Born on the Fourth of July Kindle Edition
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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. He recounts how the well-meaning but unknowing people of Massapequa made him feel, like their Yankee Doodle poster child come home, a not altogether pleasant role.
And he writes of his challenge to America. Having shouted down Richard Nixon's 1972 nomination acceptance speech, he demands of America self-examination and a reordering of priorities. That very self-examination is the essence of greatness. Should we expect less?
BORN ON THE FOURTH OF JULY is an important book, and one which needs to be remembered in these days of disillusionment.
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. Suppressed from the government, this is Kovic's way of expressing his self and getting the word out to the general public in regards to the atrocities of the Vietnam War. Kovic believed that the war was wrong. Here is a person who believed in supporting his country and then came upon the realization that he and his country were wrong in their actions. His writing style accentuates the fact that he is like most males from his generation. With only a high school degree, Kovic switches throughout his book from first person to third. This can be confusing to a reader but is not impossible to understand. In fact, the opposite occurs. The reader gets sucked into the dramatic scenes the book portrays and it is hard to put the book down. Kovic wrote this book with his heart and soul in his words. The book is a valuable resource as it provides great historical accuracy and abundant information to the reader while maintaining its compelling appeal as a story. Because this was written completely from first hand experience this book is completely factual. However, the demerits of the interpretation of this book is that it is completely one sided. Throughout the entire book Kovic complains about how badly he feels about himself, his life, his injury, and the war. A reader may view this as him whining and even may detract them from the book and his writing style. On the other hand, this gives a person that has not experienced such an incident an insight into the feeling the helplessness, hopelessness, and lack of self worth a veteran may suffer. This is an insider's view of the war that one would not normally be exposed to. This type of interpretation is hard to depict yet Kovic does this with flying colors. This book comes highly recommended from majority of its readers. It is a good book to read for not only the historical issues discussed, but to read for the pure pleasure of it. A reader does not have to be a history buff to enjoy Ron Kovic's, "Born on the Fourth of July." It conjures up vivid imagery that allows a reader's imagination to create a distinct picture long after the words have been read. These are memories that the reader will keep with them once the book is finished. Kovic uses intense, powerful words that the reader will find hard to forget.
"I am the living death
The memorial day on wheels
I am your yankee doodle dandy
Your john wayne come home
Your fourth of july firecracker
Exploding in the grave"
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