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3.95  ·  Rating details ·  3,999 ratings  ·  459 reviews

A master of stripped-down, powerful storytelling reworks the David-and-Goliath myth.

Goliath of Gath isn’t much of a fighter. Given half a choice, he would pick admin work over patrolling in a heartbeat, to say nothing of his distaste for engaging in combat. Nonetheless, at the behest of the king, he finds himself issuing a twice-daily challenge to the Israelites: “

Hardcover, 96 pages
Published February 28th 2012 by Drawn and Quarterly (first published January 1st 2012)
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Kiley At the end of the book, the Biblical story of David and Goliath plays out, and the shepherd David comes to kill the giant Goliath to save the Israelit…moreAt the end of the book, the Biblical story of David and Goliath plays out, and the shepherd David comes to kill the giant Goliath to save the Israelite army. By telling the story from Goliath's point of view, Tom Gauld strips away the black-and-white morality of the Bible story to show the way that regular people are manipulated by the powerful into moments of tragic violence.(less)

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 ·  3,999 ratings  ·  459 reviews

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oh, god - poor goliath!

singled out because of his massive size, forced to wear ceremonial armor that crumbles around him and stand in the same place day after day, quoting the same prepared script after sleeping exposed to the elements all night, just to intimidate the enemy and prevent them from attacking.

he's just a big sweet guy who took a promotion he didn't really want that turned out to be a pretty boring job.


some punk kid comes on the scene.

and you know what happens next.

poor, po
Poor Goliath! He should have won the fight, so he could go back to his administration. He even didn’t like to fight. And the stories people tell about him aren’t true, either. He can’t burn things just by staring at them. And he did not punch a camel and kill it. He doesn’t eat rocks, and he doesn’t have a gigantic you-know-what ... I think.
A senseless waste of human life.
And a waste of money.
Jan Philipzig
Putting the spotlight on Goliath rather than David, this tragic and wryly comical version of the biblical story radically twists its message from yes-you-can to anti-war. Tom Gauld’s Goliath is no monster but a gentle and meek man who gets pushed to the front line by a careless king and his ruthless captain merely because he happens to be tall. What may sound like a cheap gimmick becomes in Gauld’s capable hands a clever and rather macabre critique of fundamental Western values and ideals.
Feb 04, 2013 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: let a captain lacerate a caption
Recommended to Mariel by: identify all saints linked around the fountains warmth
We are soldiers you know.
Ok. Next time I'll kill somebody.

I got lost in Goliath's giant figure slumped against nondescript rock formations. Peaceful in their in the middle of nowhere nondescriptness. Day, night, almost day, almost night and behind your back. His face hidden under a beard I didn't attach my feelings to puzzlement. A longing to sit at a desk and do admin work. Goliath was good at admin work. Days behind your back. I imagine days would be better if the day before was cer
David Schaafsma
Apr 24, 2013 rated it really liked it
Beautiful book, very strong with clean, bold lines and a dry wit and sad. The idea, to write the David and Goliath story in terms of a reluctant Goliath, reminds me of Grendel or The True Story of the Big Bad Wolf...
Nov 20, 2018 rated it liked it
I don’t normally read graphic novels, but I quite enjoyed this imaginative retelling of the old Bible story. Not only is it told from Goliath’s perspective, but in these pages he’s very much a gentle giant and, as the blurb says, not much of a fighter. He’s happiest in the army when he gets the chance to do admin work, which he’s very good at. It’s his sheer size that leads the Philistine commander to send him out every day to issue a challenge to the Israelites.

