Thursday, 7 May 2015

C S Forester: The Gun


This story is set during the Peninsular War and was published in 1933. It tells the story of a Spanish 18-pounder cannon that is abandoned during the Spanish retreat after the Battle of Espinosa. A number of local people hide it beneath a pile of rocks to prevent its capture by the French, and it remains hidden until a group of guerrilleros find it. Such is its power that the gun becomes the rallying point for Spanish resistance to the French, and whosoever possesses the gun naturally becomes leader of a growing army.

Eventually – after passing through the control of several leaders and being used to destroy several French fortifications and wipe out a regiment of the Young Guard – the gun comes under the control of Jorge, an 18 year-old guerrillero. He is an untrained but naturally gifted leader and tactician, and under his command the Spanish army attempts to besiege Salas and gain total control of Leon. Unfortunately the gun is destroyed by counter-battery fire, and the Spanish army disperses. However the diversion of a large number of French troops away from their fight against Wellington forces helps the Allies to win the war in Spain.

In 1957 a film that was loosely based on the story was made with the title THE PRIDE AND THE PASSION. It starred Frank Sinatra, Sophia Loren, and Cary Grant.

6 comments:

  1. Bob,

    Interesting that the covers of your editions of The Gun and Death to the French seem to have made a real effort to avoid depicting the subjects of the books!

    Though the back of a French infantryman might well be the view along the sights of Dodd's Baker rifle...

    Good book; risible film - though an enjoyable way of whiling away time.

    Best wishes,
    Arthur

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  2. I have a copy of this and 'Death to the French' with lovely lurid covers depicting what's in the book. I will have to find and scan them.

    For a grimmer Forester read, try 'The Nightmare', which is a collection of short stories set in Nazi Germany and focusing particularly on the Holocaust.

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  3. I remember, at school, having to write an essay on a book I'd read recently, from the point of view of a character in the book; and I chose to write the report from the commander of the fort the guerillas first attacked.
    I seem to remember I'd been dug out of a pile of rubble a couple of days after the attack, and tried to justify why I'd let a group of untrained peasants get the best of me. I can't remember the details, or even the mark I got, it's a long time ago.

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  4. Arthur1815,

    I have given up expecting book covers to have any relationship to the contents or subject of the book!

    All the best,

    Bob

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  5. Kaptain Kobold.

    I would be very interested to see the covers of your editions of these books.

    I read a collection of World War II stories by Forester many years ago, but could not remember the name. Thanks to you , I now do ... and will hopefully manage to get a Kindle version soon.

    All the best,

    Bob

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  6. Joppy,

    That sounds like it was a rather good idea for an essay, and I hope that the mark was a good one.

    All the best,

    Bob

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