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First Blood by David Morrell
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First Blood (1972)

by David Morrell

Series: Rambo (1)

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Pointless posturing. Mindless violence. Useless deaths. ( )
  quiBee | Jan 21, 2016 |
The process by which characters and stories become a cultural icon is complex. It’s hard to know what will tap into society or time’s zeitgeist. In the early 1980’s, fresh off the critical and financial successes with the Rocky franchise, Sylvester Stallone took up a project that had been kicked around Hollywood for years – [First Blood]. He helped to co-write the screenplay for the movie and starred as the story’s main character – John Rambo. That character, emerging at the cold war’s height, captured the world’s imagination. The film still recalls the image of Stallone, headbanded and sneering, with an M-60 in his bulging arms. The image, and the movie, stand for a lost America fighting through a political wilderness. But the adaptation, while still a great movie, loses some of the heart and individuality from Morrell’s original book.
Morrell’s [First Blood] is as much about another man, Teasle, a Korean war veteran who is now the chief in the sleepy Kentucky burg of Madison. Teasle, like John Rambo, is coping with his own problems – a departed wife and a difficult father figure. Rambo, when he hits the town limits of Teasle’s town is deep in post-traumatic stress, primarily from his time as a POW. The two, at odds from the outset, seek to control their inner demons by controlling the world around them, each escalating reactions until they reach a fatal critical mass. Along the way, the book, in equal parts, descends into the troubled inner worlds of the men. Each is heroic and each is cowardly, depending on whether they are facing the world or themselves, as they see themselves in the other while they battle. Killing the other man is to essentially overcome the weakness they see in themselves. Stallone, when he wrote the screenplay, changed the ending of the book, which fundamentally changed the point of Morrell’s book. In the movie, Rambo turns himself in to the authorities. In the book, Teasle and Rambo push each other to the brink.
Most people have either seen the movie, or are familiar with the movie since it has survived the decades in our zeitgeist. But [First Blood], the book, is a revelation. Where the movie hints at Rambo’s raging mental state, the book lays it out on the page for all to experience. And the book goes the extra step to better explain the reasons for Chief Teasle’s mad spiral. Such a successful film adaptation is two-edged sword – providing flesh and blood to a writer’s characters and delivering success and notoriety to a writer while necessarily violently murdering the story’s original heart and intent.
Pick up the book – resurrect the real Rambo and Teasle.

Bottom Line: Yes, it’s the inspiration for Stallone’s Rambo – but there are layers to this book and story that the movie could never touch.

5 bones!!!!! ( )
  blackdogbooks | Dec 23, 2015 |
It's action packed and it keeps you on your toes. 4/5 TF (9th grade) I chose this book because my dad said it was really good. AG ( )
  edspicer | Sep 26, 2013 |
This was a great read. The characters Rambo v Teasle was played out. Although it was a bit of a boys own adventure story it was well paced and moved along rapidly. The moral and ethical issues of the story, with both lead males being ex soldiers was really well done. Not sure I will bother with the movies, I'm sure they will be a let down ( )
  boabflower | Feb 7, 2012 |
Great dual character study contrasting Rambo and Teasle. Much darker than the movie. ( )
  Segapup | Nov 19, 2011 |
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to Phillip Klass and William Tenn: each in his own way.
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His name is 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.
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Nobody in the small Kentucky town knew his name was Rambo. All they knew was that he was a stranger...and that he looked like trouble. Rambo was trouble. The army had trained him in the art of killing, and now he did not know how to stop.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0446364401, Mass Market Paperback)

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.

Millions saw the Rambo movies, but those who haven't read the book that started it all are in for a surprise -- a critically acclaimed story of character, action, and compassion.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:04:29 -0400)

(see all 4 descriptions)

When a Vietnam veteran John Rambo arrives in Madison, Kentucky, the chief of police is determined to rid the town of him, and the two war veterans become involved in a deadly life or death struggle through the hills of rural Kentucky.

» see all 6 descriptions

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