1 thought on “Death to the French

  1. Rifleman Dodd was a short little book that was solidly OK. Written by the author of the excellent Hornblower series, I had high expectations. After reading the entire Sharpe series I wanted to get Forester's take on the Peninsular campaign. How would Cornwell's later volumes compare to Forester? (My understanding is that Cornwell wanted to write the land version of the Hornblower series.)The comparison did not fare well for Forester. Rifleman Dodd is told from a curiously dispassionate perspect [...]

  2. This book (paper back) was my best friend at night during USMC boot camp in 1998. The story provides a great example of how one person can make a difference. It underscores the importance of never quitting on oneself through the story of an infantryman separated from his unit in a combat zone. This would be a book that I would someday give to my children to read.

  3. Napoleonic warfare in Iberia. The people at Kirkus Reviews combined their review of this story and another multiple read favorite by Forester, "The Gun"Copied from KIRKUS REVIEWThese two books -- neither of them known to any considerable American public-have a timeliness today that may give the impetus they need. For both deal with the sort of guerilla warfare Hemingway writes of in For Whom the Bell Tolls, Caldwell in All Through the Night. The Gun was published in July 1933, as an isolated bit [...]

  4. A classic novel of self-reliance and military duty, also known by its British title "Death to the French!" It is the tale of Rifleman Dodd, a soldier of the 95th Regiment, who is separated from his unit and trapped behind enemy lines in Portugal during the bloody Penisular Wars. It's an excellent glimpse into the hardships of military life during the Napoleonic Wars, and to his credit, Forester also provides chapters describing the same experience from the perspective of the French units. He's n [...]

  5. "Death to the French", aka "Rifleman Dodd", is the story of a seasoned English military man, cut off from his unit, during the Peninsular War, circa 1810. Dodd skillfully evades the opposing French forces, and works with local Portuguese villagers to thwart French operations. Ultimately, Dodd wants to rejoin his unit in the vicinity of Lisbon.Dodd is the prototypical military man; mission, duty, and self-sacrifice are his values. He inspires and guides locals to harrass and obstruct the French. [...]

  6. The book was short, but intense. Forester had become interested in the Peninsular War while in school, but he was interested in Spain itself as he covered the Spanish Civil War of the late 1930's. Matthew Dodd is the main character and the narrative is primarily seen from his eyes, though Forester, from time to time, interrupts to give a later perspective on the events that Dodd endures. And endure he does. I think that these events are taken from various accounts, diaries,and presumably Napier' [...]

  7. Read under title Rifleman Dodd. This exact edition is not listed. Good story and I can see why it's on U.S. Marine Corps reading list for the survival tactics and Dodd'sgung-ho attitude.Written a few years before Forester's Hornblower novels, this one tells of a farm boy turned rifleman in the English 95th Regiment. A doughty sharpshooter, Dodd is trapped behind enemy lines and the story details his attempts to reach the English lines, with help from Portuguese irregulars and still fighting the [...]

  8. Interestinge title of my copy is 'Death to the French'. Maybe not politically correct in 1990. My edition is based on the original published in 1933, my edition being 1956. (Perhaps De Gaulle saw it in a bookshop and that was why he vetoed our entry in the Common Market!)This belongs to a certain genre for a particular reader. Certainly those who love the work of Forester, who was one of the great authors of adventure literature in the 20th century.Substitute Hornblower for Dodd who is trapped b [...]

  9. I read this while I was at 29 Palms in 2010 (I wrote a review that may still be on Facebook somewhere, perhaps I'll copy it over). I think it was humorously bad, and it's perhaps more modern than one might expect based on its tone. I think the xenophobia was particularly off-putting (or hilarious, depending on mood), which is nowhere better seen than the last scene of the book. The fact that I still remember that scene 7 years later is telling. Also, I like to say: any book that uses the word 'h [...]

  10. Quick and exciting read. It brings you into the everyday life of soldiers fighting the Peninsular Campaign. Forester was a great storyteller.

