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Born on the Fourth of July

de Ron Kovic

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5251034,365 (3.52)19
This New York Times bestseller details the author's life story-from a patriotic soldier in Vietnam, to his severe battlefield injury, to his role as the country's most outspoken anti-Vietnam War advocate. Kovic served two tours of duty during the Vietnam War. He was paralyzed from his chest down in combat in 1968 and has been in a wheelchair ever since. Includes a new introduction by the author.… (mais)
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It's a bit hard for me to believe that I hadn't read this book already. There was a time in the 1980s that I devoured everything I could read about the Vietnam War. It was fascinating to me in its horror, grotesqueness and absurdity. I guess the fact that I turned 18 in 1973, thus missing the draft by only a single year, somehow added to that. (A draft lottery was held that year just in case the U.S. government/military changed their minds -- I got a high number, a good thing.) Anti-war activist or pro-war flag waver, I think one of the big dividing lines between American generations is whether or not you grew up with the Vietnam War draft hanging over your head (or the heads of one's children).

At any rate, I came upon my paperback copy of this book on my memoir shelf and realized that I'd never actually read the thing. It only took me three or four sittings to finish this. Kovic is a very effective writer. This work is extremely powerful. There's nothing dated about it now, and it's easy to see why it gained such attention then. The memoir begins with the moment Kovic is wounded during a firefight and immediately loses all feeling from the middle of his chest downward. The horrors of life in a VA hospital and the darkness that descends on Kovic as he grapples with the realization that his condition is permanent are graphically and powerfully rendered. Kovic also flashes back to his (in the telling) idyllic Long Island middle-class upbringing that led him to the patriotic "God and Country" perspective that drew him to the Marines and to enthusiasm for the war in the first place. He details his life for the first decade after his wound, including his evolution into a strong anti-Vietnam War activist, in often compelling fashion as well. As an anti-war statement and a chronicle of personal darkness and perseverance, this memoir stands up very well, indeed. ( )
2 vote rocketjk | Oct 14, 2020 |
I picked up this book to see the transformation of a patriotic GI into a Vietnam Veteran Against the War. I wanted to learn how the movement enticed him, when he had his epiphany, and how he reacted to the rest of the anti-war movement. I wanted to read the author grappling with the decision to join the anti-war movement.

Unfortunately, the epiphany lasts only a couple of pages, and the conversion from skeptical injured veteran to strident anti-war activist is pretty sudden. Only one seven page chapter is devoted to his "conversion." Near as I can tell, only one sentence deals with him grappling with his dual life as a patriotic GI and as an anti-war veteran: "One part of me was upset that people were swimming naked in the national monument and the other part of me completely understood that now it was their pool, and what good is a pool if you can't swim in it." Hardly emotionally tugging or complicated prose.

Kovic's book is authentic, written by a real paralyzed veteran, and Kovic's anti-war barnstorming is interesting to me as an anti-war civilian. But everything good about this book can be gleaned from the book "Johnny Got His Gun." In fact, Born on the Fourth of July refers to "Johnny Got His Gun" directly: "It was as if the book was speaking about me, my wound and the hell it had been coming back and learning to live with it." Yes. It was. ( )
1 vote magonistarevolt | Apr 24, 2020 |
The true story of young Marine Kovic, who's combat injury in Vietnam left him paralyzed from the chest down. The writing can be stilted sometimes but that doesn't stop the reader from feeling the impact of Kovic's story. The first two chapters are very difficult, as they take place in the battle when he was shot and surrounded by other wounded men, then the treatment he received in the VA hospital immediately afterwards, which was just as horrifying as the battleground. I actually put the book down for about a week and wondered if I'd keep going, but then figured that he lived it and all I had to do was read about it.
Kovic's story was published over 40 years ago, and it's probably more introspective than most, as he deals with isolation, loneliness, grief over the loss of sexual functioning, and his desire to be seen as a symbol of the war. 4 stars ( )
1 vote mstrust | Jul 21, 2019 |
This is the few times where the movie was better than the book. The book is about Ron's story how he grew up, went to Vietnam, got paralyzed and what happened after he came home. The simplistic writing was not what I expected for a book turned into a movie.

For the rest of the review, visit my blog at: http://angelofmine1974.livejournal.com/123850.html ( )
  booklover3258 | Mar 18, 2017 |
I think I may have too many war/horror stories under my belt to find this one particularly novel. Volunteer marine goes back for a second tour during Vietnam and is paralyzed. Becomes disillusioned with the ongoing war following his poor treatment at the VA hospital and his generation losing their lives/limbs/minds over a cause the growing majority of the American public no longer supports. Begins speaking out/protesting while attempting to cope with the rest of his life imprisoned in a chair. Intrigued by his follow-up novel focused on improving the treatment of disabled veterans.

"No government will ever teach me to hate another human being." ( )
  dandelionroots | Nov 12, 2016 |
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Nome do autorFunçãoTipo de autorObra?Status
Ron Kovicautor principaltodas as ediçõescalculado
Daly, GerryArtista da capaautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
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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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For my country and its people. Happy birthday.
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The blood is still rolling off my flak jacket from the hole in my shoulder and there are bullets cracking into the sand all around me.
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This New York Times bestseller details the author's life story-from a patriotic soldier in Vietnam, to his severe battlefield injury, to his role as the country's most outspoken anti-Vietnam War advocate. Kovic served two tours of duty during the Vietnam War. He was paralyzed from his chest down in combat in 1968 and has been in a wheelchair ever since. Includes a new introduction by the author.

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