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Born on the Fourth of July Paperback – January 1, 2005

89 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"A great courageous fellow, a man of deep moral convictions and an uncompromising disposition." -- Senator John Kerry

"Classic and timeless." -- New York Times

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.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 225 pages
  • Publisher: Akashic Books; First Akashic Printing edition (January 1, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1888451785
  • ISBN-13: 978-1888451788
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.6 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (89 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #27,225 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

53 of 53 people found the following review helpful By Konrei on April 25, 2006
Format: Paperback
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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58 of 61 people found the following review helpful By Chet Ragsdale VINE VOICE on 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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32 of 32 people found the following review helpful By Kim Gordon on 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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22 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Don J. Snyder on September 1, 2007
Format: Paperback
While Ronnie Kovic was fighting in Vietnam I was in college playing football and baseball on scholarship. All expenses paid. People told me that I was extraordinary while Ronnie was suffering in a squalid Veterans hospital. And while he was being spit on at the Republican National convention I was learning to believe that I deserved an exceptional life and that I was better than guys like him who had somehow believed the lies our government told about how the communists were going to take over the world unless young men stopped them the way our fathers and uncles had stopped the Nazis and the lunatic Japanese.
I was too cool to believe any of that, and guys like Ronnie were unenlightened. I felt sorry for them.
I have become an old man now and these days I am trying for all I am worth to be a good father to my son who is Ronnie's age. When he began telling me that he was thinking about joining the Marines, I began reading to him from Ron's book. Reading to him at night while he lay in his bed as I had when he was a small boy. I wanted him to know that if he went to war in Iraq and was wounded horribly there, his government and his country would not care about him. I wanted him to know that the same people who were in power in America and who sent Ron off to war, were in power once again. The same pathetic collection of clowns and liars eager to have wars so long as they and their children don't have to fight them. Cowards, really. I told my son that he would be fighting for a commander in cheif and a vice president and a secretary of state who are cowards. I told my son that the same conservative republicans who spit on Ron Kovic after he gave his body for America were in power once again and that he could expect them to spit upon him when he came home from war if he opposed them. Ron Kovic's magnificent book persuaded my son not to fight for his country in Iraq. I am forever in the author's debt.
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