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Sharpe

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  • thecheetah
    What do you guys think of the Sharpe Series of books?
    Message 1 of 19 , Oct 1, 2001
      What do you guys think of the Sharpe Series of books?
    • PEGGY MATHEWS
      Well, where to begin? They are entertaining historical *fiction*, woven around the Napoleonic Wars and slightly beyond. They follow the traditional,
      Message 2 of 19 , Oct 2, 2001
        Well, where to begin? They are entertaining historical *fiction*, woven around the Napoleonic Wars and slightly beyond. They follow the traditional, stereotypical image of the crude gutter-lout British soldier, most of whom have a heart of gold inside. The officer corps are largely either incompetent ego-maniacs or noble lads usually destined for an early exit. The French are typically brave and dedicated (where's the glory in beating a weak foe?) with one sympathetic officer who inevitably dies and one despicable Frenchman who often lingers through several books. The Spanish are usually portrayed in the worst possible light, once again in keeping with the popular stereotype.

        There are factual errors both in terms of the armies and the tactics, though as a recurring theme it seems to be in order to perpetuate the popular myths.

        Sharpe is not totally a superman, as he sometimes misses, sometimes has a misfire, and is frequently wounded. Though as a hero he will survive near certain death at least once a book, usually in a plausible manner. He is sometimes outsmarted in the short term, but his street smarts will always prevail in the end.

        As is often the case with a successful series, the author has taken Sharpie (I love the character of Sgt. Hakeswill, especially as played in the TV series) to too many places, and been at the heart of too many events. I followed him through the Peninsula to South America, and then back to India. but when he showed up at Trafalgar I dropped out. Perhaps when I've read everything else pending in my library....

        The TV series did more good than harm IMO. While perpetuating some myths it also created a renewed interest in the Peninsula War and as a sideline, reenacting. It then behooves us to take the interested neophyte and lead them to the correct path(s).

        Hope this helps.

        Michael

        ----- Original Message -----
        From: thecheetah
        Sent: Tuesday, October 02, 2001 7:04 AM
        To: WarOf1812@yahoogroups.com
        Subject: [WarOf1812] Sharpe

        What do you guys think of the Sharpe Series of books?



        The War of 1812: In Europe, thousands fought over the fate of hundreds of square miles: in North America, hundreds determined the fate of THOUSANDS of square miles...

        Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to http://docs.yahoo.com/info/terms/


        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      • John-Paul Johnson
        ... Too right. I came across the TV series when it was first shown on the Buffalo PBS station. I was INSTANTLY hooked! Even with the very limited knowledge
        Message 3 of 19 , Oct 2, 2001
          > The TV series did more good than harm IMO. While perpetuating some myths it also created a renewed interest in the Peninsula War and as a sideline, reenacting. It then behooves us to take the interested neophyte and lead them to the correct path(s).
          >

          Too right. I came across the TV series when it was first shown on the
          Buffalo PBS station. I was INSTANTLY hooked! Even with the very
          limited knowledge of the Peninsular War, I was quite well aware that
          bringing fictional characters into an historical event often makes for
          some interesting historical..hmmmm...revisions?

          Anyway, it was not long after History Television started showing the
          series again that I met up with The Newf's at a dog 'n' pony show at
          Fort Willow near Barrie, Ontario. The rest, as they say, is history....

          I've read most of the Sharpe series now but Cornwell lost me with
          Sharpe's Triumph. IMHO the story is poorly constructed and the
          improbabilities and coincidences were spread so thick that I found
          myself crying out "Oh COME ON!!!" many times throughout the book. I
          don't think I be picking up Trafalgar at all.

          Also, ever notice that the later stories all seem to have the theme of
          Sharpe being accused of a crime he didn't commit and being forced to
          clear his name? Holy Formulaic writing Batman!

