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Born on the Fourth of July
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Born on the Fourth of July

3.82  ·  Rating Details  ·  2,887 Ratings  ·  126 Reviews
“A great, courageous fellow, a man of deep moral convictions and an uncompromising disposition.”—John Kerry on Ron Kovic

“As relevant as ever, this book is an education. Ron is a true American, and his great heart and hard-won wisdom shine through these pages.” —Oliver Stone, filmmaker

Born on the Fourth of July brings back the era of the Vietnam War at a time when the Esta
Paperback, 224 pages
Published June 1st 2005 by Akashic Books (first published 1976)
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I saw the Oliver Stone/Tom Cruise movie version, which was decent. The book looks short and reads fast. This true-life expose starts with some splendid impressions of being wounded and confused on the battlefield in Vietnam. Am reading with intense interest...

OK, getting close to the halfway point now and this book is quite sensational, really. From the confusion and hell of war it segues into the hellishness of immobility, impotence, dependence, loneliness in the VA hospital then to an intensel
Feb 11, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

Geboren am 4. Juli wird den meisten wohl dank der Oliver Stone Verfilmung mit Tom Cruise in der Hauptrolle ein Begriff sein. Die Vorlage dafür lieferte die Autobiographie von Ron Kovic.

Als dieser 1968 querschnittsgelähmt aus dem Vietnamkrieg zurückkehrt, fühlt er sich von seinem Land verraten und schließt sich der Friedensbewegung an.

1974 schrieb sich Kovic in knapp zwei Monaten seine Geschichte in Santa Monica von der Seele.

Diese Dringlichkeit spürt man auf jeder Seite. Geboren am 4. Juli ist
Cyndie Todd
Dec 11, 2012 Cyndie Todd rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: patriots everywhere
Recommended to Cyndie by: Ron Kovic
I knew Ron Kovic personally. He used to frequent the restaurant I worked at so much so that there was a dish on the menu named after him. Every dish on the menu was named after an author. Ron liked to have a steak with cottage cheese and tomatoes, so that was his dish. He would come to the restaurant and say to me, "I'll have me." He was very kind and funny and even flirty. He gave me the copy of his book, autographed, with his calling card tucked into it, which I still have. It's a great book, ...more
Chris Stephan
May 22, 2015 Chris Stephan rated it really liked it
Born on the fourth of July, written by Ron Kovic is an American classic. The story takes place during the Vietnam war after the paralysis of Ron Kovic. This book is narrated through the eyes of Ron. This book gives us his life story about his hardships and his good times throughout his life, especially when he came home. But, Ron being in the war drives the plot. If he wasn't in the war he would't have brought enlightenment in so many people. His purpose in writing this book was to explain to Am ...more
Abel LaRoche
May 22, 2015 Abel LaRoche rated it really liked it
Born on the Fourth of July is a great American Classic. This book is narrated by the author, Ron Kovic. Kovic does a great job of telling his story in the Vietnam war. He explains everything he went through in such great detail. He makes your imagination run wild while you read this novel. Kovic sends the message to never give up and always look on the bright side of things because Kovic went through a lot after he was injured in the war. He was constantly being positive and showed great will p ...more
Oct 10, 2014 rated it it was amazing
The first sentence in the story took me right in Vietnam, paralyzed me with Ron Kovic in the middle of the battle field. I was very impressed with the book considering it takes a lot for me to spark an interest in anything that consists of lots of reading, but this book grabbed my attention and kept me interested through his life as he shares it with us. This book starts with him wounded hearing the cries of his fellow Marines not able to feel anything below his waste, you feel the pain of his c ...more
Feb 05, 2011 CMars rated it it was ok
Considering this isn't my usual genre of choice, I thought this was a pretty good book.

I think that many people fault Kovic (and rightly so, I suppose) for not being much of a writer. However, what he lacks in literary talent he definitely makes up for in genuine vivid emotion.

Kovic is, without question, a man with a story to tell. I think it is important for potential readers to keep in mind that this is not a literary masterpiece, but rather a stark, gritty and very genuine portrayal of a ve
Jan 01, 2013 Richard rated it it was ok
It's hard to give a book like this a negative or average review without feeling like you are being disrespectful to the author and what he went through. But the simple fact is, this book just isn't very well written. I recommend it to the extent that the author's experience is compelling reading; I just wish he had focus as well.

