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Johnny Got His Gun | [Dalton Trumbo]

Johnny Got His Gun

This was no ordinary war. This was a war to make the world safe for democracy. And if democracy was made safe, then nothing else mattered - not the millions of dead bodies, nor the thousands of ruined lives. This is no ordinary novel. This is the story of a young American soldier terribly maimed in World War I - he "survives" armless, legless, and faceless, but with his mind intact.
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Publisher's Summary

This was no ordinary war. This was a war to make the world safe for democracy. And if democracy was made safe, then nothing else mattered - not the millions of dead bodies, nor the thousands of ruined lives. This is no ordinary novel. This is a novel that never takes the easy way out: it is shocking, violent, terrifying, horrible, uncompromising, brutal, remorseless, and gruesome...but so is war.

Johnny Got His Gun holds a place as one of the classic antiwar novels. First published in 1939, Dalton Trumbo's story of a young American soldier terribly maimed in World War I - he "survives" armless, legless, and faceless, but with his mind intact - was an immediate best seller. This fiercely moving novel was a rallying point for many Americans who came of age during World War II, and it became perhaps the most popular novel of protest during the Vietnam era.

©1991 Dalton Trumbo; (P)2008 Tantor

What the Critics Say

"[This] is a terrifying book, of an extraordinary emotional intensity." (The Washington Post)
"There can be no question of the effectiveness of this book." (The New York Times)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.1 (116 )
5 star
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4.2 (84 )
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4.1 (80 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Carollynn7 Kansas City, MO United States 11-27-11
    Carollynn7 Kansas City, MO United States 11-27-11 Member Since 2003
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    "READ THE INTRODUCTION LAST"

    I saw the movie in 1971 when I was a teenager and had wanted to read the book ever since. I finally purchased it from Audible a few days ago. Unfortunately, I didn't know (or didn't pay attention to) the fact that there was to be an introduction by a mother who had lost her son in Iraq that was intended to create a sense of the outrage she felt at losing her son in a war that was unjustified. It also gave away much more of the plot than I remember from the movie and certainly more than I wanted to hear before reading the book myself.

    Don't get me wrong . . . I'm not saying that her outrage is unjustified. It just didn't belong at the beginning of a book that I wanted to discover for myself. It set HER tone, justified though it might be, not mine.

    As soon as I realized what was happening to ME as I was listening to the introduction I turned it off and found the beginning of the book. But, alas, I will have to wait awhile before I take it up again.

    It reminds me of the time in the early to mid 70's when Charles Schultz ran a Sunday cartoon featuring Lucy and Linus watching "Citizen Cane" on TV. The last plate of the cartoon had Lucy telling Linus, "Rosebud is . . . . . . .". It ruined the anticipation for a whole generation of people who had not seen the movie. People who have read a book or have seen a movie or play should NEVER give anything away that might change the experience for others.

    12 of 12 people found this review helpful
  •  
    L'abeille Massachusetts, USA 01-04-09
    L'abeille Massachusetts, USA 01-04-09 Member Since 2008

    Debbie

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Johnny Got His Gun"

    The narrator of this audible book makes listening to this book easy. I've read the book, but it is at times very difficult to read due to the lack of proper punctuation (it indicates a drugged state of the first person narration of the book, I believe). The narrator makes it much easier to understand and enjoyable.

    10 of 10 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Starlet San Carlos, CA, United States 10-17-10
    Starlet San Carlos, CA, United States 10-17-10 Member Since 2005
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    "Awesome Story and Narration"

    This book is truly incredible and when listed to as an audio book -- awesome. I highly recommend it to be listened to with the narration by William Dufris -- it was so realistic that I had to go back to the Editors review of book to confirm that it was indeed Fiction. I've never read anything like it and, personally, think everyone would benefit to listen to, no matter your views on war. I am giving it 5 stars because of this --- it ranted on for a wee bit too long at the end but didn't take away from anything.

    6 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Peter Gridley, CA, United States 06-09-12
    Peter Gridley, CA, United States 06-09-12 Member Since 2010
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "In A Category of Its Own"
    Would you listen to Johnny Got His Gun again? Why?

    Yes- - - the oration is as excellent as the written work. Every single page brings some poignant reason why life and the living are important and how absolutely obscene is war. Dalton Trumbo's genius and courage are benchmarks for any author or script-writer who even dreams of composing a story that deals with the consequences of war. Trumbo's "Johnny Got His Gun" is, in a serious way, equivalent in impact to "Catch 22" from Joseph Heller. Anyone who claims to be human should dedicate the minimal time needed to experience the stark, rich and artful portrayal of the human aberration called "war" and the ultimate ugly result it can create. In an era where politics have become so polarized and laden with jargon, "Johnny Got His Gun" is a book, which can withstand any pro-war propaganda and end up demonstrating that most wars are fought at the sole expense of the man (and now some women) who are where the lead meets flesh. A more significant work of literature is yet to be written. The question is; "Written by whom and about what?"


    What did you like best about this story?

    The vividness of the wording and the pictures that came to mind, making it feel real.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    Irrelevant


    If you could take any character from Johnny Got His Gun out to dinner, who would it be and why?

    Dumb question. Joe Bonham was being fed through a gastro-tube.
    I am not good enough in Morse Code to communicate with Joe.
    Sorry to be sarcastic but the question is irrelevant for this book.


    Any additional comments?

    R E A D (Listen to) T H I S B O O K.
    It will transform your life.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    C. M. Scott Los Angeles, CA 06-20-14
    C. M. Scott Los Angeles, CA 06-20-14 Member Since 2014

    a curvy sci-fi chick

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    "Amazing voice actor brings the story to life"
    Would you consider the audio edition of Johnny Got His Gun to be better than the print version?

    No, because I would never replace a book with an audiobook, but it is an excellent companion to the book.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Johnny Got His Gun?

    That would be giving the story away. What I will say, however, is that this voice actor has breathed emotional life into this story in a way that makes it hit you harder than just reading it alone.


    Have you listened to any of William Dufris’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    No, I haven't.


    Who was the most memorable character of Johnny Got His Gun and why?

    I'm not giving the story away.


    Any additional comments?

    I read this book when I was in 11th grade, in 1997. We didn't have the accompanying audiobook at that time. The book changed the way I viewed the world and left an incredible impression on me then. I'm reading it now with my high school English class, accompanied by the audiobook, and I find myself to be even more emotionally involved with the book now than I was then. My students are riveted, and we're only three chapters in. I highly recommend this audiobook as an accompaniment to the book. The voice actor will pull the emotions out of you and you will want to go back to the print book to make sure you really had read what you just thought you'd read and it really did rock your world.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    E. Peltier 05-10-12
    E. Peltier 05-10-12 Member Since 2011
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    "This narrator is terrible."
    Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

    I really had a hard time listening to this. It sounds like the narrator read this book doing a Bill Clinton impression. Terrible.


    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Tyler Charlotte, NC, United States 03-16-12
    Tyler Charlotte, NC, United States 03-16-12 Member Since 2011
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    "Awesome idea for a book, but terribly boring"

    This sounds like a really great book, I think the idea sounds very interesting. That said this book is beyond dry. Without a doubt oone of the most boring novels I have ever read. Very, very hard to get through. I listened to the last half of this book on 3x, and almost deleted it before I finished it a few times. Add that to the fact Cindy Sheehan wrote the introduction it makes me wish I could rate this title a 0 instead of a 1.

    1 of 5 people found this review helpful
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