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Johnny Got His Gun [Paperback]

Cindy Sheehan , Dalton Trumbo
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (30 customer reviews)
RRP: 9.41
Price: 9.32 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over 10. Details
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Book Description

2 Aug 2007
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.Winner of the National Book Award "Mr. Trumbo sets this story down almost without pause or punctuation and with a fury amounting to eloquence."-- "The New York Times" "It is hard to imaging a more persuasive argument for staying out of war than this smooth, savage, brilliant tale."-- "Chicago Daily News"
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Citadel Press (2 Aug 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0806528478
  • ISBN-13: 978-0806528472
  • Product Dimensions: 20.8 x 14.2 x 2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (30 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 444,228 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

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Product Description


'Powerful ... an eye-opener' - Michael Moore 'A book that can never be forgotten by anyone who reads it' Saturday Review --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

About the Author

Dalton Trumbo (1905-1976) was among the most prolific and important literary figures of his time. One of the famous Hollywood Ten, he refused to testify about his alleged Communist affiliations before the House Un-American Activities Committee in 1947. Johnny Got His Gun won a National Book Award in 1939.

E.L. Doctorow is one of America's most accomplished and acclaimed living writers. Winner of the National Book Award, the National Book Critics Circle Award (twice), the PEN/Faulkner Award, and the National Humanities Medal, he is the author of nine novels that have explored the drama of American life from the late 19th century to the 21st.