          J-P Johnson
          Bulger's Company
          Royal Nfld Reg't

          --------------
          J-P's Homepage: http://members.home.net/jpjohnsn/
        • Bateman, Andrew
          ... I ve read so many of these books they all blend together! Yes, they re getting worse, but they appeal to a side of my mind that wants to suspend disbelief
          Message 4 of 19 , Oct 2, 2001
            > -----Original Message-----
            > From: John-Paul Johnson [mailto:jpjohnsn@...]
            >
            > I've read most of the Sharpe series now but Cornwell lost me with
            > Sharpe's Triumph. IMHO the story is poorly constructed and the
            > improbabilities and coincidences were spread so thick that I found
            > myself crying out "Oh COME ON!!!" many times throughout the book. I
            > don't think I be picking up Trafalgar at all.

            I've read so many of these books they all blend together! Yes, they're
            getting worse, but they appeal to a side of my mind that wants to suspend
            disbelief and be entertained.

            The main problem is the inconsistencies that crop up as Cornwell tries to
            pack more and more action into the parts of Sharpe's life before "Sharpe's
            Rifles". A French ambush in that book (in 1809) was supposed to be Sharpe's
            first uncertain time leading men under fire. Yet in "Sharpe's Fortress"
            (1804?) he leads 80 men over the wall at Gawlighur to capture the gate from
            behind and appears very confident doing it. One other thing I've noticed
            about all the India books: they all end with Sharpe throwing Hakeswill to
            dangerous animals!

            Hope Cornwell decides to continue the Starbuck chronicles instead. Left the
            poor guy stranded at the end of Antietam!

            Andrew Bateman, 1/41st
          • petemonahan@aol.com
            euan What do we think of Sharpe? Great military soap opera -I ve read and own them all- but not exactly 100% H.A.! Also, as The Sharpe Site points out, the
            Message 5 of 19 , Oct 2, 2001
              euan
              What do we think of Sharpe? Great military soap opera -I've read and own
              them all- but not exactly 100% H.A.! Also, as "The Sharpe Site" points out,
              the man has more than even the proverbial 9 lives. ( One of their pages lists
              all his wounds - his surface scars alone must look like a road map of the
              Peninsula!) And the plots get a wee bit predictable, especially the
              improbable, doomed from the start lust interest.

              Having said all that, will I read the next one? You betcha!

              Peter Monahan,
              Royal Nfld. Reg't
            • Larry Lozon
              From: thecheetah What do you guys think of the Sharpe Series of books? ....................................... Euan: take
              Message 6 of 19 , Oct 2, 2001
                From: "thecheetah" <euan.wilkinson@...>

                What do you guys think of the Sharpe Series of books?
                .......................................

                Euan:

                take a tour through

                http://groups.yahoo.com/group/WarOf1812/messages

                this subject raises it's head every six to eight months!
                ~ there are mega postings on this subject

                enjoy :-)
              • colsjtjones2000@yahoo.ca
                Michael - I thought you were right on in your response. I have enjoyed the Sharpe novels, but I take them with a grain of salt - and I often cringe when
                Message 7 of 19 , Oct 2, 2001
                  Michael - I thought you were right on in your response. I have
                  enjoyed the Sharpe novels, but I take them with a grain of salt -
                  and I often cringe when Cornwell takes too much license with
                  historical fact. I have enjoyed the TV series, although it takes
                  even more license, and more cringing.

                  Other people have cringed at Trafalgar. But Sharpe's description of
                  the battle *itself* as really a non participant is not bad. Look at
                  Cornwell's references for it - he certainly consulted the
                  appropriate people.

