned off by Harry Flashman's vulgar and immoral nature, but between the enthralling historical narrative his wanton behaviour will no doubt appeal to the baser instincts of blokes everywhere!
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 15 June 2011
For a long time people had expounded the brilliance of the flashman and the books are damn fine to read, i don't think it needs me or anyone else to write a review saying about the high quality of the writing and characters... but for me the real brilliance comes to the fore when the book is read by the likes of Rupert Penry-Jones.
I love to listen to the Flashman books on audio format when im on holiday, the only issue i have is to make sure i dont start talking like a Victorian cad whilst going to the bar to get a drink.

If you love the books and have not tried the audio format yet do so, i promise you its a whole new way to experience the world of Flashman, and if you are new to the Man...go will love him.
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on 16 March 2011
He just can't stay out of trouble for two minutes can he? A misdemeanour here and another one there and he's sent packing half way across the world! And what a trek this time around; slaving in Africa and a bid for escape which spans the length of most of the southern states in America.

This is a book which certainly focuses the reader's attention on central themes of slavery and escape. Flashman is a through and through racist and as a result, there is a lot of racist language used throughout the book. Yet in this instance, in order to fully convey his personality and attitude towards others, the language is necessary because without it, it wouldn't be Flashman or representative of the period. I mention it only to give an advance warning if such language is likely to offend.

The book whilst being a fictional novel gave a fascinating description of the slave trade and of the various loopholes and anomalies which the unscrupulous used to traffic people across the globe and indeed across America itself. The book is meticulously researched and I found the notes at the back, almost as interesting as the story (but not quite). I always find I learn something new when I read the Flashman books as they are packed with fascinating history facts and incidents.

If you enjoy the Flashman books, you'll certainly enjoy this one. Be prepared to strap yourself in and chase after Flashy as he attempts to extricate his notorious hide from several perilously sticky situations!

Superb historical fiction.
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I'm one of the few to have actualy read the book and listened to the CDs.
The book is brilliant, fabulous details, great notes and a swift no words wasted read.
The CD book is wonderful that never overstays its 5CD 6 hours listening at all.
Now that's the problem. It's abridged and a whole lot of the book was missed out for example the fabulous detail of Flash's stay on the slave plantation and importantly the interplay between Cassy towards the book's end and their chase from imprisonment is abridged and as an avid reader I miss that detail. If you compare this book with Flashman on the March you will see what I mean.
However if ever a set of books were written to be spoken the Flashman Papers are the tops.
Rupert Perry Jones does a brilliant job, well spoken, great characterisation of the voices especiallt Abraham Lincoln who makes an early entry into the Flashman world (If only the Flashman in the American Civil War had been written what a read that would be with all the hints given here and in Flashman and the Redskins!)
The CDs fairly chug along at a gallop and make a very satisfying car journey wonderful.

You finish the CDs with regret that the tale has ended not the relief you get from some marathom books that overstay their welcome.

Sheer brilliance in a box.
Buy it.
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on 12 January 2010
Having thoroughly enjoyed the first two Flashman offerings I expected more of the same and I was not disappointed. In this tale we see Flashy run from the Amazon women of Dahomey (modern day Benin) to the free world of a pre-civil war United States.

A very funny book and no matter the situation Flashman's selfish streak wins out in the end. He plays at various times a slave trader, slave smuggler and slave himself. MacDonald Fraser is an inventive writer who combines fact with fiction effortlessly and introduces historical figures to add authenticity to these adventures; Benjamin Disraeli and Abraham Lincoln to name but two.

This book as well as being humorous also affected me in a different way. The descriptions of conditions aboard the slave ship en route to America are harrowing to say the least. The terrified slaves are treated as sub-human by the ship's white company. Branded and manacled in cramped quarters even Flashman seems moved by their plight.