Kovic's style is disjointed and random. The narrative jumps back and forth in time for no discernible purpose. Even more strange, he switches between talking about hims
May 14, 2012 Graydon rated it really liked it
I have to say that I have found Born on the Fourth of July to hold a fascinating view point on the Vietnam War. This book is far different from most anti-war novels of the era. Where most focused on the life of the GI in Vietnam or the counterculture at home, this book explores both through the eyes of a crippled volunteer to the war. It is Ron Kovic’s unique view of the war and his role in it which makes this book worth reading.
As of now I am only at the one third mark of the novel, a surprisi
Jun 24, 2008 Daniel rated it liked it
Recommends it for: people who haven't read "Johnny Got His Gun," or think its points are invalid because it is so old.
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
Lauren Watts
May 05, 2016 Lauren Watts marked it as to-read
we read an excerpt of this in school and I really liked it. I need to read the whole book soon. It is really depressing so i might have to read small parts of it at a time. Ron kovic is a great writer. He painted a picture in my head from the moment I began reading.
Aug 11, 2010 Cristy rated it liked it
Granted, this book might not see publication today, mostly because of its disjointed style and non-existent core, but that does not diminish its importance. Kovic revealed, for the first time, not just the consequences of war, but the anguish of optimism and trust betrayed, the failure of our institutions to protect, respect and care for its members. PTSD is not relegated to veterans and the disenfranchisement Kovic experiences is rampant in other populations too (rape victims, living donors, di ...more
Jan 22, 2016 CodyD rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

Very good book, glad I finally got to read it. Better than the film as per usual. God bless you Ron.
Sophia Lang
This is one of the most powerful books I have ever read. I recommend it to anyone who is not aware of the massive tragedy that was the Vietnam war. It follows the story of a veteran from his childhood full of big dreams, to his time in the war, and to the paralysis of his entire lower body. His opinions on the war and honor completely reverse as the story progresses. This book is not for those who cannot handle gory imagery because many of the war and hospital scenes are very graphic. These part ...more
4Reid B
Ron Kovic creates a candid memoir by writing about his raw, marine experience. He first starts off by descriptively describing the realness of war. He had “blood still rolling off” his jacket from the hole in his shoulder and there were “bullets cracking into the sand all around” after he had been shot (14). Through these vivid descriptions, you can really picture what Kovic must have gone through. You also get a snippet of war through his near-death experiences. When he was in the hospital he t ...more
Max Theill
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Debbie Evancic
Nov 11, 2015 Debbie Evancic rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction, vietnam
I was touched by Tom Cruise in the movie, but not as much as when I read the book.

Ron Kovic begins the book by telling of his typical American childhood with hula hoops, learning the twist, playing basketball, balancing on the fence like Houdini, flying a kite, hiding in a box, making a model and on and on. He was a typical kid, trying to grow up and do the right thing. Joining the Marines seemed like the right thing to do at the time. Little did he know.

Ron writes about the bullets that hit hi
Cαiтℓуn; emo shy mom friend;
So, I had to read this book for school over the summer, which was very unfortunate. I can't wait to go to school and let the English teacher know just what I thought of this book. It was a RELIEF when I finally finished it. I threw it off my bed, across the floor, and proceeded to kick it around the house. (Take that teachers!)

