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Born on the Fourth of July [Kindle Edition]

Ron Kovic
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (72 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Kovic’s powerful and moving New York Times bestselling book, now with a new introduction that sets this classic antiwar story in a contemporary context.

This New York Times bestseller (more than one million copies sold) details the author’s life story (portrayed by Tom Cruise in the Oliver Stone film version)—from a patriotic soldier in Vietnam, to his severe battlefield injury, to his role as the country’s most outspoken anti-Vietnam War advocate, spreading his message from his wheelchair.

Editorial Reviews


“A private and personal hell . . . absolutely essential reading.” —Minneapolis Tribune
“Ron Kovic’s terrible tragedy is America’s . . . and it has never been written ‘with more force and feeling!’” —Los Angeles Times
“Ron Kovic has returned from the dead and given us an honest, unrefined account of his struggle.” —Washington Post
“Tears you to pieces . . . everyone ought to read it!” —Kansas City Star
“This book will make you cry . . .” —Pittsburgh Press
“Extraordinarily effective . . . Kovic’s unabashed expression of feelings . . . becomes a form of bravery.” —Newsweek
“As relevant as ever, this book is an education. Ron is a true American, and his great heart and hard-won wisdom shine through these pages.” —Oliver Stone, filmmaker
“A great courageous fellow, a man of deep moral convictions and an uncompromising disposition.” —Senator John Kerry on Ron Kovic
Born on the Fourth of July brings back the era of the Vietnam War at a time when the Establishment is trying to make the nation forget what they call the ‘Vietnam syndrome.’ Ron Kovic’s memoir is written with poetic passion and grips your attention from the very first page to the last. It is a classic of anti-war literature and I hope it will be read by large numbers of young people, who will be both sobered and inspired by his story.” —Howard Zinn
“Ron Kovic is one of the premier voices of a generation. The large irony of his birthday provides the background for a journey which begins with the unquestioning service in Vietnam, his terrible wounding with all the anger and bitterness that follows, and ends with his passionate discovery of a large and all too human heart. I’ll say this flat out: If you want to understand the everlasting reverberations of our war in Vietnam and how it impacts our current events, you must read this book.” —Larry Heinemann, author of Paco’s Story, winner of the National Book Award
“There is no book more relevant in the 21st century to healing the wound of Vietnam, which continues to bring so much pain to our country, as reflected in the last presidential election. Ron Kovic is the kid who John Wayne sent to war — though the actor, like so many others in the macho pantheon of American culture, never saw combat. The incredible thing about Ron is that he never lost his sense of humor nor his deeply felt outrage, which has made him an incredibly effective witness, determined that other young peoples’ bodies not be wasted, as was his. It remains to Kovic to remind us that history matters, and that the cost of our high follies persists.” —ROBERT SCHEER, Los Angeles Times columnist, bestselling author

From the Publisher

Kovic's powerful and moving new introduction to his New York Times bestselling book sets this classic antiwar story in a contemporary context.

Product Details

  • File Size: 298 KB
  • Print Length: 225 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1888451785
  • Publisher: Akashic Books (June 19, 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B007UW58E4
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #93,297 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
46 of 46 people found the following review helpful
By Konrei
Massapequa, New York may well be the most unabashedly patriotic town in America. Like Ron Kovic (who I knew in passing) I grew up there, played in "Sally's Woods" got my hair cut at Sparky the Barber's, and participated in the endless red, white and blue parades that seemed to define our town. A safe, stable bedroom community on Long Island's South Shore, it spawned boys like Kovic who absorbed the tales of "the greatest generation" and took up their fathers' banners when they went to Vietnam.

BORN ON THE FOURTH OF JULY is Kovic's unpolished, sincere, aggressive and searingly sad remembrance of his Vietnam experience. Kovic was gravely wounded on the first day of the Tet Offensive. Returning home as a paraplegic, Kovic tells us of the hideous treatment he received at the hands of the Veterans Administration, a bureaucracy so rotten that it neglected and abused the very men and women it was supposed to aid.

The sheer contempt with which Kovic was treated turned this All-American young man into a cynic, turning him against the war, and forcing him to confront an uncomfortable paradox: millions were being spent on war machines while America's wounded soldiers had to live with filth and rats in their hospital rooms.

The experience drove Kovic to become a public speaker for Vietnam Veterans Against the War (VVAW). Interestingly, Kovic never mentions John Kerry, a founder of that organization, but he does recount how VVAW was infiltrated by Nixon operatives and almost derailed.