--This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
24 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An extremely powerful and disturbing story. 8 Jun 1999
By A Customer
There are few books which I can honestly say have altered my outlook on life, whose covers I have closed a different person. "Johnny got his gun" is one of them, though I fear I lack the eloquence to persuade you to read it.
It tells the story of a World War One soldier, horrifically wounded in battle to the point where he is totally cut off from the outside world. With only his memories for company, he attempts to make sense of his situation, and make the most of his world, such as it is. After a long time (having no way to measure time at first, he can be no more precise than this), he eventually manages to communicate with the staff attending him in hospital, and then with his army commanders.
Trumbo's masterstroke is, to my mind, quite subtle: he hardly uses any punctuation at all, save for full stops. This relates very effectively the disordered stream of the soldier's thoughts, and at times, makes the prose all the more disturbing.
His protests to the outside world, first unheard and later ignored, are extremely powerful and moving, and make the book as a whole demand repeat readings.
Everyone should me made to read this book at sometime or another.
(In case you were wondering, the other life-altering books were "One flew over the cuckoo's nest", "Slaughterhouse five", "Farenheit 351" and "1984" - read them all.)
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Why politicians never fight wars themselves 3 July 2002
Next time you watch a "smart-bomb" create a puff of smoke on a green screen, or, you see the clouds of dust settling on a hill in Afghanistan or Iraq you might be forgiven for thinking that war really is now "clinical", "painless" and "humane".
This book illustrates what war looks like up-close and personal, from an author black-listed for "un-American" behaviour. Every time you see a bomb exploding you never see the real casualties. These are too graphic to appear on TV and therefore we are safely insulated from seeing what we are responsible for. But the pictures themselves show only half the truth.
This book lays bare the reality of suffering and the stark reality that war, for whatever reason, is not glorious. It is not honourable. It is not heroic.
It illustrates how the with the best intentions and through being caught up in patriotic or nationalistic ferver your life can be taken and never returned. All the while, those who choose to start war never, ever have to put their lives on the line.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Johnny Got His Gun 17 July 2011
By josh L
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I'm not sure how the majority of people who read this book heard about it but for me it was through the song 'One' by Metallica. After watching the music video i was intrigued and fascinated by the lyrics and how harrowing the video was, and did a bit of research about the song. I found that both James Hetfield and Lars Ulrich (members of metallica) had read the book and found it powerful enough to write a song on the book alone, this furthered my intrigue. So after finding the book on Amazon i decided to buy it, and im glad i did ! The book followes the life of a young chap in the army who after a horrific accident looses his arms, legs, nose, mouth, eyes and all he has left are his thoughts. The book is a brilliant bit of writing from the author, and also is a very powerful anti-war document. The book has definately changed my opinion on war as it rises a point that i had never thought of before. It can be a challenging read at times as it changes from the soldiers conscious to un-conscious thoughts, the book also inspired me to buy the film which for me helped put face's to the name's in the book. Definately worth a read.
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Umissable 10 Nov 2001
I first heard about this book 10 years ago when I found out the Metallica song "One" was based on it, so i rushed out to my local library and managed to borrow a rather dog-eared copy.
This book scared the life out of me and reading it again 10 years later it still does.
Having said that though you HAVE to read it and put yourself in Johhny's position, it is impossible to imagine what he was going through laying there day after day.
Now if only the movie could be re-released in the UK.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
Previous reviews suggested that this would be a thought provoking book, but believe me they cannot prepare you for the effect this book will have. It not only provides a disturbing insight into the horrors faced by one man, but makes you question the very foundations upon which western society is based. You could struggle for a lifetime with the issues raised by this book and never find answers. Trumbo's dialogues are a moving and powerful expression of one man's hell. The book is beautifully written and the lack of punctuation only makes the text more compelling.
Do not be mislead or detered by the title, this is not a war story in the traditional sense; it is so much more. I cannot recommend this book highly enough but if you only read one book in your entire lifetime it should be this one!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Compelling! It makes you think... 18 May 2001
By A Customer
After all the "throw-away" fiction I've read recently this was a book that made me think.
One of the previous reviewers suggested that the idea was not relevant to today but I feel I must disagree, war is war and there will be casualties similar to "Joe" in any conflict (OK, not as extreme).
I'm much impressed with Trumbo's ability to imagine himself in the position of someone so badly injured and write from that point of view.
There is also a touch of humour in there (Lazarus) and Trumbo's diatribes, written without punctuation, particularly at the end of the book, are stunning.
I wish I'd have discovered this book sooner.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars An absolute must read. This book will change your outlook on life.
Compelling, heartbreaking, thought provoking, opinion changing. Can a book be anything more? Nothing short of genius. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Mrs. K. Brazier
5.0 out of 5 stars Stop all war
An amazing book that I first read in the US during the Vietnam war. In this 100th anniversary of the First World War it should be compulsory reading for everyone.
Published 3 months ago by Sara Tokunaga
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent book!
Great book I really think should be included the the literacy curriculum as it offers plenty of discussion points as well as food for thought. Read more
Published 6 months ago by Mia Witham
5.0 out of 5 stars Remarkable - essential reading as we approach the 100th anniversary of...
I would recommend this to anyone interested in getting a sense of the futility, cruelty and waste of the First World War. See the movie too - you will be affectd by it. Read more
Published 6 months ago by Jonathan F. Vernon
5.0 out of 5 stars Truly Gripping
Dalton Trumbo was too young to be a soldier in the First World War, and he never suffered any injuries such as Joe Bonham does in this book, so what he achieved is pure brilliance. Read more
Published 9 months ago by M. Dowden
5.0 out of 5 stars Johnny Got His Gun
This has to be the most heartbreaking and compelling work I have ever read. To be taken inside Joe's mind and go through every realisation with him is incredibly sad but still... Read more
Published 10 months ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book
Excellent book - saw the film many years ago and have never forgotten it; only knew Trumbo as a film maker until now.
Published 11 months ago by MR R CLEMENTS
5.0 out of 5 stars Limbless, eyeless but trapped in thoughts
Taking an extreme position and imagining what life would be like, Dalton Trumbo inhabits a living corpse and recollects life without limb, eyesight, smell or taste. Read more
Published 15 months ago by Dr. Delvis Memphistopheles
5.0 out of 5 stars Gut Wrenching
one of the best books i have aver read. A true enditement of the horrors of war and the politicians who continue to send our boys to die to this day. Read more
Published on 11 Aug 2010 by verbal kint
4.0 out of 5 stars Go Get Your gun...
I stumbled across this book completely by accident whilst hunting down new things to read on Amazon.

Wow. This book is intense. Read more
Published on 25 May 2010 by Ms. C. Hankinson
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