Many things bothered me about this book and that's pushing aside the fact that I don't really like autobiographies. I did see the movie first, which wasn't any better if n
Sam Woodfield
Jul 25, 2014 Sam Woodfield rated it liked it
There are two sides to this book - one is the true insight into the aftermath of a tragic war for a young man, and the other is a very detached account which lacks feeling and emotion.
Ron Kovic was a young man of 20 when he went off to fight as a Marine in Vietnam, something he had aspired to his whole life. But after suffering life changing injuries, his opinions change as he is left with a life in which he must come to terms with his injuries whilst the war rages on.
This book, like many writte
joel henningsen
Mar 29, 2016 joel henningsen rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Dec 06, 2008 Caty rated it liked it
I have the same response Anne Rice reportedly about IWAV about the movie version of this---"Tom Cruise???!" For all that, it's not such a bad movie, either. But the book....the book, with its deceptively bare prose, sets about breaking your heart in earnest. An essential memoir of one of the country's most prominent anti-war veterans and veteran's rights activists.
Mar 19, 2016 rains rated it it was ok
As many people have expressed, it feels somewhat wrong to give this book a low rating, and I agree, not because of what happened to Ron Kovic in Vietnam and afterwards, but because the memoir is so visceral, so genuine in its determination and rage, and so straightforward, that rating it seems less like judging a piece of literature than judging a man and his story (it's a memoir, duh). There are no gray, morally ambiguous areas here: what's wrong is wrong, and the bad guys (the military, the Am ...more
May 10, 2014 Margi rated it really liked it
Shelves: memoir, apl
It's so hard to review this book as just a book. It's so much more than that. It's difficult to read, it's difficult to digest. Part of that is the writing style, of which there doesn't seem to be one. The book flips POV from first person to third and back with no discernible pattern. There are several parts that are nonsensical. But maybe, just maybe, that's part of the book's importance. The war in Vietnam was nonsensical. Wars in general are nonsensical. It's all batshit crazy and this book i ...more
Aaron Martz
Apr 20, 2015 Aaron Martz rated it it was amazing
I used to think that if I had been alive when the Vietnam War was going on that I would have been one of those people protesting it during military parades, but after reading this memoir I feel ashamed of that. Kovic was an all-American boy who loved his country more than anyone and fought for it and got paralyzed and was then mistreated by the very country he was fighting for. In hospitals and by the police and by his fellow countrymen. It must have taken extreme courage to tell a story this un ...more
Dec 17, 2011 Mike rated it liked it

Ron Kovic describes his Vietnam experience His wounding in Vietnam and his subsequent journey through the Vetrans hospitals of the day. His hopes and his dreams and his anger
Sep 02, 2009 James rated it did not like it
Shelves: literary-frauds
This book is a literary fraud.

See STOLEN VALOR pp 395-398

There are a few facts in this book that are true,
but much is fiction.

Jan 10, 2016 Kamil rated it it was amazing
A moving read that conveys the futile, wasteful nature of war. Through his experiences, Kovic depicts the change in attitudes towards the military and government throughout the Vietnam War, as well as his deep frustration and anger with the system that used him for its own purposes. How betrayed he must have felt after giving so much only to come home to a country that didn't care about his situation and people that no longer supported the cause he had fought for.
Kovic's changes of perspective
Carol Rizzardi
May 31, 2015 Carol Rizzardi rated it it was ok
More than 40 years after the war, after countless books and movies about the war, after visiting Vietnam, and I'm sorry to say this book just didn't move me the way I expected it to. Still, I can appreciate that when it was written, in the early to mid-seventies, the book was ground-breaking in its brutal honesty about the betrayal felt by Vietnam veterans. I'm sure the same feelings are felt by our current vets who come home to over-crowded, under-staffed, and under-funded VA facilities.

Plus ca
Meghan Chiampa
Jun 06, 2008 Meghan Chiampa rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
awesome, i never saw the movie. long story short, war is bad usa lies
Jan 19, 2015 JolijnBs rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Anyone interested in (the Vietnam) war and veterans.
Recommended to JolijnBs by: No one, decided to read it after watching the movie.
It's been a while since I read this, and I remember wanting to put it down multiple times. There was something about it that bothered me... It bothers me while watching the movie too; Ron expects to be treated differently because he's a veteran, and, well, maybe it's because they are treated differently in the USA, but it annoyed me. Of course, I am so grateful for veterans and the people out there fighting right now, but it was a bit too... arrogant at times. But I still couldn't put the book d ...more
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Ron Kovic served two tours of duty during the Vietnam War and wrote Born on the Fourth of July based on his experiences as a Marine and his subsequent activism.
More about Ron Kovic...

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“I want a woman, Dad. I want somebody to love me. I wanna to be free again. I wanna walk in the backyard on the grass. I wanna put my bare feet in the ocean. I wanna run along the sand and feel it on my feet. I wanna stand up in the shower with the hot water streaming down my legs, in the morning...I wanna explode, Dad. I wanna get out of this fucking body I'm in. I wanna be a man again...I just wanna be a man again.” 3 likes
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