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Customer Review

129 of 138 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One soldier's struggle, December 31, 2004
This review is from: Johnny Got His Gun (Mass Market Paperback)
"Johnny Got His Gun," by Dalton Trumbo, is a powerful novel. The Bantam paperback includes a fascinating introduction by Trumbo, written in 1959 with a 1970 addendum. The intro notes that the novel itself was written in 1938 and published just after the start of World War II. An "About the Author" page at the book's beginning notes that the Colorado-born Trumbo was one of the screenwriters blacklisted during the McCarthy era.

"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.
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Showing 1-3 of 3 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Mar 15, 2012 5:59:30 AM PDT
mike hammer says:
[Customers don't think this post adds to the discussion. Show post anyway. Show all unhelpful posts.]

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 5, 2012 8:59:39 AM PDT
Mark Twain says:
Why do you think Trumbo doesn't know much about his subject?

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 3, 2013 3:04:09 PM PST
Trumbo was a war correspondent. He knew war, and the story is based on a true one. People who joined the Communist Party back then did not know about Stalin's crimes against humanity. One joined that party back then for basic humanitarian reasons, and it's not fair to look back with the benefit of 20/20 hindsight.
Russia was a US ally after the pact you mentioned was broken by Germany. The Allies could not have won without the USSR, but you fail to mention that. Trumbo was many things, but never an idiot, useful or otherwise.

The conflating of Communism and Unions was a union busting tactic by the major studios and a reaction against the Disney workers who went on strike and won. It snowballed from there.
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