                  Doug


                  --- In WarOf1812@y..., "PEGGY MATHEWS" <ciefranche21e@m...> wrote:
                  > Well, where to begin? They are entertaining historical *fiction*,
                  woven around the Napoleonic Wars and slightly beyond. They follow
                  the traditional, stereotypical image of the crude gutter-lout British
                  soldier, most of whom have a heart of gold inside. The officer corps
                  are largely either incompetent ego-maniacs or noble lads usually
                  destined for an early exit. The French are typically brave and
                  dedicated (where's the glory in beating a weak foe?) with one
                  sympathetic officer who inevitably dies and one despicable Frenchman
                  who often lingers through several books. The Spanish are usually
                  portrayed in the worst possible light, once again in keeping with the
                  popular stereotype.
                  >
                  > There are factual errors both in terms of the armies and the
                  tactics, though as a recurring theme it seems to be in order to
                  perpetuate the popular myths.
                  >
                  > Sharpe is not totally a superman, as he sometimes misses, sometimes
                  has a misfire, and is frequently wounded. Though as a hero he will
                  survive near certain death at least once a book, usually in a
                  plausible manner. He is sometimes outsmarted in the short term, but
                  his street smarts will always prevail in the end.
                  >
                  > As is often the case with a successful series, the author has taken
                  Sharpie (I love the character of Sgt. Hakeswill, especially as played
                  in the TV series) to too many places, and been at the heart of too
                  many events. I followed him through the Peninsula to South America,
                  and then back to India. but when he showed up at Trafalgar I dropped
                  out. Perhaps when I've read everything else pending in my library....
                  >
                  > The TV series did more good than harm IMO. While perpetuating some
                  myths it also created a renewed interest in the Peninsula War and as
                  a sideline, reenacting. It then behooves us to take the interested
                  neophyte and lead them to the correct path(s).
                  >
                  > Hope this helps.
                  >
                  > Michael
                  >
                  > ----- Original Message -----
                  > From: thecheetah
                  > Sent: Tuesday, October 02, 2001 7:04 AM
                  > To: WarOf1812@y...
                  > Subject: [WarOf1812] Sharpe
                  >
                  > What do you guys think of the Sharpe Series of books?
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  > The War of 1812: In Europe, thousands fought over the fate of
                  hundreds of square miles: in North America, hundreds determined the
                  fate of THOUSANDS of square miles...
                  >
                  > Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to
                  http://docs.yahoo.com/info/terms/
                  >
                  >
                  > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                • Larry Lozon
                  From: Raymond Hobbs ... ..................... We didn t have our eyes on you Sharpie! Cuz last night it was HORNBLOWER The Duel on
                  Message 8 of 19 , Mar 1, 2002
                    From: "Raymond Hobbs" <ray.hobbs@...>


                    > Interesting that the 24th (and indeed the 23rd - Royal Welch Fusliers)
                    > were present at so many battles in the Peninsula - yet they are
                    > completely ignored by Bernard Cornwell in his Sharpe books.
                    .....................

                    We didn't have our eyes on you Sharpie!

                    Cuz last night it was HORNBLOWER "The Duel"
                    on the telly
                  • Peter Catley
                    Cornwall ignores almost all the Regiments in the Peninsula. He only really mentions the rifle regiments and the fictious South Essex . The 1/23rd (Royal Welsh
                    Message 9 of 19 , Mar 1, 2002
                      Cornwall ignores almost all the Regiments in the Peninsula. He only really
                      mentions the rifle regiments and the fictious "South Essex".

                      The 1/23rd (Royal Welsh Fusiliers) and 2/24th (2nd Warwickshire) Regiments
                      have a fine history in the Peninsula war. I don't know off hand where the
                      1/24th served at this period.

                      Peter Catley

                      -----Original Message-----
                      From: Larry Lozon [mailto:lalozon@...]
                      Sent: 01 March 2002 21:24
                      To: WarOf1812@yahoogroups.com
                      Subject: [WarOf1812] Sharpe

                      From: "Raymond Hobbs" <ray.hobbs@...>


                      > Interesting that the 24th (and indeed the 23rd - Royal Welch Fusliers)
                      > were present at so many battles in the Peninsula - yet they are
                      > completely ignored by Bernard Cornwell in his Sharpe books.
                      .....................

                      We didn't have our eyes on you Sharpie!

                      Cuz last night it was HORNBLOWER "The Duel"
                      on the telly




















                      The War of 1812: In Europe, thousands fought over the fate of hundreds of
                      square miles: in North America, hundreds determined the fate of THOUSANDS of
                      square miles...

                      Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to http://docs.yahoo.com/info/terms/
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