First Blood

ISBN: 0449202267
ISBN 13: 9780449202265
By: David Morrell

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About this book

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 struggle through the woods, hills, and caves of rural Kentucky.This time when Johnny comes marching home be afraid. Be very afraid.

Reader's Thoughts

Natalie Bright

David Morrell spoke at a writer's con where he autographed copies for my teenage boys. They were thrilled, but said no when I asked to borrow a copy to read. I had to settle for the eBook version and honestly, was shocked at the power of this story and how it grabbed me from page one. Wow, what a page turner, nonstop action and yes, it's bloody violent. Although the movie varies from the book, I've promised my sons that I'd find the BlueRay. Pizza night and Rambo for the zillionth time is on! Mr. Morrell mentioned that the newest DVD version features an interview with him talking about his inspiration and writing process. This really is a great read. Mr. Morrell is an amazing writer, speaker, and teacher.

Darren Vincent

** spoiler alert ** I was expecting to like the book more than I did. Don't get me wrong, it is a good book, but because I read it so many years after it was written, I think some of the impact is gone. I actually prefer the movie more than the book, which doesn't happen often. And because I have seen the movie , I can't help but compare the two. Stallone's version seems much more the professional soldier than 'The Kid' in the book is made out to be. Injured or not, he doesn't live up to Trautman's billing as the best student he has ever had. There are too many mental lapses and mistakes for me to believe that he is the best at what he does. Having Teasle bring him down (yes, Trautman finished him off) also tarnishes his 'expert' status as well. I would have preferred Trautman taking him out completely while being occupied by Teasle or something along those lines. I just don't buy that Teasle, former soldier or not, was able to get inside Rambo's mind so easily.Very entertaining however and I breezed through it quickly, always a sure sign that I liked the book.


I'd been wanting to read the novel that inspired the Man my entire life, and only recently was I able to sit down and do it. "First Blood" certainly did not disappoint, either. The film and novel do differ wildly here, and as much as I enjoyed the movie, the book is definitely the more powerful piece.By now everyone knows the general storyline, so let me concentrate on some of the aspects of the novel which I enjoyed the most. One is the careful attention Morrell pays to each of his characters Teasle and Rambo. Unlike the film, here Teasle is humanized to a greater degree, made more likeable and character explored more fully. Morrell is careful to give us no easy hero, as both men suffer from inexhaustible will and stubbornness. Both think they are right, and will stop at nothing to prove the other undone. Teasle's own military service in Korea is explained more in-deptch here, as well as Rambo's days as a POW in Vietnam, and how he came to escape.The other remarkable aspect of this book which was totally and unfortunately omitted from the movie is the spiritual and almost psychic connection that forms between Rambo and Teasle. By the end of the book, they can almost read each other's thoughts, and boast their ability to do so. Teasle even has a dream in which he is seeing the world through Rambo's eyes, and predicts where he is hiding because of the dream. By the end of the tale, both men come to respect and even admire one another, something sorely lacking in the movie.This novel also has that old-fashioned patina that so many books of the 70s and 80s do, a feeling sorely lacking in these post-postmodern too-cool-for-school books coming out nowadays. "First Blood" is a solid read and an entertaining and thought-provoking character study.


Muy difícil de leerlo sin que la película asalte nuestra mente e ilustre cada escena... pero no se dejen engañar, esta es una historia más cruda, menos romántica, y finalmente, mucho menos heroica.A mi entender este libro no desnuda la marginación ni el rechazo sufridos por los veteranos de Vietnam en la sociedad norteamericana, sino más bien relata los daños psicológicos que esta guerra produjo en quienes la vivieron en carne propia. Rambo es la prueba viviente de ello. Y el capitán (no Coronel) Trautman.El libro nos muestra un Will Teasle mucho más humano, cuya percepción de Rambo va cambiando a medida que la historia avanza, y un John Rambo con una esquizofrenia que va avanzando a medida que la historia transcurre (en Madison, Kenttucky, no en Hope, Washington), mostrando sus dos facetas: la de ciudadano norteamericano en busca de un poco de paz, y la de una perfecta máquina hecha para matar sin seguro que la controle.Un libro para leerlo de un tirón y en una tarde, pero sin engañarse... hay muchísimo más detrás de lo que a priori el libro podría dejar suponer.Recuerden, they drew first blood!


