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A must read for any of the legions of Flashman fanatics (like myself) if only for a better understanding of what George MacDonald Fraser was satirizing in his famous, and infamous Flashman, series. Of course, this was aimed at Victorian boys to inspire them to be better Victorian gentlemen and not to jaded, cynical world weary reprobates like myself. So, perhaps I’m not the most appropriate reviewer of this book. No doubt, Tom Brown, Arnold and the author himself would arm wrestle each other to
Even so, it’s not such a bad read, even now in the 21st century. Tom Brown is a reasonable Boy’s Life character, full of vim and vigor, not overly intellectual, but the very model of bravery and integrity, everything one would most definitely want in a defender of the empire, and most assuredly everything my preferred character, Harry Flashman, is not. His triumph over the upperclassman bully, young Flashman is the highlight of the novel. It’s been filmed as a movie on several occasions, and not without reason.
This is the story of a boy, Tom Brown, and his years at Rugby school during the tenure of Thomas Arnold as headmaster, in the early Victorian era.
Unless you’re a hopeless anglophile, you might prefer watching one of the dramatisations of this story. (The made-for-television film with Stephen Fry as Doctor Arnold is especially good.) The films tend to have more plot than the book, which is more a series of chronological anecdotes set amidst statements of philosophy than it is a novel. The philoso