Linda Lee — My personal bridge blog

The Dog Didn’t Eat My Book Review

I decided to finish (for now) discussion of the Rodwell Files with this final blog.  I am still reading the book but I am almost finished.  However, finishing the book is probably a misnomer since I will be reading it again quite soon.

Having gone far into the book I wanted to provide an overall picture of what I think of the book, its strengths and yes, its weaknesses too.  I want to talk about my favorite parts, some suggestions to the publisher and some advice to other readers.  I know that everyone will understand that I am not an impartial reviewer but I still want to share my thinking.

Overall I think the book is amazing, no quibbles at all.  It takes card playing to a new and higher level.  It soars.  It is not a book designed as a textbook though.  It is a book of ideas and techniques.  This approach has its good points and bad points.  The good, the very good is that in every one of its almost 400 pages there are new ideas and new things to think about, especially after the first part of the first section.  You could pick this book up, open it at random and you will find something new and interesting and likely a beautiful hand to illustrate the point.  There is so much that is interesting about this book, it is almost overwhelming.

What I miss is the exercises.  In the end I wanted to practice the techniques.  I wanted to try things for myself.  I didn’t want to wait for the Rodwellian intrafinesse to appear at the table.

Suggestion to publisher: how about a companion book with lots of examples to practice and analysis by Eric.  It’s important that Eric do the analysis because he throws in lots of things I wouldn’t think about and goes beyond illustrating the point being demonstrated.   Free downloads of practice deals would be great too.

The best part of the book for me is the parts that teach general concepts and general techniques.  They are ideas that make me think and they often are the opposite of conventional thinking.  Let’s take the example of forcing the short trump hand.  Most of the time when you are defending using a forcing game you force the long hand to ruff.  But Eric looks at the times where you should force the short hand to ruff.  And as he walks through them and I start to think about it they are not all that unlikely.

Of course then I think the best part for me is the new concepts and terminology to go with it.  Now I can think about gouging and pushers and trick packages and restocking.  It is a new way of thinking.

Suggestion to publisher: Could you make the glossary at the end of the book a free download.

Of course there is the third best part of the book sections like the “Do’s of Cardplay” that provide checklists to think about.  Of course if I did all of the items on the checklist every time I play dummy (or defended) I would set the record for late penalties and late plays trying to do things like “reconstruct BOTH unseen hands”, checking out minor options, checking your work for errors… twice.  But I know there are deals where I will walk through many of the elements of the checklist and probably a bunch of other hands where I will wish I had.

I do have a few quibbles.  I find most of the first section of the book moves too fast for intermediate (advanced?) players and isn’t all that much use to me (almost a “real” expert).  The pages might have been better spent to provide some more examples and perhaps even a bit more structure later on.  Not every example really illustrates the point being described perfectly.  And the aforementioned one about the lack of practice exercises.  But never the less this is one of the truly great books on card play.  It is a historic book.  It will sit on my bedside table and on my ipad for a long long time.

In the past I have done a fair number of book reviews and of course I am an avid bridge book reader.  I can only think of one or two that come close to this one in new ideas about cardplay (Adventures in Card Play), in the sheer number of new ideas, none. (I can’t think of a one to compare this with) and in just enjoyment of the analysis of the hands (My Favorite 52 and many Reese Books).

Because of the sheer size and depth of this book I many readers may chose to buy and read the book in parts.  The ebook is sold in parts on Amazon, Apple, Kobo etc. and on the websites.

Happy reading.  And thanks Eric.  I am so glad you shared your ideas with the bridge world.

I would be interested in hearing comments from other readers.  If you like you can leave a comment here or email me at  I do have some influence with the publisher and I can probably get him to provide a few downloads and such.

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