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First Blood

(Rambo: First Blood #1)

really liked it 4.00  ·  Rating details ·  6,771 ratings  ·  564 reviews
First came the man: a young wanderer in a fatigue coat and long hair. Then came the legend, as John Rambo sprang from the pages of FIRST BLOOD to take his place in the American cultural landscape. This remarkable novel pits a young Vietnam veteran against a small-town cop who doesn't know whom he's dealing with -- or how far Rambo will take him into a life-and-death strugg ...more
Paperback, 320 pages
Published February 1st 2000 by Grand Central Publishing (first published January 1972)
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really liked it Average rating 4.00  · 
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 ·  6,771 ratings  ·  564 reviews

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Shelby *trains flying monkeys*
Jun 18, 2015 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Shelby *trains flying monkeys* by: 11811 (Eleven)
I'm ashamed to admit that I didn't know that the movie "First Blood" was based on this book. So when my friend 11811 (Eleven) reviewed this book I put in a request for it immediately.

Rambo shows up in a small town in Kentucky. The local sheriff doesn't like "his kind" being in his town so he takes him and dumps him out at the end of town. Rambo comes back. Then sheriff Teasle does it again. A couple of times. Rambo takes offense to being told that he can't be in town. He also takes offense to Sh
Jan 19, 2020 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Anyone Interested in Rambo, Vietnam, or Adventure Books
"I don't kill for a living."

"Of course not. You tolerate a system that lets others do it for you. And when they come back from the war, you can't stand the smell of death on them."

“Don't start nothin', won't be nothin'.” - Will Smith MIB, not the originator of this quote.

“Did not know who he was fucking with.” - Richard B. Riddick, escaped convict, murderer.

Actually, books and movies who follow the did-not-know-who-he-was-fucking-with trope are some of my absolute favorites. However, I'm
Algernon (Darth Anyan)
May 08, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2017

His name was Rambo, and he was just some nothing kid for all anybody knew, standing by the pump of a gas station at the outskirts of Madison, Kentucky. He had a long heavy beard, and his hair was hanging down over his ears to his neck, and he had his hand out trying to thumb a ride from a car that was stopped at the pump. To see him there, leaning on one hip, a Coke bottle in his hand and a rolled-up sleeping bag near his boots on the tar pavement, you could never have guessed that on Tuesday,
Neil Walker
Nov 20, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Most people will come to First Blood having seen the film first, as well as the three sequels. While the book does contain the thriller aspect and some of the action of the film, it is also a kind of dark character study into how a person can be affected by military training and the traumas of war.

In terms of the influence of this novel on me as an author, I would say that the protagonist, J. Rambo, has a number of similarities to my own John Kennedy character. These will become even more appare
On a warm fall day in the small Kentucky town of Madison, Rambo (unlike the movie, there is no first name given here) arrives carrying a sleeping bag and a few meager possessions. Given his unkempt state (long hair, unshaven), he’s fingered for vagrancy and quickly picked up by Wilfred Teasle, the local sheriff, driven to the edge of town and issued a warning – don’t let Wilfred see him around these parts again. Undeterred, Rambo walks back into town as the whole ordeal plays out a second time.

A classic. I first read this novel in 1982. It was very exciting at the time.I was fourteen.

It's been (probably) a couple decades since I last read First Blood. It's showing it's age a little more now. Still not a bad read, but it's really nothing more than a glorified chase story. A product of it's time. Make no mistake about it there were many folks in the early seventies who were nervous about the returning veterans. Many truly believed that we were going to have warfare erupt ,on a large s
Grady Hendrix
Nov 06, 2018 rated it really liked it
David Morrell leads a writing workshop in delivering stomach-churning on-the-body sensation. So good I stole the bat cave sequence for We Sold Our Souls.
11811 (Eleven)
Nov 28, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: favorites
I think this is a must read for fans of the movie. There are as many similarities as there are differences but I enjoyed both equally. I loved the movie when I was 10. I need to watch it again to see how it has held up all these years.

