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The Bachman Books: Four Early Novels by Stephen King

4.12  ·  Rating details ·  69,209 ratings  ·  893 reviews
The name on the cover was "Richard Bachman," but the imagination inside could only belong to one man--Stephen King. for years readers of these four novels wrote to "Bachman," asking if the author was really Stephen King writing under a pseudonym. At last the secret is out--and so are these four spellbinding tales of future shock and suspense, now available in one volume.

Hardcover, 692 pages
Published October 4th 1985 by NAL Books (first published October 1985)
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Popular Answered Questions
BRNTerri Sudipto, yes, that ISBN matches up with the 1987 edition that says it has all four books in it.

I just received this edition, ISBN 0452257743 that I b…more
Sudipto, yes, that ISBN matches up with the 1987 edition that says it has all four books in it.

I just received this edition, ISBN 0452257743 that I bought from Amazon for 83 cents, so you may want to try that one too.(less)

Community Reviews

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Average rating 4.12  · 
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 ·  69,209 ratings  ·  893 reviews

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Stefan Yates
Feb 01, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: stephen-king
One of King’s earliest works, Rage wasn’t published until he had established himself and when it was, it was published under the author name Richard Bachman. This novel is definitely raw in many aspects, but I think that is what helps to give it its charm.
The story centers on a student who kills his teacher in front of his class and holds the class hostage for most of the day. He and the class then discuss a variety of issues, but the main conversation revolves around what has led him to t
Jen from Quebec :0)
I love all 4 of King's novels found within 'The Bachman Books' collection, but currently, I've just re-read THE LONG WALK...a book I re-read every single year. Yes, it IS that good. I never tire of it. Every time I re-read this work I'm again stunned by the incredible amount of prescience possessed by Uncle Stevie! It is as if he has seen a future vision of North America that actually *could* happen. No supernatural stuff in this one: just the all-too-real monsters of human beings and capitalism ...more
Nicola Mansfield
May 21, 2014 rated it really liked it
Reason for Reading: I'm in the process of of re/reading all of Stephen King's works in chronological order. I'm reading these books individually in the order they were published between his other works. After having read through the entire book over the time period of a few years I've concluded that "The Long Walk" is my favourite novel here, which I do remember enjoying a lot the first time around also. My least favourite was "Roadwork", though I'll say I didn't not like any of them. Taken toge ...more
Jun 02, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a book of two halves. Or rather, one third and two thirds. I loved both The Long Walk and The Running Man,, but found Roadwork a bit bland. It's a good thing they stuck it in the middle, because I may have just given up on it if it had been the last of the three stories included in this book. But, as they say, two out of three ain't bad.

The Long Walk sees teenage boys doing just what it says on the tin: walking. And walking. And walking. The last one standing - walking - wins everything
Aug 05, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Rage was so predictive! I'm glad it's no longer in print, but equally glad I read it first.
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jul 08, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a collection of four novels. As I finish them, I will write mini-reviews for them.

Rage: While unrealistic in many senses, this has been among the most interesting and gripping Stephen King story I've read yet. The mob mentality that is created and the twist that makes this horror instead of just a thriller is something that could have come off as amaturish, but works really well under King's hand. The horror in this story is namely in that in underminds all the classical stereotypes of w
Jul 06, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
These four novellas are almost as good as their cousins from Different Seasons . It's a shame that the Columbine Shootings have directly proceeded to the best of the four stories—Rage, with its everyone-can-find-some-angle-to-relate-to protagonist Charlie Decker, he who thrashed in his sleep whilst in the marescape of The Cherokee Nose Job—being consigned to the ashbin of publishing history. No more shall the intrepid young reader experience the thrilling fractured-mirror empathic pulses from ...more
Some of King's best stories are in this collection, notably Rage, written years before Columbine, The Long Walk, which is like The Hunger Games without the love triangle or the optimism, and The Running Man, which is much darker and much better than the movie that was (very, very loosely) based on it. These are all typically grim King stories, but without the supernatural flavor of most of his work.
Marnie  (Enchanted Bibliophile)
I reviewed each story separately.
Go check out my reviews.