At the start of the story Goliath
Sam Quixote
Feb 27, 2012 rated it really liked it
A freakishly tall yet meek army admin clerk called Goliath is tricked into pretending to be his army’s “giant champion”, a symbol that one of the King’s advisors hopes will end the conflict if the opposing army’s champion fails to meet Goliath’s challenge. Alas, we all know how it ends…

Tom Gauld shows a different side to the famous David and Goliath story with Goliath portrayed as not the giant he was purported to be but an overly tall chap near 7 feet tall, who prefers working quietly at his de
Jesse A
A sad story. Reading this makes me think about how in war it's rarely good vs evil. While we know from the Bible story that Goliath was chosen for his purpose, we can't say he was a bad guy. Maybe he was just a simple admin.
Jon Nakapalau
Sep 23, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Told from the perspective of Goliath...we hear a side of the famous story never heard before.
Mar 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Zedsdead by: Just exploring.
A sweet, sad retelling of the David-and-Goliath story from the Philistine's point of view. Goliath is an introspective gentle giant who's proud of his skill at paperwork and extremely unsure of this business of yelling challenges at the enemy camp. But duty calls and he's been assured that these actions will end the war without bloodshed...

There's an implicit criticism of the kind of disinterested or incompetent leadership that gets good people killed unnecessarily. David wasn't even the bad guy
Dov Zeller
Beautiful retelling of the David and Goliath story with Goliath as underdog protagonist. This book is not quite in black and white, more like black, brown and white, and the use of color, texture, black space and white space and perspective are all done with a very strong sense of mood and timing. This is a solemnly funny book, with a soulful dash of "Ferdinand" and perhaps the tiniest touch of Shrek. Gauld brings Goliath into its fabular fullness and it is hard not to fall in love with Goliath ...more
Nov 01, 2012 rated it it was ok
A short book in a lot of different ways - short in number of pages, short on impact, and short on originality. Obviously any kind of suspense about how it turns out isn't the point - this is a story we all know the end of, after all. Here Goliath is presented as a reluctant champion for the Philistines who is hoping that nobody will show up to fight him. But presenting the story in this way doesn't really constitute originality. The ideas are just about as surprising as how the story turns out - ...more
Jul 12, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Dawn by: Literary Disco podcast
In his somewhat stark and beautiful way, the author reminds us that no matter how often we've been told a story - we only know one side of that story.

A sad and lovely telling of the David and Goliath story. And now I have to go sit in a corner and feel terrible for Goliath.

**A day later and it continues to (this sounds melodramatic, but I'm going to use the word anyway) haunt me. In my world, that is a pretty sure indication that a book deserves five stars.**
Nov 06, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: comics
As I read this, I began to remember this weird biblical video my third grade class viewed. The video depicted the story of David and the "evil" giant Goliath fighting to the death. Except, it was told through puppetry. And the stone that killed Goliath was singing about being a stone. It was quite a trip....
But, anyway, in my sixteen years of religious education I have experienced, I never once thought of Goliath in such a manner as Tom Gauld does. And I praise him for that.
Peter Landau
Oct 26, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I’m boxing up books for a move, and getting rid of anything I’ve read and keeping whatever I may actually read. I have a lot of books, and this is doing the bare minimum to reduce that number, but it’s a start. And that’s how I unearthed Tom Gauld’s GOLIATH. After wiping off the dust from the cover I sat on the porch and read it in a sitting.

I bought it, I think, because of the artwork. I always buy comics on their art. No matter how could the writer, if the artwork sucks, the story loses me. B
May 12, 2012 rated it liked it
This is a retelling of the David and Goliath story, and this time you're friends with Goliath instead of David. It's slow in a way that I liked, with lots of scenes of Goliath and his shield-bearer sitting on rocks not doing anything. The art is simple and black and brown, and I liked that too. As a story it's only sort of satisfying, and would probably be baffling if you somehow didn't know the original version. As a criticism of the one-sidedness of Old Testament war stories it works pretty we ...more
Mar 30, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I read this mainly because I find Gauld's art so beautiful. I love the obsessive-looking hatching, and the tiny, expressive, dumpy stick-men figures. While this is a reworking of the David and Goliath story, it doesn't actually change the main text--it just adds a story around the edges. What's lovely about this is that Gauld actually keeps the Bible story within certain parts of the characters' speech balloons, but renders it in a totally different block font from the other dialogue, making the ...more
Ryan Werner
Dec 27, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: comics
This is the best of the three Tom Gauld books I’ve read. Much like Mooncop’s singular idea of “Wouldn’t a police officer get really lonely if they were patrolling the mostly-vacant moon all alone?” Goliath is essentially “What if Goliath from the story of David and Goliath was just some tall administrator who got roped into being the phony battlefront?”