In my opinion, First Blood was a great book. Though, not for the faint of heart. David Morrell doesn't go easy on the blood and description, which I think is one of the book's great aspects. He writes it in a way that his very unique, and gives you a great perspective. One of the things I love about this book is that Morrell paints Rambo in a light that let's you choose to like him, or hate him (Personally, I like him and think he's awesome, despite his "tiny" flaws). I recommend this book to anyone who enjoys lots of action, great thriller moments, and some awesome characters.

Paul Tracey

First Blood, an outstanding film and probably the first video rental I watched (at 11 years old). I never gave much thought into reading the book. Watching the movie made a huge impression on me, as it did with many teenage boys at the time, and I confess I have flashbacks to the movie as I read it. As I turned the pages the nostalgia for my teenage years and my association to Rambo returned, I saw Stallone’s chiseled physique awash with mud and blood, a highly trained killing machine alone, a survival expert living on the edge of society. Separating this book from the Rambo phenomena is impossible for me, but it is a wonderful journey in finding out where that huge 80s Icon of western pop culture came from. How could I not love it


When morose and haunted Vietnam veteran John Rambo walks into Madison, Kentucky, all he wants is something to eat before he moves on. That’s is until Sheriff Will Teasle takes one look and an instant dislike to him. Teasle is the one looking for trouble, not Rambo, and is himself a veteran of the Korean war. Teasle is also further embittered because his marriage is ending. He writes Rambo off as “just another drifter”, underestimating him from the start as he sets about kicking him out of town. He pushes Rambo too far, but Rambo can push back even harder, turning the ensuing jailbreak and manhunt into his own personal war. First published in 1972, the movie adaptation came a decade later and was deservedly one of the hits of the year that hasn’t dated since its release – the mark of a truly great movie. It remains one of Sylvester Stallone’s best roles. Although both versions follow much the same sequence of events, there are distinct differences between novel and movie, notably the endings and Rambo in the book is a difficult man to sympathise with. Indeed, Rambo and Teasle seem to be as stubborn as each other. The cave sequence is well described, particularly Rambo’s wade through the section with the bats.One of the best manhunt stories ever written about a clash of wills between two cynical men who won’t back down whatever the cost. As fast action, pursuit thrillers go, they don’t come much better than this.

Colten Sammons

The main character in this book is Rambo. The book takes place in Madison, Kentucky. Rambo is in this town and upon entering it he gets stopped by the chief of police, Wilfred Teasle. Right from the start they don't get along causing Rambo to get arrested further in the book that same day. Rambo had been an escaped prisoner from the Korean war and was a Green Beret. Green Beret were highly trained and after Rambo's experience he wasn't exactly to stable with certain situations but still had all the knowledge he learned in Green Beret training. He was pretty much a highly trained ticking time bomb. When he was in the jail it happened to light a spark and set the bomb off early. He ended up killing one cop and injuring another and made a run for it. He runs to the woods and hides from the police chasing him for multiple days. It's an action-packed chase combined with the fight for survival for both Rambo and Teasle.A few things I like about this book is the fact that the action is realistic to a point yet they still have the calm parts without the book getting boring; it has an interesting story and plot to it; and it's a great example of what not to do to cops. Something I don't like about the book is the fact the Teasle was being a total jerk to Rambo just for the fact the Rambo looked like a bum that Teasle didn't want in "his" town before anything bad had even happened yet.I would suggest this book to young adults and mature readers alike that are into action-packed story-lines and war plots as well.


