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Johnny Got His Gun Mass Market Paperback – March 1, 1984
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From Publishers Weekly
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.
"It is hard to imaging a more persuasive argument for staying out of war than this smooth, savage, brilliant tale."—Chicago Daily News
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Top Customer Reviews
"Johnny" tells the story of Joe Bonham, an American soldier who is horrifically wounded and disabled in World War I. The book is told from Joe's perspective as he struggles to understand and cope with his situation. His mind wanders back and forth between his past, including his war experiences, and his immediate condition. Thus we get a non-chronological but full picture of his complete life so far.
Dalton's prose style in this book made a strong impact on me. At times he seems to be assaulting the reader without mercy as he shows us the horror of war and its terrible human cost. But the book also includes passages of hope, triumph, and heartbreaking beauty. Joe is an unforgettable character, and this truly disturbing book remains a profoundly relevant work of American fiction.
The book is still as powerful as it ever was. I do not see how anyone can read this and not be profoundly affected. A line in the synopsis on Amazon.com indicates the book was written about World War I. Actually, no specific war is ever mentioned - only the initial publishing date would infer that. Rather than 1939, it could have been written in 1959, 1969, or even 1869 - war is war and only the technology changes.
The copy I have has an addendum dated 1970 by the author. Read it - it enforces the notion of the waste of war.
If I were a high school English teacher, my seniors would HAVE to read this to graduate. Same if I were a college professor. But even more than that, this should be required reading for ANY politician at the national level.
Rereading this book at the age of 46 has not changed my opinion - absolutely no other piece of literature has had such a profound effect on my life.
Buy it, read it - then pass it on.
Dalton's fictional character, Joe Bonham, is exactly what his name states, just a regular "Joe." Before the war he had a girlfriend and a family that loved him. He went to school, had summer jobs, and hung out with friends, then came the war. He and all the other "Joes" had to leave behind the ones they loved and go defend a country that could not defend them. Throughout the novel Joe experiences flashbacks into his past. He recalls a summer when he spent a day performing the most grueling labor of his life. At the end of the day he laid there and felt his body ache in anguish as he said, "There was nothing real but pain." He then awakes from his past only to realize his present condition, to which he refers to himself as a "basket case." Another memory that he described was that of the last night he spent with Kareen, his girlfriend. They both knew that they might never see one another again, so they spent his last remaining hours of his civilian life together. As he awakes from this perfect moment in time he remembers his disable figure, and prays that Kareen or his family would never see him in that state. Dalton uses Joe's thoughts and feelings to paint a picture of perfection and simplicity before the chaos of war.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This book gets much better as you go further along. Once you get into it you begin to understand the writing style of the author and how it pertains to the main character.Published 3 days ago by Claire
Johnny got his gun by Dalton Trumbo is a fascinating, riveting, extraordinarily good book. i usually do not review these types of books on amazon, but this one was written too well... Read morePublished 10 days ago by mike r
Ugh. Stunning. Heart-breaking. While in a particularly wrenching part of the book, I came to campus to find the Army recruiters set up, chatting amicably with students about... Read morePublished 14 days ago by Michael W. Berdan
Excellently written. Remains relevant today. Sad, honest account of the price of war. Should be a required reading for American LiteraturePublished 1 month ago by S
This book was written in 1938, twenty years after WWI when anti-was fever in this nation was still high, and is still one of the great anti-war books of all time. Read morePublished 2 months ago by John Potter
Best book I've read in awhile. I wouldn't recommend reading more than a chapter or two at a time in order to let what is going on to fully sink in. Read morePublished 3 months ago by Amazon Customer