It’s a more interesting idea at its core than Mooncop, delivered in the same minimalist package. Gauld has a simple style where everyone looks ki
Aug 10, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: graphic-novel
If there was a Pedro the Lion graphic novel, I imagine it would look like this.

Like Pedro, I read this not so much because I was planning to agree with everything it was going to say, but because it's beautiful.

So, it turns out that Goliath was actually The BFG. But even in this narrative, I found it hard to disparage David. Goliath had been taunting them for weeks, even if he didn't want to. And he was terrorizing a nation.

If there was ever a time to disobey orders, right?
Peter Derk
Jul 09, 2012 rated it liked it
I was fine.

It's not Tom Gauld's fault, but I think I'm a little sick of fictionalized versions of fictionalized stories that show things from the bad guy's perspective and show us that *gasp* he's really not a bad guy.

See: Wicked
See: Grendel
See: The True Story of the 3 Little Pigs

Once, just once, I would like to read one of these and walk away saying, "Wow, that Goliath really WAS an ass!"
I checked this out from the library because they don't have Gauld's latest book.

This is Goliath's story. And one I found myself intrigued by up to the last second of the book. I found Goliath to be am empathetic character that I wanted to prevail, but we all know how the story ends.

All in all, I'm glad I picked it up as it is filled with quiet moments on the page.
Mar 26, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: comics
go ahead and hug this book. it needs all the hugs.
Nov 17, 2016 rated it really liked it
A wonderfully sad tale of the famous Goliath. Always an interesting perspective to get the "backstory" of a villain. Thought provoking, beautiful, and heart felt. I really enjoyed this one.
Apr 10, 2017 rated it really liked it
This is my second book I've read by Gauld (I've also read Mooncop), and I love his spare yet evocative art. He also is a master of wry humor, and his art absolutely complements and extends the story.

Here we have the classic story of David and Goliath, except from Goliath's point of view. A paper pusher, Goliath is happiest when he's switched from patrol to administrative tasks. Suddenly, he's put on a top secret mission to end the war with the Israelites. Sent out into the desert, he's told to
Sep 01, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Like a fairy tale retold, a bible story retold gives you another look at something that you may have grown up with and know, but now you don't.

That is what this story is. The story of an admin assistant, not a fighter, but because Goliath is so tall, everyone assumes that he will be a good fighter, and he is chose to leave his papers and pencils, and go out in the filed and present himself, in fine armor, so that he can fight the champion of the opposing army. Every day he has to go out, and mak
Patrick McGrady
Aug 28, 2018 rated it really liked it
This was a very interesting retelling of the infamous "David vs. Goliath" from the perspective of Goliath. I think that it really drives home the point of perspective and not judging an entire situation until you know both sides of the story.

A very enjoyable quick cartoon read. I am definitely interested in checking out more by Tom Gauld in the future.
Mar 02, 2017 rated it liked it
A brief but brilliant graphic novel. This retelling of the biblical story, in which Goliath is an army paper pusher drafted into a military stunt, is hilarious but ultimately heartbreaking. Gauld is a real talent.
Zoe's Human
Jun 08, 2017 rated it it was amazing
A wonderful, minimalist retelling of a familiar story which manages still have a shocking though not surprising ending. The stark simplicity of the artwork is fantastic and enhances the growing sense of emotional unease.
This was a very short and simplistic graphic novel.

I really liked the simplistic art style of browns, whites and blacks. I read this very quickly in around ten minutes but it was very enjoyable.

Jul 09, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: novels
Heartbreaking. Suppose Goliath was merely a patsy in the grand scheme of the warfare played out between two ancient nations? This alternate interpretation is delivered in 96 pages of illustrations and word bubbles.
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Tom Gauld is a cartoonist and illustrator. He draws weekly cartoons for the Guardian newspaper and New Scientist magazine. He has created eight covers for the New Yorker and a number of comic books. He lives and works in London.

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