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 pushed Rambo too far; he wanted Rambo to get a haircut and a shave, thus making my buddy have flashbacks to his days as a POW. Rambo escaped from his tiny cell, killing and maiming a considerable amount of boys that I dare say were merely placed in the setting and situation for a higher body count for the story. ........STOP READING IF YOU HAVE ONLY WATCHED THE MOVIE........................REAL ENDING GIVEN AWAY....................... So Rambo goes off into the woods, like he's some type of Hansel and fends off National Guardsman and police officers and civilians that are probably so loaded that they don't even really know what end of the rifle is supposed to be pointed away from them. The body count really starts to soar at this point. Oh, I should tell you that my name is Captain Sam Trautman, and I've been hired to hunt Rambo. For the most part, I'm happy watching these yokels get off-ed by one of the best. But there is only so much carnage that I'll allow, so when the sheriff and Rambo exchange some thoughts in the form of lead, hitting each other in the process, I felt I owed it to my employers to kill Rambo myself. Granted, I used a shotgun and shot him in the head, but that's what you're supposed to do when a wild dog is on the loose. I tried to tell the sheriff, but it seems he has an important appointment in Valhalla that he can't be late for. I guess in one way or another, this story is supposed to be about the denigration of our boys that came home from Vietnam. Perhaps we should have given them a parade or even said "we're proud of you, thank you." I guess Rambo never heard that. Well, pal, sorry for what I had to do; it was never personal. And, one more thing, thanks for all you did for us over there. VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED

Jason Reeser

I've always had this notion that this book would be more insightful and contain less action than the movie. I was half right. In fact, this has far more action than the movie. It is far more violent. And it also gives us a much better image of Teasle, the sheriff, and a less admirable image of Rambo. I recently heard David Morrell say that at one point, Paul Newman was slated to play the sheriff. At the point, I'm sure the script was closer to the book. I can't get that idea out of my head. I would have loved to see this book filmed as it was written, with Newman in the that role.

Michael Erickson

This book is great. It is one of the very few works of fiction that I have read more than once. I have friends I recommend this book to, that haven't read it to this day, and they still enjoy it. I always say, "Rambo wasn't so nice in the novel." It doesn't matter if he is nice in the novel. In the novel you can have two opposing forces that offer a great compelling pulse pounding narrative. David Morrell is one of my favorite authors and this book is what started my interest in his writing. A good read and if you love thrillers this is like the mother of all of them.


Ha - picked this up as a lark in a half-price bookstore in Seattle, but not only was this a surprisingly good book, the original Rambo (or "the kid" as he's called through most of the story) makes Stallone's character in the film actually look like a total puss! None of the fancy booby traps to hurt-but-not-kill; no, this Rambo is a psychologically shattered killer who turns the tables and intentionally hunts his pursuers. And yes, he is ultimately a sympathetic character - but sympathetic like a pitbull who was trained to kill children: it's not the really dog's fault, but someone better still put him down before he does any more damage. Biggest surprise of all was the slow realization that it's Sheriff Teasle here who is the real hero of the story, although Morrell does an excellent job of alternating chapters between Rambo's and Teasle's points-of-view so that you come away with a close - if sometimes too close - understanding of both characters. I went into this book knowing nothing about it other than remembering that someone had said it was "good," but have since read that it did in fact receive very strong reviews when it came out (over 40 years ago) and has since been taught in a number of college lit classes. Surprisingly, it was also Morrell's first book - and he was also later talked into writing the novelizations of both the second and third Rambo movies, since contractually no one else was allowed to write about the Rambo character, (and both these books also differ dramatically from their film versions).So, a strong recommendation for all action/thriller fans - although I wish I'd had a different edition with a different cover, as it was pretty embarrassing reading this in the Embassy cafeteria!