Fantastic read. Goes on the favorites shelf.
Horace Derwent
May 17, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Many ladies cried their hearts out for Virginia Wolfe, I could've cried out mine for this, but I didn't

The Jerry Goldsmith and Dan Hill's It's a long road the song, it cried out my heart like hell
May 20, 2010 rated it it was amazing
First Blood, a first read 40 years too late in reading for many. The author starts the story with introducing a name, Rambo and having the reader build an image of this character in mind, he successfully paints the portrait partly introducing Rambo, the long hair, the rough looking image, his sleeping carry sack on the road drifting wondering and then loads us with confrontation a police officer that seems to have issues with his hair, his wondering, his smarts and his look of a man that can tak ...more
Apr 01, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Allow me to introduce John Rambo. He's a little surly since coming home from Vietnam, so please forgive his outbursts. It doesn't help that Sheriff Teasle is constantly trying to throw my friend out of the small, back-wooded town of Madison, Kentucky. You see, the good old sheriff has a problem when someone doesn't take his words to heart. Rambo just happens to be that someone. I tried talking to Rambo, but all he kept saying was "Adrian! Adrian!" I know…I was just as confused. Anyways, Teasle p ...more
Thomas Strömquist
I read this book when I was 14 and thumbing through it now I seem to remember most of it, so it really must've impressed a lot. The Swedish title, (back translated "The Duel") actually improves upon the book (but had to stand back after the success of the movie, of course). Already then, I was so envious of my friend, who had a very nice earlier hardback without the movie tie-in cover. Superficially small, the differences between book and film actually makes this quite a different story and if y ...more
Thomas Flowers
Mar 27, 2017 rated it really liked it
I'm ashamed to say that I had no idea First Blood was a book before it was a movie. Glad to have this error corrected and was equally glad to have gotten the chance to read this amazing book. Now, there were some drastic changes from film to print or print to film more like. And that's okay. I never expect the movie to be just like the film. There have to be differences, so long as the essence remains intact. And for the most part, the essence of First Blood, be it Sylvester Stallone or just the ...more
Bob Mayer
Apr 26, 2020 rated it it was amazing
A different story, theme and ending than the movie. In fact, the two might be considered diametrically opposed once you absorb the messages. It is perhaps ironic that a novel that covers the effect of war on the psyche turns into the buzz word for militarism. As a Special Forces veteran I found the treatment of SF interesting. We are not all who we appear to be.
May 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I could have sworn I'd at least added this to my books here on GR, if not read & reviewed sometime in the past decade. Apparently not. A friend recently read & reviewed it, but it wasn't in my books! Don't know why. This is an old favorite, the first of Morrell's that I ever read. It's one reason why I've kept reading his books for over 40 years. He's never quite managed another quite as good, but he's come close.

Last Reveille is mighty close. There is some similarity between the two. While Mor
Mike (the Paladin)
Nov 10, 2009 rated it liked it
Not baddly written I was torn between the 3 or 4 and finally went with 3, but it may be some better than that. Sad in its own way...seen the movie but not read the book? Read the book.
Jul 09, 2014 rated it liked it
Solid novel with some great characterization. Rambo is an anti-hero of sorts and I found myself not as sympathetic towards him as I thought I would be. Teasle was a character that I disliked solely because of his arrogance and stubbornness. Different in some spots from the movie but overall a worth while read. Being a fan of the Rambo movies, I'm glad that I took the time to see where it all began. 3.5 stars
Joseph Finder
Dec 16, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Forget whatever you think about Sly Stallone and Rambo. This book is a now-classic chase novel, a mano à mano confrontation between a damaged Vietnam vet and a sheriff, and you won't be sure whom to root for.
Apr 22, 2019 rated it it was ok
Ladies and gentlemen I ask pardon if this criticism is not to me very well. Despite a number of recommended hours to sleep today I woke up a little thick, and atontado. Yet I hope to live up to. Already know the users of Goodreads, and if not I say it as my beloved Juan Manuel de Prada
I am a cinefago, and one of my favorite cinematic times is the Decade of the 80s, and part of the 90s. In the Reagan era, perhaps it was not sustained in appropriate values
Jarek "the Mistborn" Dąbrowski
Feb 14, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-in-2018
Rambo....What else do you need?:D
The book is quite different then the movie in my opinion. We get to see a Rambo and Teasle in a different perspective with different motives for their actions which is pretty interesting. The writing style is not the best ive seen but the narrative managed to keep me interested enough. The change of pov from chapter to chapter keeps the pacing going well and lets you analize and compare both rambo and teasles characters. Overall a pretty good read and Id reccomm
Arun Divakar
Feb 02, 2013 rated it liked it
John Rambo is a cultural icon for me like a lot of you out here. You cannot be growing up in the 80's without having Rambo's name mentioned atleast once in your vicinity. Out here in my place, this guy was treated the ultimate warrior when I was a kid. Childhood memories remind me of teenaged guys in the neighborhood with hazy eyes talking to each other about the non-stop action from First Blood . It is then extremely ironic that I came to know that the movie's name was not Rambo perhaps only a ...more
Daniel Kincaid
May 17, 2018 rated it liked it
Ever since I finished "Double Image" 21 years ago, I became a fan of David Morrell, and the more I read his novels, the more I learned to appreciate him. He always had a knack to flesh out characters and their true natures by pitting them against extreme, life changing situations, putting their resolve to the test. Action, international intrigue, psychology, three-dimensional characters- he's done it all to the nth degree.
That being said, I was never a fan of "First Blood"- not the book and esp
Mar 03, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: action, read-in-2012
This is definitely not my usual genre of book. I never even had any desire to see the movie, Rambo. All, I know about Rambo is this picture I have in my head of Sylvester Stallone wearing a headband and carrying a gun. I'm not even sure if that is from a movie poster or a scene from the movie possibly. I had no desire to either see the movie or read the book, but a friend a work, who I recommend books back and forth with MADE me read this. He insisted it was his favorite book and I agreed to rea ...more
Bon Tom
May 08, 2018 rated it really liked it
I've read this long time ago, as a kid in seventh grade.

