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A Deafening Silence,
This review is from: Johnny Got His Gun (Mass Market Paperback)
In "Johnny Got His Gun", Dalton Trumbo wrote the most powerful anti-war novel of the modern era. Even though the book was written just after World War I and could never have imagined the horrors of modern warfare, the nightmarish scenario seems too vivid and feasible.
Joe Bonham regains consciousness in what he percieves to be a hospital. Gradually, he begins to discover that his limbs are missing. A war wound has also seemingly robbed him of most of his face as well as the senses that are centered there. Left in this nightmarshly dark and silent world, Joe is left to explore his mind. Memories and his reasoning about time pass many of the early pages in the book. Almost accidently, Joe remembers the morse code and tries to utilize it. The problem was finding a nurse or somebody that understood him.
When Joe is able to communicate with another human, he realizes that his struggles were futile. He could never be taken from the hospital or allowed to communicate with the outside world as he is the ultimate horror of war. This sets Joe on a tirade of the explotive nature of war in a truthful assessment of the government's use of people in war.
"Johnny Got His Gun" is a staggering achievement not only in literary terms, but because this book has survived for so many years despite its controversial nature. During various times since its original publication, it has spent time out of print. Perhaps this is because the author was willing to make a truthful assessment of war, not as a matter of liberty, but as a waste of human life.