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The Gun

3.83  ·  Rating details ·  511 ratings  ·  42 reviews
Originally published: London: John Lane, 1933.
Paperback, 300 pages
Published January 20th 2001 by Simon Publications (first published 1933)
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Average rating 3.83  · 
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This is the book which the Hollywood film The Pride and the Passion was inspired by (view spoiler). Being a Hollywood film the role of typical Spanish peasant was played by Frank Sinatra, while that of typical Spanish peasant woman was played by the Marchioness of Licata Scicolone Murillo, and the role of typical British hero was played by Cary Grant who iirc was from Bristol.

The story the book tells is rather like that of o
Sep 05, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
One of my favorite Forester novels. Have reread multiple times.
See that many reviews refer to 'The Gun' as an 18-pounder, referring to the weight of the shot. On page 7, Forester writes about the accident that caused the retreating Spanish army to abandon the gun: " ... It would take hours to put that three tons of bronze on to its wheels again."
quoting the opening paragraph:
"A defeated army was falling back through the mountains from Espinosa. Such was its condition that an ignorant obser
Ian Russell
There was only one reason for me to read this: it was where my devotion to reading began.

Although there was a brief, earlier period in which I got through a fair amount of young person's literature, mainly the Jennings novels by Anthony Buckeridge and things like Just William, Biggles and Billy Bunter, and a few dubious youth-cult pulp-novels about skinheads and bikers. Then I stopped reading recreationally.

Throughout "big" school, my only connection to books was whatever title was set for Engli
Bob H
Apr 04, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This may perhaps be C.S. Forester's best novel, a non-Hornblower, standalone story. Its main character is a hulking, 18-pounder bronze cannon, apparently of venerable age even before the time of this story, Spain during the Napoleonic war. This gun, well-ornamented with heraldry and a Bible quote at its muzzle -- "And our mouths shall show forth Thy praise" -- is adrift in a grim period of Spanish history, a war of no mercy between occupying French forces and Spanish guerrilla bands. The gun fal ...more
Paul Cornelius
Surprisingly unfocused work. The protagonist is "The Gun" itself. While the story of the Spanish resistance to Napoleon's invasion is spread out over three different partisan heroes who take up command over an 18 pound siege gun. Their fates fall indifferently compared to that of the great cannon. All three come from varied, impoverished backgrounds. But they all rise to the occasion in a sort of Darwinian struggle to oust invaders from their territory. This novel carries the whiff of grape shot ...more
Sep 28, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Readers who want to know more about Spain or the French Invasions of the Iberian Peninsula
This is a book about the French Invasions of Spain and a cannon used throughout the war by several Spanish armies and rebels. It is a story about war and the massacres that it brings to the lives of the men who fight for freedom and the invaders who want more power.

At the beginning the premisse sounds good and the story development has a nice pace, however, near the end, it starts to be a little bit boring and the pace seems to slow a bit. The stranger thing? The only woman in the book appears
Dec 22, 2010 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Wow, is this a boring narrative written for the post WWII adolescent market. All narrative, little dramatic story telling. The main character is a giant bronze gun that Spanish partisans use to slaughter the French Infantry. Forester wrote a bad story, yet, nevertheless, he really knows how to tell a story. Skip this one.
Rosemary Forester
After the richness of the Hornblower series, I found this story somewhat dry. There just was not enough energy in it. The star of the story is a big bronze eighteen-pounder cannon that Spanish guerrillas steal from French forces during the Peninsular War. The effects that The Gun has on the lives of the freedom fighters is a study but I never became highly enthusiastic.
Feb 05, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
To my mind probably his best book - believe I liked it even better than the (great) Hornblower novels and the (magnificent) The Ship (which only a few days ago I rated four(-plus) stars, suddenly realizing, on reading Goodreads reviews, that I'd read that a long time ago). Fine rendition on Youtube by a mr. Richard Brown (?) - see my comment there. ...more
Jul 23, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A few years ago I read Forester's Hornblower series of books and thoroughly enjoyed them so when I was given this book I was very enthusiastic about reading it. Sadly I was a somewhat disappointed with it.

The book is the story of an old ornate artillery piece abandonned by the defeated regular Spanish Army, during their battle against the French during the Peninsula War, which is found and pressed into service by freedom fighters as they attempt to harry the French rearguard. Before discovering
Stuart Dean
Jan 17, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
During the Napoleonic Wars a group of Spanish peasants come across a great siege piece, an 18 pound cannon. They take it upon themselves to use this bounty to throw the French out of their country. What follows is an epic journey across Spain against the greatest army Europe had seen since the Romans.

The gun acts as a talisman. Each man in turn that gains control of it gains great power. The peasants and the partisans flock to follow whoever has the cannon, with the idea of being part of a great
Dec 30, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Coming to this from only knowing the film The Pride and the Passion, the book was not what I was expecting. (Essentially the film and the book have only the gun itself and Spain in common).

