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Born on the Fourth of July

by Ron Kovic

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515933,957 (3.53)12
This New York Times bestseller details the author's life story-from a patriotic soldier in Vietnam, to his severe battlefield injury, to his role as the country's most outspoken anti-Vietnam War advocate. Kovic served two tours of duty during the Vietnam War. He was paralyzed from his chest down in combat in 1968 and has been in a wheelchair ever since. Includes a new introduction by the author.… (more)
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» See also 12 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 9 (next | show all)
I picked up this book to see the transformation of a patriotic GI into a Vietnam Veteran Against the War. I wanted to learn how the movement enticed him, when he had his epiphany, and how he reacted to the rest of the anti-war movement. I wanted to read the author grappling with the decision to join the anti-war movement.

Unfortunately, the epiphany lasts only a couple of pages, and the conversion from skeptical injured veteran to strident anti-war activist is pretty sudden. Only one seven page chapter is devoted to his "conversion." Near as I can tell, only one sentence deals with him grappling with his dual life as a patriotic GI and as an anti-war veteran: "One part of me was upset that people were swimming naked in the national monument and the other part of me completely understood that now it was their pool, and what good is a pool if you can't swim in it." Hardly emotionally tugging or complicated prose.

Kovic's book is authentic, written by a real paralyzed veteran, and Kovic's anti-war barnstorming is interesting to me as an anti-war civilian. But everything good about this book can be gleaned from the book "Johnny Got His Gun." In fact, Born on the Fourth of July refers to "Johnny Got His Gun" directly: "It was as if the book was speaking about me, my wound and the hell it had been coming back and learning to live with it." Yes. It was. ( )
1 vote magonistarevolt | Apr 24, 2020 |
The true story of young Marine Kovic, who's combat injury in Vietnam left him paralyzed from the chest down. The writing can be stilted sometimes but that doesn't stop the reader from feeling the impact of Kovic's story. The first two chapters are very difficult, as they take place in the battle when he was shot and surrounded by other wounded men, then the treatment he received in the VA hospital immediately afterwards, which was just as horrifying as the battleground. I actually put the book down for about a week and wondered if I'd keep going, but then figured that he lived it and all I had to do was read about it.
Kovic's story was published over 40 years ago, and it's probably more introspective than most, as he deals with isolation, loneliness, grief over the loss of sexual functioning, and his desire to be seen as a symbol of the war. 4 stars ( )
1 vote mstrust | Jul 21, 2019 |
This is the few times where the movie was better than the book. The book is about Ron's story how he grew up, went to Vietnam, got paralyzed and what happened after he came home. The simplistic writing was not what I expected for a book turned into a movie.

For the rest of the review, visit my blog at: http://angelofmine1974.livejournal.com/123850.html ( )
  booklover3258 | Mar 18, 2017 |
I think I may have too many war/horror stories under my belt to find this one particularly novel. Volunteer marine goes back for a second tour during Vietnam and is paralyzed. Becomes disillusioned with the ongoing war following his poor treatment at the VA hospital and his generation losing their lives/limbs/minds over a cause the growing majority of the American public no longer supports. Begins speaking out/protesting while attempting to cope with the rest of his life imprisoned in a chair. Intrigued by his follow-up novel focused on improving the treatment of disabled veterans.

"No government will ever teach me to hate another human being." ( )
  dandelionroots | Nov 12, 2016 |
Wrenching, infuriating, saddening, enthralling, inspiring. ( )
  ndpmcIntosh | Mar 21, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 9 (next | show all)
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Ron Kovicprimary authorall editionscalculated
Daly, GerryCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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I am the living death the memorial day on wheels. I am your yankee doodle dandy, your John Wayne come home, your Fourth of July firecracker exploding in the grave.
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For my country and its people. Happy birthday.
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The blood is still rolling off my flak jacket from the hole in my shoulder and there are bullets cracking into the sand all around me.
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This New York Times bestseller details the author's life story-from a patriotic soldier in Vietnam, to his severe battlefield injury, to his role as the country's most outspoken anti-Vietnam War advocate. Kovic served two tours of duty during the Vietnam War. He was paralyzed from his chest down in combat in 1968 and has been in a wheelchair ever since. Includes a new introduction by the author.

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Akashic Books

An edition of this book was published by Akashic Books.

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