As all my friends, I wanted to be Rambo too. Didn't have muscles, but hair was there, lots of it. With enough Coke, I also could have swallowed even worst hamburgers, with or without onions.

Years later, muscles are here, hair is on its last legs but still holding, and I'm picky about my hamburgers far more than about my women. I could eat any woman nowadays. Comes with the territory of middle age I guess.

And I'm reading far more than shoo
Lloyd Kerns
Sep 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
Dude. That was a deep read. More than I expected. Many passages I could reread over and over. David Morrell writes with the poetic simplicity of Laymon or Bukowski, where the words flows using ordinary language with such precision. I was never pulled from the story.
Aiden Merchant
May 06, 2020 rated it it was amazing
4.5 ⭐ -- I have been meaning to read this book for many years, seeing as I enjoy the movie series. I knew the ending, more or less, because I've seen the alternate cut from the original film adaptation. However, I do not remember the movie having so much destruction to the town or such a high death count; I will have to go back and watch the movie to make comparisons.

I really enjoyed this novel. There's a lot of excitement and character development to dissect. There were moments where I felt a l
Michael Sellars
Apr 07, 2019 rated it really liked it
Second time round for me, and more than holds up. Far more morally complex than the film. Rambo is not simply a good guy pushed too far. He makes bad decisions and he kills without compunction. He's a soldier at war. And his nemesis, Teasle, is no thoughtless redneck; though he too makes mistakes aplenty. An action-packed thrill-ride with intelligence and heart.
Jul 29, 2019 rated it liked it
This review is long and completely full of spoilers. You have been warned. For those wondering why I would ever read the Rambo book, please know that it was a challenge book from my friend George. We have kidded each other about Rambo for years now, and it was finally time to put my book where my mouth resides. I vaguely remember the movies. They used to play on base TV pretty regularly when I was a child. But most of what I remember is Rambo coming out of the water in the black tee-shirt and re ...more
This Film is Lit
One man wages war against an entire town in an unflinching exploration of war, obedience, and trauma. It’s First Blood, and This Film is Lit.

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Brock Brunner
Sep 09, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Personal Response:
I found this book to be very action-packed and it had me on the edge of my seat to the last page. David Morrell did an outstanding job on this book and he sure knows how to keep a reader hooked, because I sure was. This book had everything a Rambo fan would want; action, suspense, killing, it was just great. This is definitely a book I would love to read again, it was just that good. Morrellś writing style is very satisfying. The way he described what was happening in the book
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David Morrell is a Canadian novelist from Kitchener, Ontario, who has been living in the United States for a number of years. He is best known for his debut 1972 novel First Blood, which would later become a successful film franchise starring Sylvester Stallone. More recently, he has been writing the Captain America comic books limited-series The Chosen.

Other books in the series

Rambo: First Blood (4 books)
  • Rambo: First Blood, Part II
  • Rambo III
  • Rambo and Me: The Story Behind the Story, an essay

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