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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
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
Johnny Got His Gun is a roller coaster ride of emotions. I've never read a book quite like this. This book is a window into the realities of war.Published 15 hours ago by Seham
This should be required reading for every high schooler. As salient now as ever. Trumbo vividly lays out the cost of war at the basest of levels. Read morePublished 7 days ago by Robotpirate
This book is very well written. Very dramatic ending that causes the reader to not expect what happens..Published 25 days ago by kristine p.
Wow. This book is a real gut puncher. I love the song "One" by Metallica, which is based on this book, so I had to read it. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Amy
Great Book, kept me tuned in; but really messed up what the main character goes through.
Johnny got his Gun, as well as an Artillery shell.
I loved this book. It was recommended to me in school and I loved reading it. It was incredibly thought provoking and definitely kept me engaged. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Paige Espiritu
Liberty and the fight for freedom aren't something you can put a bill of sale on. Does anyone realize what exactly they are risking life and limb for? Read morePublished 2 months ago by Genevieve Speegle
A must read. I first read it in the 70"s. Have your kid read it before you pack him off to war.Published 3 months ago by Patti Highland