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Born on the Fourth of July

3.78 of 5 stars 3.78  ·  rating details  ·  2,185 ratings  ·  97 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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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
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
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
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
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 3 of 5 stars
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
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
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
Cyndie Todd
Dec 11, 2012 Cyndie Todd rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  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
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
Caitlyn |I'd Rather Die than Believe a Lie| ~* Kitty *~
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
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
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.
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

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
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.

Meghan Chiampa
awesome, i never saw the movie. long story short, war is bad usa lies
I was so moved by Tom Cruise's emotionally grueling (and Academy Award-nominated) performance in the film Born on the Fourth of July, that I immedately had to read the book. I was even more moved by Ron Kovic's personal account of his life-altering injury received while a solider in Vietnam. Kovic is a naturally gifted writer, although his narrative is a bit disjoinetd. He switches back and forth between first- and third-person narration, and mixes up his chapters chronologically. This doesn't ...more

I remember seeing this movie when it first came out and thought what a tremendous job Tom Cruise did of playing the lead role even though I am not a fan of his. I never thought about reading the book. I never came across it until sometime last summer and then I knew I wanted to go back to this story. I can never know what Ron Kovic experienced in Vietnam, but he had a fairly typical upbringing as so many young men did in the mid-20th century. He wanted to grow up to play baseball and be a h
marcus miller
If you want to understand what the Vietnam War did to the United States and to the young men who fought, this is a good place to start. Kovic describes his idyllic childhood and the patriotism with which he was raised. Kovic sense of duty prompted him to join the Marines and after one tour, to go back a second time. Kovic's service and his life are turned upside down when he his shot and he is paralyzed below the chest.

Kovic describes his injuries, the emotional scars, and the horrors of the VA
Jun 20, 2007 Justino marked it as to-read
"i try to keep telling myself it's good to be alive.": massapequa, new york may well be the most unabashedly patriotic town in america. like ron kovic (who i knew in passing) i grew up there, played in "sally's woods" got my hair cut at sparky the barber's, and participated in the endless red, white and blue parades that seemed to define our town. a safe, stable bedroom community on long island's south shore, it spawned boys like kovic who absorbed the tales of "the greatest generation" and took ...more
Cameron Rice
The true story of Vietnam vet and anti-war activist Ron Kovic. It's the story of a man who loved God and Country and gave his body for both in the Vietnam war. But if you're someone who has no interest in War stories true or not true, I think you should look at this book and story as a man fighting for what he believes in. Even if many disagree with him, even if he gets yelled at, spit on or arrested. It's the story of a man who fights for what he feels is right.

Chapters in this book range from
Read this book in 1976 and decided to reread it again as I came across it during a cleaning binge.

It definitely represents my generation, what it was like growing up in the 50's and early 60's, and how people reacted to the Vietnam War in the late 60's. It also shows the ugly side of war. This disturbed me in 1976 and it disturbed me even more now.

In 1976 I remember that Ron was well known in the media for his protests and for conditions he exposed at VA hospitals. This made him a hero in many
Daniel Judge
This book should be required reading for all HS history students and for anyone who sees war as a good thing. This along with Johnny Got His Gun and Slaughterhouse Five make a good anti-war trilogy. Such awful things to happen to such great people.

Favorite quotes:

1. "It never makes any sense to us how the government can keep asking for weapons and leave us lying in our own filth."

2. "to kill another human being, to take another life out of this world with one pull of a trigger, is something that
I wanted to know more about Ron Kovic, so I read this book. Kovic spends a lot of time talking about the horrific side of war and how it can destroy someone both physically and mentally. I felt for Kovic throughout the book and had a whirlwind of emotions while reading it. Kovic is a good storyteller, but there were a few things that fell short. Born on the Fourth of July had some grammatical errors and tense switches, which made the novel hard to follow. I also found myself wishing the book was ...more
Kelli Oliver George
I hate giving this 3 stars because as the daughter of a Vietnam Vet the subject material is so compelling to me. However, some of the endless self-rumination and naval gazing grew a little tiresome.

That said, despite the 3 stars, I HIGHLY recommend this read for anyone who is a family member, friend or loved one of a Vietnam vet.
Caleb Stevens
I really enjoyed this book! It tells the story of Ron Kovic and the hell he went through as a marine and as a paralyzed man. He goes into great detail about the struggles of being a paralyzed person, and it does get gross sometimes. This book is not for people who can't handle pain and suffering. This is a great biography that, unfortunately, was a harsh reality for many veterans of the Vietnam war, and other wars before that. I can only hope that we treat our marines today better than we did fo ...more
Owen Mckenna
(Owen McKenna Rio Rancho, NM-NY) I read the book in 2 days. Having had the opportunity to visit the Author's hometown, Massapequa, NY, after having read the book. I thought it was amazing of how much details he put into his descriptions. I did not care for the movie, but I enjoyed the book.
Vincent Serrani
A reminder that stoking the flames of war is not the same as being patriotic. Ron challenges conventional wisdom about American foreign policy from a rock solid point of view.
Remy Grillo
This book follows the journey of a paralyzed war veteran,Ron Kovic, turned anit-war spokesman. I felt that this was very moving. It showed the journey of a man who felt betrayed and worked to stop the one thing he always wanted to be in, War. This is a very inspirational story about a man and how hard he worked to get others to be anti-war. A theme in this book is Alienation. This is a theme because as Ron grows up he is loved by is whole community and everybody knows him and enjoys him. How
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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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