The Long Walk: 4*
My Review: The Long Walk
Roadwork: 3*
My Review: Roadwork
The Running Man: 5*
My Review: The Running Man
Jul 29, 2008 rated it really liked it
This is a great collection of early Bachman stories written by Stephen King: Rage, The Long Walk, The Running Man, and Roadwork. I've reviewed them all separately, and some I've liked more than others, but still, in my profession and expert opinion, it's hard to go wrong with King. ;)
Veronika Duritzdeschain
Without a doubt one of my favourite books, the Bachman Books proves that horror is not about vampires, werewolves and blood but rather about human nature, depravity and circumstance. The Long Walk, Rage, Roadwork and the Running Man were included in my copy, with Thinner and the Regulators being read seperately. Out of them all I would have to say that the Long Walk was my favourite for its intensity and bitter comprehension. I used these stories as examples whenever people feel it necessary to ...more
Aurora Dimitre
Every time I re-read this, with my old, ragged copy that's falling apart at the seams with masking tape and hope keeping it from completely collapsing into a pile of loose pages, I fall a little bit more in love with it. I'm going to take it a novel at a time, because I love each and every one of them, even if it did take me a while to enjoy Roadwork as much as I do now, or at all, really, so let's get started.

Rage, first of all - I've always loved Rage, and I love that it's the first one in the
Jul 12, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fiction fans
Shelves: stephenking
I think this was my second or third King book. It collects all but Thinner of the original five Bachman novellas.
"The Running Man" I already reviewed. Better than (and WAY different from) than the movie
"The Long Walk" I also already reviewed. it's one of my favorite stories of all time. Love it.
"Roadwork" I don't remember all that well, but I know I liked it.
"Rage" was the controversial one. It's about a student who took his high school class hostage, killing the teacher in the process. The rest
Jun 29, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I read these back in 2015. These stories make me think of Stephen King's short story, UR. Imagine another universe where SK chose to write literary fiction instead of horror. I love his literary fiction, especially The Long Walk. I enjoy his genius in literary contrast. In his controversial book, Rage, I found myself laughing at the killer's dark humor and trying to stop myself, because it felt wrong to laugh.
Billy Roper
Oct 15, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The original version of "The Running Man" would have made a much better movie than the one Arnold starred in, but with the 9/11 attacks and the protagonist's obvious racial views and language, it couldn't have been done by a Jewish owned Hollywood movie studio. King had a more realistic worldview before he got hit by that car and totally cucked.
Jul 24, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: King fans
Shelves: horror, scifi
Updating this review after 12 years.

Road Work is the only weak link in this book, although legend has it that Rage is out of print finally (probably to King's great relief). Update: I still find this to be the weakest of the four stories, but now as a more adulty-adult than I was when I first read it, I can recommend it for its understanding of the mindless machine of government "progress," and of the terror of being an adult and still having no control over your world. It's not a bad story, it
Rebecca McNutt
May 13, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Some of King's best work, written under a pseudonym and filled with chilling terror, originality and complexity. Definitely worth reading, especially if you're a fan of Stephen King's older and more superior works like Carrie and Pet Sematary. ...more
May 10, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: stephen-king
This is the omnibus that is no longer sold commercially, thanks to the lead novella "Rage," which was found in the locker of one of the school shooters of the late '90s. You will now find editions of the other three novellas sold separately. Luckily for me, I bought this before SK took this one off the market.

Looking back 10+ years later, I think most of these stories hold up very well (especially since some of them were among the first things King ever wrote); "The Running Man" is the only clun
Jun 21, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: americana
This is the first "dirty book" that I ever read in my life. I mean, I had not read anything except Famous Five, Five Find Outers and Secret Seven during my teens. So reading The Bachman Books (with all the language and sex), when I was around fifteen was truly shocking. I was especially affected by The Long Walk and Road Work.

