Men at War

Southerners have a special feeling for the pathos of history. They know what it is like to have a lost cause, a history that might be gone with the wind but is still resonant and noble for all that. The Southern Confederacy's almost-allies, the British, also have a sense of the pathos of history. But where the South's has come from defeat in war, Britain's has come from victory—a case of winner take nothing.

In his latest book, just published in England, George MacDonald Fraser writes with the bracing honesty of a former infantryman who wants the truth to be remembered and not swallowed in the memory-hole created by purveyors of political correctness. The book begins, "The first time I smelt Jap was in a dry-river bed. . . ." Smelt. Jap. Oh dear. George MacDonald Fraser is someone for whom the truth isn't a political plaything; it is what he saw, heard, experienced, and . . . smelt. He doesn't intend to eater to the prejudices of the young or the ideological, and he's in no mood to apologize for himself or his fellow soldiers. For him the truth is merely true. That makes him a dangerous, but entertaining, fellow.

For those not familiar with his literary corpus, George MacDonald Fraser is the author of the joyous Flashman novels chronicling the robust rovings of a rogue of an English officer in Queen Victoria's Empire, an accomplished writer of humorous...

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