  11. The story is set during the Peninsular War in Portugal. The British Army under the Duke of Wellington is retreating behind the Lines of Torres Vedras during the French 1810 offensive. A rifleman (Matthew Dodd) of the 95th Regiment of Foot is caught behind the retreat and is cut off in the wilderness. With the help of some Portuguese guerrillas, Dodd wages a small campaign against the Napoleonic French forces as they try to manoeuvre through the mountain passes to lay siege to the Lines of Torres [...]

  12. "Rifleman Dodd" is the story of an English rifleman cut off from his regiment by the entirety of the French army. The novella chronicles his harassing attacks and ultimately return to his brothers-in-arms. The book accounts both the English and French side of the story, providing the reader with a unique insight into the battlefield dynamics. Dodd's story is ultimately one that hails individual action, duty, and soldierly fidelity. It is simple, but motivating. It is a book I would recommend to [...]

  13. Like all of the other Forester novels I have read, this one is excellent! I particularly like the way that Forester tells both sides of the story. Rather than telling everything from the perspectice of the title character, Forester writes one chapter from Dodd's perspective, then another from the perspective of the French troops facing him - usually soldiers from the same squad throughout the book. This does not diminish the hero of the book in any way, but serves to "humanize" Dodd's enemies. E [...]

  14. Rifleman Dodd becomes separated from his company while fighting the French in Spain. (The book's original title was "Death to the French.") He falls in with a small band of guerrillas and fights his way back to the 95th Rifles. The account makes a nice short novel (and is bound with another from the same period, "The Gun"). Dodd could easily be one of Richard Sharpe's riflemen (see the great series by Bernard Cornwell), so the book appeals to my interest in the 95th. Forester wrote another book [...]

  15. Interesting take on the war novel, what happens when you become separated form your unit? How do you eat, where do you sleep, do you continue to fight, how do you get home? I can see why The Corps has this as 'sugessted' reading, great insight into guerilla tactics and how to be an infantryman, how to read the land and live off it. I recommend for anyone who is serious about joining the military, especailly the Army or USMC.

  16. Not much in the way of plot or character here (although the framework is certainly there, and it's a shame it couldn't have been fleshed out more), but it's a great little glimpse into Wellington's time in Spain and Portugal. I appreciated the author's completely unsentimental approach and matter-of-fact treatment of war. A little dialogue wouldn't have gone amiss, but the book is so short that it's easy to forgive its faults.

  17. Rambo of the 19th century. Slow to start, and repetitive towards the end, the book's most enjoyable aspect is getting to know Dodd and how hardcore he is. After the first few ridiculous stunts that he pulls, the book pushes the repeat button, and the last 70 pages are entertaining, but stale. Overall though, it's an inspiring and motivating read. If only we had more Dodds in the military

  18. This is another I picked up because of a military read list. Its a good tale of being separated from your unit and continuing on despite a bad situation. Makes a great companion to A Red Badge Of Courage.

  19. Excellent piece of historical fiction. Provides insight into the Peninsular Campaign of the Napoleonic War (1808-1814) without injecting the character into any particular major event of that period. A good, quick read for anyone interested in Napoleonic or British military history.

  20. I read this book when I was in boot camp because it was on the required reading list. So since I had nothing else to entertain me, I enjoyed this book quite a bit. I think I would have enjoyed it even if I was in boot camp though.

  21. A great story of duty and persistence. Like most who have read this book, I read it back in boot camp at Parris Island.

  22. Great story! As good a read as Forester's Hornblower novels--even better after reading Bernard Corwell's Sharpe series . . .

  23. A short work telling the story of a lone British soldier trapped behind French lines in occupied Portugal.

  24. Any fan of the Sharpe series or C.S. Forrester should read this. You'll enjoy it. If you are a Sharpe fan, this is the basis for the Matthew Dodd in Sharpe's Escape.

  25. Gritty account of guerilla warfare during the Peninsula War. Guaranteed to dispel any desire to be a soldier.

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