"It's not that I'm an abolitionist by any means, but by the end of that day I'd had my bellyful of slaving. The reek of those musky bodies in that deck was abominable; the heat and stench grew by the hour, until you'd have wondered that anything could survive down there."
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on 21 December 2014
I have all the Flashman books authored by Fraser and feel strongly that FLASH FOR FREEDOM! is the best of the series. If it isn't, it's definitely among the top two; Flashy's saga is imbued with high points aplenty.

FLASH FOR FREEDOM! is as good as it gets for chiefly two reasons. First, the novel is intense reading because of its thriller-like pacing, genuine tension crackles through the plotline. Readers know our hero survives because he's telling the tale in first person, but are on the edge of their seats wondering if Harry's going to live or die regardless of the fact. Secondly, Fraser's usual historical research is put to extremely powerful use in FLASH FOR FREEDOM! when Flashman details the inhumane conditions of slaves crammed in the hold of a ship for a transatlantic voyage; and even more horrifying, the identity of just who sold them into slavery in the first place. The historical highlight of the book however are Flashy's two encounters with Abe Lincoln, prior to his residence in the White House. Fraser's astonishing portrayal of Lincoln steals the show! He's miles ahead of Harry in the brains department and far quicker on his feet, much to Flashman's chagrin. I've yet to see another historical character presented this well by Fraser in the entire Flashman body of work.

The story is fleshed out with Fraser's typical inclusion of humor, multiple extramarital shenanigans and predicaments in every direction. This not not be entertainment for everyone yet is compelling, thought-provoking storytelling. And you'll probably learn something too. I did.
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on 3 May 2005
What can I say other than this is a fantastic read? Well I could mention that it has the notorious Harry Flashman, hero of Jallalabad, cricketer-gentleman, slaver, abolitionist, poltroon and bully up to his usual mischief. Wrongly accused of cheated, he escapes, but as usual the Fates weave a classically ripping yarn and we find our anti-hero experiencing both sides of the slavery coin. If you're fed up with the political correctness being taken to ludicrous degrees, then Flashman is the man to whom you must turn. Refreshingly Victorian I cannot bestow any higher honour on Fraser's writing than to say that of all the characters ive read in my life, he is the one of the few whom I genuinely admire.... but maybe thats a bad thing!
As ive said of other Flashman books, this is top notch - you must read at least one of these books otherwise you are really missing out. Flash for Freedom is definetly a 5/5 and 10/10, it is truly memorable. If I could vote, id make the man king!
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HALL OF FAMEon 7 April 2001
True epic flash. after the slowdown in pace in flashmans second volume, here he gathers pace and then some. the dastradly flashman again tears through history at a breakneck speed and once again not at all master of his own destinies but trying to save his neck by any means possible. very very good.
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on 19 February 2008
The third of the Flashman series is a sublime meeting of form and function, way ahead of the first two novels. Wrapped up in a fast-moving, funny and genuinely exciting yarn is the author's well-researched mission to inform us of the horror, the complexity and the importance in the 19th century of the slave trade. Who better to cast a cynical eye on that most immoral of endeavours (almost incomprehensible to the modern mind) than our amoral `hands-on' anti-hero, Flashman? The author takes our engagingly unreliable, notoriously non-PC guide through the whole process, from the slave ship picking up its miserable cargo on the African coast, through the markets and the plantations of the slave states and on to the underground abolitionists helping runaways escape North. Even throws in a pivotal encounter with a young Abe Lincoln. Brilliant stuff, informing and entertaining in equal measure.
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In the latest thrilling saga from the memoires of history's greatest cad, we hear of Flashy's unintentional embroilment in the slave trade - unsurprisingly resulting from more ill-advised extra-marital sexual shenanigans. Narrowly avoiding becoming a slave himself, Flashy rodgers his way around the Americas, is called to testify against the very slavers he was travelling with, upsets his father-in-law (again), assumes several false identities, gains and loses a small fortune, and even becomes acquainted with a pre-presidential Abraham Lincoln.
McDonald-Fraser again captures the essence of colonial Britain, and somehow leaves us admiring the gall of this most selfish and rotten of apples; despite the realisation that even slave-trading is acceptable to Flashman, as long as it doesn't inconvenience him.
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