I haven't read this collection of short stories in a while. But I remember how Garraty's relationship with Priscilla did not work out because of the smell of cow dung (or
Erik Graff
Sep 08, 2009 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: King fans
Recommended to Erik by: Fin Einar Graff
Shelves: literature
I actually like a lot of what Stephen King has written although some of it, like The Gunslinger, seems too hastily written and lengthy. This one of the better collections. I liked The Long Walk (1979) especially.
Jun 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a collection of four early Stephen King novels which were originally published under his now famous Richard Bachman pseudonym. The Long Walk and The Running Man are arguably in the ball park of science fiction, Roadwork is a very interesting character study, and Rage is a chilling and foreshadowing vision of Columbine and such subsequent incidents. The novels are all substantially shorter than almost all of his later works, and have a pure and exhilarating full-speed-ahead-and-damn-the-t ...more
avery (avereads)
May 27, 2020 rated it liked it
Rage - no rating, but an interesting uncomfortable story
The Long Walk - 4 stars, very bleak
Roadwork - 0.5 only the Exorcist refs got it the half star
The Running Man - 5 stars, this was incredible
Nov 24, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: favorite-author
The Long Walk finalizes the first four Bachman books for me. For sake of brevity, I reviewed the other three stories individually.

I’m a little torn by what to rate this particular story. The first half started out very strong. I’d give it 3.5 stars. What an insane story! One hundred boys are on a walk of endurance for their lives, and only one can survive. This is not just a simple 10 mile marathon. No. This walk crosses at least three states. The boys are not allowed to go under four miles, ste
Edward Lorn
Look for the individual books (RAGE, THE LONG WALK, ROADWORK, THE RUNNING MAN) for my reviews of each.
Jan 10, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Three Stephen King novellas written under the pseudonym of Richard Bachman collected together in one volume.

Products of their time, two of them featured dystopian futures that pre-dates reality television - which makes for an interesting read.

The collection isn’t the strongest, but a must for King fans.
What a mixed bag. I loved The Long Walk with its imaginative plot and great character study. Who would have thought that a book about walking can be so intense and gruesome? Hunger Games has nothing on this bad boy. Roadwork, on the other hand, kind of bored me. I could see what it was trying to do - mainly a slow unraveling of the main character into madness, - but I just couldn't focus on the story. What is the motivation? Why the stubbornness? I understand that the house represented more than ...more
J.M. Hushour
Three-stars is what the whole volume averages out to. I'll rate the four novels individually:

Rage: 1 star. It's puerile and terrible. Textbook teen angst and resultant school shooting. A yawner considering the quality of the next one...

The Long Walk: 4-5 stars? Hard to say. It is inventive, nerve-wracking and weird. Whereas the dialogue sometimes fumbles (what teenager calls anyone 'whoreson'? wonders the main character himself) and some of the characters are wafer thin, it's very original and r
If this was a short story book I would have given it an overall rating but since its four novellas I figured it was best to rate each story.

Rage- 3 stars- I don't really know what to say about this one. I almost don't remember it because it was so short and didn't really have anything that stood out as significant. I don't remember hating it either so ya that's Rage.

The Long Walk- 2 stars- I was really expecting this one to be my favorite of the four because of all the good stuff I heard about
Rage - The banned Bachman book that is more notorious for being banned than - the student loses it at school, kills and takes a class hostage story. Still a story very much ahead of its time when it was written. 4 out of 12

The Long Walk - This book haunts me, an exceptionally horrifying read. 100 teenage boys compete in the Long Walk endurance race… where there can only be one winner and the losers die or are killed! So far ahead of it's time, as King/Bachman takes the reality TV show to its log
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Stephen Edwin King was born the second son of Donald and Nellie Ruth Pillsbury King. After his father left them when Stephen was two, he and his older brother, David, were raised by his mother. Parts of his childhood were spent in Fort Wayne, Indiana, where his father's family was at the time, and in Stratford, Connecticut. When Stephen was eleven, his mother brought her children back to Durham, M ...more

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