I enjoyed the book, though the tale was told in a very matter of fact, passionless way - but I have come to expect and accept this from Forester.
A classic of military historical fiction, an old school good book. Forester influenced Bernard Cornwall in writing Sharpe, but Forester's books, though fewer, are better. ...more
Sep 01, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Vintage Forester. Always a pleasure.
Brief novel about the triumphs of an eighteen-pound siege gun as it passes from guerilla to guerilla, inspiring a Spanish rebellion on the plains against the tyrant Napoleon. From the pen of C.S. Forester, best known for his Horatio Hornblower books, "The Gun" demonstrates that Forester is as good on land as he is upon the seas. For those who insist it's not a Forester book without a ship, well -- there is a naval scene. ...more
L. Westerman
May 07, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Good but weak ending

Recommended to soldiers and politicians who are in a position to send fight people to their deaths. Also of interest are the seeds of irregular war, and its direct translation to other Spanish speaking areas of the new world. Should be read with Rifleman Dodd.
Richard Swan
Oct 12, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A set text when I was 11. It’s a very skilful novel about the Peninsular War, unusual in that the main protagonist is the gun itself (no human character survives from one end of the book to the other). The narrative is closely focused, finely-grained, and unsentimental. It is also probably responsible for much of my cultural attitude to the French, the Spanish, and Catholic priests.
Michael Brown
Mar 03, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Another book that I read after seeing the movie as a youngster. The book was better but the movie was enjoyable.
Gregoire Jones
Nov 19, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A rip roaring yarn set in the peninsula war
Roger Hernandez
Jul 11, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A great book related to the Napoleonic wars in the Iberian peninsula. I finished it the same day I picked it up.
Sue Freewoman
Jan 03, 2021 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
A boy's book. Gory, revolting and pointless. ...more
Mar 12, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It is indeed a historical novel. With so much advancements in military around, cant imagine the difference a single 18 pounder can contribute to altering the history.

I wish Carlos had more sense. If Jorge can exhibit maturity, i thought Forester could have been kinder to Carlos :) But yes, the message was clear.
Mar 10, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Brazilliant Laura!
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Toms Murnieks
Jan 11, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: People who like historical stories
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jan 14, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: those with an interest in the period
Recommended to rabbitprincess by: LT
* * 1/2

I wavered between 2.5 and 3 stars for this one, but in the end I settled on the description I attribute to my 2.5-star reviews: "Almost liked it, but not quite." At any rate it is probably my least favourite Forester. The story focuses on a big bronze eighteen-pounder cannon that Spanish guerrillas steal from French forces during the Peninsular War and use to great effect on various campaigns. The battle scenes are very well done -- very typically Forester in that regard -- but overall I
Jim Puskas
Those who have enjoyed some of Forester's more popular works, notably the Hornblower series will probably be a bit disappointed in this book, set in Spain during the Napoleonic occupation and having almost no naval content. The main characters are sketchily drawn and apart from Jorge, the young guerilla who very quickly "learns on the job" how handle artillery effectively and how to mount a systematic siege, the individuals are not the least bit appealing as people. The story line had potential ...more
Mar 12, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Laura by: Bettie
Mike Walker adapts C S Forester's gripping guerrilla warfare story set in Napoleonic Spain. Made famous by Hollywood as The Pride and the Passion.

Partisan groups under charismatic leaders wage a desperate war in which no quarter is given by either side. The hero of The Gun is the gun itself, a massive 18 pounder that is dragged across the mountains and plains of Spain - an epic task. Throughout the story, the gun changes the lives of those who fight each other to the death in order to gain contr
John Eliot
Mar 30, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A novel for lovers of the Hornblower series. One chapter within this novel certainly reflects Hornblower, set for a chapter on a frigate. Perhaps because of the Hornblower series I feel that CS Forester is underestimated. This novel, The Gun, is a very cleverly written piece where the inaminate object becomes the cenral character. I recently read Buchan's 39 Steps, great novel which was a set book in school when I was 12. I do feel that The Gun would have been a far better quality novel to read. ...more
Tom Davies
Jan 14, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A short, gritty Peninsular War novel, similar in subject matter to Death to the French. A good read if you ever find yourself thinking that war could be glamourous -- in fact almost any C. S. Forester is an antidote.
Fernando G.
Jan 10, 2014 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
The idea of making a gun as the main character was quite good and in my opinion innovative. However, I found the characters (human ones) quite plain and flat. I did not like the book actually too much. I found it quite boring.
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Cecil Scott Forester was the pen name of Cecil Louis Troughton Smith, an English novelist who rose to fame with tales of adventure and military crusades. His most notable works were the 11-book Horatio Hornblower series, about naval warfare during the Napoleonic era, and The African Queen (1935; filmed in 1951 by John Huston). His novels A Ship of the Line and Flying Colours were jointly awarded t ...more

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