For those who don’t know me; I’m a fan of the Harry Flashman books by George MacDonald Fraser. Yes, for those who remember the novel Tom Brown’s Schooldays, yes, Flashman the bully, who rode cowardly into being a hero. Kind of like a British version of the 1960’s TV show F Troop. They stumbled into victory.
The first Flashman is based on the 1842 debacle in Afghanistan in the First Afghan War.
So what is the Return of the King? This is a book by William Dalrymple about the real debacle in that war. The worst part about this? The Russians AND the United States have made all the same mistakes. I enjoyed the description of our former envoy Richard Holbrooke. He was described as a bull, who brought his own china shop. The Afghans themselves just shrug. They’ve been fighting different groups for thousands of years. The Hindu Kush was always the major invasion route to the Indian Subcontient.
The Afghans see it as after the last American soldier leaves, all that will happen is the Chinese will enter.
And the band played on. And so it goes.
- loulamac’s #CRBV review #32: Flashman by George MacDonald Fraser (cannonballread5.wordpress.com)
- Flashman in the Great Game: From the Flashman Papers, 1856-1858 (Flashman 08) (ubjubogu.wordpress.com)
- Robbie Burns & Harry Flashman: They Loved Their Ladies (louiseaird.com)
- VIEW: Afghanistan: the nightmare continues – SP Seth – Pakistan Daily Times (dailytimes.com.pk)
- List of fictional antiheroes (en.wikipedia.org)
- William Dalrymple on the West’s mistakes in Afghanistan, then and now (thestar.com)
- William Dalrymple’s “Return of a King: The Battle for Afghanistan” (3quarksdaily.com)