Kovic also tells us---in various flashbacks---about his psychological journey as a paraplegic, about his loneliness, his depression, his pain and misery, and his frustration at being unable to walk. He writes frankly and cathartically of coping with the loss of his sex life.
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53 of 55 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the Better True Vietnam Stories October 26, 2001
Format:Mass Market Paperback|Verified Purchase
I became familiar with Ron Kovic while still a Marine. Probably in 71 or 72 after I returned from Vietnam. Luckily I was not wounded. While stationed in Hawaii after returning, I had the occasion to join Vietnam Veterans Against the War. A friend tried in vane to persuade me to join, but I never could quite do it. I had been taught just like thousands of other young recruits that ours was a noble deed. I still believe that. However...after having read this book, I became much more enlightened to what a lot of men experienced after being wounded/and or wounded severely and emotionally. This book is not about a man against America, but in favor of waking some people up to the horrors of war and the terrible losses we all suffer because of war. A must read.
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28 of 28 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Best Book Review May 13, 2004
Format:Mass Market Paperback
"Born on the Fourth of July," by Ron Kovic is a riveting, true autobiographical story of the life of a young man who leaves his small town after high school to enter the harsh Vietnam War to honor his country. He tells his story of the horrors that he had to face and watch as a soldier confronted with many difficult situations. While serving his nation, he gets badly injured in action and is forced to stop fighting and go to the hospital. What he sees is what no man should ever have to experience. His injury is severe. He is paralyzed from the waist down and will never be able to walk again. The hospitals were in gruesome conditions. The government did not want to give the funds for better equipment. Kovic explains how the conditions of the hospital were worse than the war itself. Kovic goes through a life changing event. He struggles with his handicap as he also struggles with the horrific memories of the war. During the course of the book, Kovic seeks to find himself in a world that he is lost in. The book goes into deep detail of Kovic's post war experience. Ron Kovic becomes an active anti-war advocate and goes to many demonstrations. He travels to Washington D.C. and even sits in on a speech given by the president. He and many other anti-war veterans hold up signs and try to draw national attention to themselves. Kovic feels so strongly against this war that he even puts himself in a position where he was sent to jail for his beliefs. Kovic moves a lot of people with this powerful book of his life.
The unique aspect about Kovic's book, "Born on the Fourth of the July" is that Kovic wrote the entire book from personal experience. Kovic is not a writer but had a lot to say. He writes his beliefs and thoughts down to tell the world.
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33 of 38 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Poignant is an understatement November 7, 1999
By A Customer
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I had first seen Oliver Stone's adaptation when I was 11 years old. My pre-pubescent sensibility didn't allow me to comprehend what was on the screen, either did my post-adolescent sensibility. This past summer I had read Mailer's "Armies of the Night", and never stopped pondering the concluding line, "For we must end on the road to that mystery where courage, death, and the dream of love give promise of sleep." So then, what does it mean to be an American? Kovic brought this statement forth in such a compelling manner, that I couldn't help asking myself this question, while reading. I sit cozily, well-fed, and warm, reading this book as an undergraduate; Kovic's experience is unfathomable to a slothful log like myself. Perhaps, this is the point of Kovic's heart-felt articulation, to awaken us, the slumbering masses, who watch a media blurb on war and violence, then leave it behind us and change the channel, while eating our turkey breast with gravy. Things like Vietnam will always happen as long as people remain quiet and content! Thank you Ron Kovic for reminding me of this lesson.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Shameful Treatment of Vietnam's Veterans
A belated read about a survivor of the Vietnam War, Ron Kovic, and his struggle to cope with his disillusion with the aftermath. Read more
Published 23 days ago by Mike Callahan
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Daughter wanted this because of the History of the film. The man lived in Redondo Beach
Published 1 month ago by bd
5.0 out of 5 stars Born on the Fourth of July
I saw the movie "Born on the Fourth of July" and based on how powerful the movie was, I decided to buy the book. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Caroline R
2.0 out of 5 stars Well this good gentleman, Rn Kovic sacrificed most of his life ...
A strong anti-war book but it seems to me a bit too self serving. Well this good gentleman, Rn Kovic sacrificed most of his life for the nation.
Published 3 months ago by Doug Turnbull
3.0 out of 5 stars Grusome and startling but gives a real insight into the ...
Grusome and startling but gives a real insight into the countless ways those seveerly wounded and paralyzed soldiers suffered both at the time and back home after the war.
Published 3 months ago by PATTI WESTLUND
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting, quick read
Not very long book, so I got through it pretty quickly. I learned a lot about life through the eyes of someone profoundly disabled. Read more
Published 9 months ago by Ora Rabinovich
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliantly done
The acting is marvelous, and the depiction of what Kovic went through pulls no punches. Even then it probably had to be made more nice than actuality. Read more
Published 9 months ago by Deborah Merchant
5.0 out of 5 stars Born on the Fourth of July
I ordered this after seeing the movie and realizing it was based on a true story, I wanted to see the True story, Those boys were so wronged. Ron Kovic is a very strong man
Published 12 months ago by Carol A. Porter
1.0 out of 5 stars This book had the potential to be the most important memoir to come...
As I wrote in the headline this powerful little book had the potential to be the most important memoir to come out of the Vietnam War. Read more
Published 12 months ago by Sgt. Rock
5.0 out of 5 stars Loved it
I completely loved this book, well as much as you can love a book about war. The sensless tragedy of war amazes me. Read more
Published 12 months ago by Annette Sonnenberg
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