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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 (161 )
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4.2 (118 )
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  •  
    Carollynn7 Kansas City, MO United States 11-27-11
    Carollynn7 Kansas City, MO United States 11-27-11 Member Since 2014
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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.

    14 of 14 people found this review helpful
  •  
    L'abeille Massachusetts, USA 01-04-09
    L'abeille Massachusetts, USA 01-04-09 Member Since 2008

    Debbie

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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.

    11 of 11 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 2013
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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.

    8 of 8 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Peter Gridley, CA, United States 06-09-12
    Peter Gridley, CA, United States 06-09-12 Member Since 2010
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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.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Brian from Redbankistan 03-22-15
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    "Powerful, important story."

    Hard to listen to at points but all the more important for being emotionally evocative. Skip the introductions but definitely read or listen to this book.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Steven 09-09-14
    Steven 09-09-14
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    "Skip the introduction..."

    The book itself, after you get to it, is well written and flows as erratically as the life of someone in that condition might have theirs go. The introduction, however, is absolutely terrible!

    Her rant about her son in a different war, under completely different circumstances plays no bearing, what so ever, on the story itself aside from her take on it. Why she was permitted to write an introduction to this book is beyond me, and why the publisher permitted it to be put in there is, once again, staggeringly beyond me.
    You cannot compare the trials and tribulations from a mother's point of view, having lost her son, a volunteer to combat, to the point of view of a soldier conscripted into a war. It's as simple as that.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jennifer Carver 03-03-15
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    "Breathtaking"

    Trumbo exceeded all expectations for what a book could do to a reader. I'm amazed at his writing and speechless of the imagery and compelling story he writes.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Graham San Diego, CA, United States 02-04-15
    Graham San Diego, CA, United States 02-04-15 Member Since 2014
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    "Utterly gripping"
    Would you listen to Johnny Got His Gun again? Why?

    Yes, I read it 25 years ago; now in audible format William Dufris' narration made this stunning book even more compelling, if that is possible.


    What other book might you compare Johnny Got His Gun to and why?

    This is arguably the most compelling anti-war book ever written.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Andrew FAIR OAKS, CA, United States 01-02-15
    Andrew FAIR OAKS, CA, United States 01-02-15 Member Since 2009

    I'm a web developer based out of Sacramento, I listen to books while I work, and love audible.

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    "Classic"
    Any additional comments?

    How can a book about a man that looses both legs and arms, his eye site, and hearing in WWI be anything but depressing? Not sure. But this book does what it intends to do.

    It it shows the futility of war and how it normally is brought about by special interests for their own purpose and results in the death of the young and innocent.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Derek 11-12-14
    Derek 11-12-14
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    "REALLY gripping story"

    I listened to this on the way to and from work.

    I have a pretty long driveway, and most days I would magically get from the middle of my driveway to work without knowing how I got there. The book would suck me in so quickly I didn't even remember turning onto the street.

    I wonder if the movie did the book justice?

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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