Most of us have probably seen the 1982 film First Blood and/or some of its sequels. Even if you haven't, you would very likely know Rambo as the 80s Hollywood stereotype of the American hero, all jingo and no Django. This "Rambo," solidified by the films "Rambo: First Blood Part II" and "Rambo III" is the one that most people are acquainted with and readily disparage. These are the people that should read David Morrell's First Blood, and then watch the 1982 film.Rambo, a Green Beret and Vietnam vet, finds himself at odds with small-town sheriff Wilfred Teasle over, well, nothing. Teasle just doesn't like the way Rambo looks: a stranger, long hair, beard, and drab attire don't belong in his quiet small town. So Teasle tries his best to make Rambo leave, even going so far as to drive him out of town twice. But Rambo keeps walking back into town until Teasle puts him in jail. With the right mix of all the wrong elements, a simple case of personal bias and natural stubbornness erupts into a violent confrontation between a society that doesn't know how or care enough to assimilate its war-damaged soldiers and a man compelled by such circumstances to show society just what it means to start a war.What I'm going to say now, though, will probably be construed as outright heresy: the film is better than the book.Of all the entries in the Rambo film series, Morrell mentioned that the 2008 sequel – the most graphically violent and moody of all the films – comes closest to the tone he strove for in this novel. In other words, Morrell is saying that the 1982 film is quite different from his book; I fully agree. He spends a lot of pages drawing out the characters of Teasle and Rambo, juxtaposing the internal retrospection of both men and highlighting their similarities in an effort to underline the irony of the two them bound by their intense death wishes for each other (and perhaps themselves as well). Morrell unfortunately also manages to wastes the character of Colonel Trautman by painting him as a two-dimensional figure whose main purpose there is to kill Rambo.The film, on the other hand, distills all this into something else: Rambo is a gifted soldier who can survive the greatest odds in the unforgiving war conditions, but in peacetime he is a helpless victim of discrimination and marginalization by his fellow Americans. Despite cutting out most of retrospection, the film also succeeds in drawing much a closer relationship between Trautman and Rambo. Indeed Trautman becomes something of a surrogate father for Rambo, immensely proud of Rambo's capabilities and equally sad that civilian society cannot accept someone who literally fought for his country.While deeper characterization is generally expected of any good book, here Morrell sacrifices fluid excitement in a bid for richer characters. For a thriller, First Blood is fairly long (at 320 pages) and frequently meanders. Ultimately, I came away from the book without feeling anything for any of the characters, including Rambo and Teasle; in the end, a lot of people died for nothing, and nobody in the book seems to realize that. The film, on the other hand, manages to make the story gripping; make highly memorable characters of Rambo, Teasle and Trautman; and end in a way that may seem weak at first but on hindsight gives the story a resolution and purpose.Only recommended for those who want to compare the book and the film.

Brett Starr

They drew first blood, not me...."First Blood" is one of my favorite movies, has been since I was a kid! Sylvester Stallone played a great John Rambo and I don't think any actor could have done it better, but thats the movie version... "First Blood" by David Morrell is a great book and after reading it for the first time, I can tell you the movie is very, very loosely based off the novel. Morrell's main character (Rambo) and the movie Rambo are really nothing alike. In the book, he is referred to as Rambo or the kid, there is no mention ever of his first name being John. The book takes place in Kentucky, not the Pacific Northwest and in the book Rambo does'nt carry 14' survival knife. In the movie version Rambo only kills one person that you know for sure (accidentally, when he throws the rock at the helicopter and the deputy falls out), in the book, his death toll is in double digits by the end. Alot of the great, famous lines from the movie "they drew first blood, not me", are not in the book. Colonel Trautman nevers talks to Rambo once in the book, whereas in the movies they are friends. The book really explains both characters points of view well, breaking down Sheriff Teasle and Rambo to the point where you really dont know who to root for towards the end of the book. Both men are war heros, both refuse to give up or back down. A really good chase novel from start to finish, keeps you on the edge of your seat! A must read for all "Rambo" fans and anyone who likes a great action novel, I really enjoyed this book~ ** WARNING ** At the beginning of the paperback version of "First Blood", there is a section called (Rambo & Me) written by the author in 2000. The author explains how he came up with the idea for "First Blood" and talks about the book, compared to the movie. About three pages in, Morrell tells you the ENDING OF THE BOOK?????, the ending is different than the movie and should be a surprise. I read the (Rambo & Me) section and was completely disappointed to read the ending before I read the first page and I'm still baffled and why the author chose to do this. Beware!

Kym Andrew Robinson

The book that inspired the movie series 'Rambo'. Certainly a lot different to the film, the book is darker in tone and provides a feeling of tension and anxiety seldom found for me in fiction.I read this book around the same time as I started to get heavily into the Mack Bolan series of novels. I found that the one man army, on the run, ex Vet fighting superior forces was interesting even if for a while it was over done.This is not a complex book, it is however a solid character narrative with enough action and adventure to keep you both interested as well as sympathetic.I would like to re read this book again some time soon.78 %

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