Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Born on the Fourth of July” as Want to Read:
Born on the Fourth of July
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Born on the Fourth of July

3.81 of 5 stars 3.81  ·  rating details  ·  2,633 ratings  ·  111 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)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Born on the Fourth of July, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Born on the Fourth of July

The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. SalingerGo Ask Alice by Beatrice SparksBrave New World by Aldous HuxleyHelter Skelter by Vincent BugliosiThe Day the Music Died by Ed Gorman
Book and Theme from Song Title or Lyrics
16th out of 218 books — 38 voters
We Were Soldiers Once... and Young by Harold G. MooreAbsolutely Nothing by Mark A. CooperA Rumor Of War by Philip CaputoA Bright Shining Lie by Neil SheehanDispatches by Michael Herr
Vietnam War Books
18th out of 101 books — 76 voters

More lists with this book...

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details

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
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
Chris Stephan
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
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
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
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
Cαiтℓуn ~Burning on forever~
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
Aaron Martz
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

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.

Carol Rizzardi
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
awesome, i never saw the movie. long story short, war is bad usa lies
Jan 19, 2015 JolijnBs rated it 4 of 5 stars
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
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
This is a well-written book that speaks the truth about what happened to soldiers both in Vietnam and when they arrived back in the United States. Because Kovic was treated with such contempt at home, he turned into a cynic. He became a public speaker for Vietnam Veterans Against the War as well. Kovic's story is told in various flashbacks, including stories about his psychological journey and his frustration in being unable to walk. A must read for anyone who loves history!
I read this book because it was an assigned reading for my English class. It however changed my perspective of the Vietnam war. I had no idea what it was actually liked and always ignored my teachers when they briefly went over the subject in class. I loved this book and how he got his message apart. Normally I don't even bother reading some of the books for my class but this one spoke out to me, I had decided to give it a chance and I am glad I did.
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
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 99 100 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Blog #4 1 4 Oct 17, 2011 12:37PM  
Blog 3 1 2 Sep 29, 2011 03:51AM  
Blog #2 1 2 Sep 19, 2011 12:30PM  
  • Home Before Morning
  • Alistair Cooke's America
  • Dear America: Letters Home from Vietnam
  • The World Must Know: The History Of The Holocaust As Told In The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
  • Four Hours in My Lai
  • The Friendly Shakespeare: A Thoroughly Painless Guide to the Best of the Bard
  • And a Hard Rain Fell
  • 365 Days
  • Bloods: An Oral History of the Vietnam War by Black Veterans
  • The Protest Singer: An Intimate Portrait of Pete Seeger
  • This Little Light of Mine: The Life of Fannie Lou Hamer
  • When Hell Was in Session
  • The Learning Tree
  • Days of Grace: A Memoir
  • Hero Found: The Greatest POW Escape of the Vietnam War
  • Everything We Had: An Oral History of the Vietnam War
  • Eyes on the Prize: America's Civil Rights Years, 1954-1965
  • GIMP: When Life Deals You a Crappy Hand, You Can Fold -or You Can Play
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...
Around the World in Eight Days Johnny Got His Gun The Portable Sixties Reader Across The Pond

Share This Book

“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
“rights reserved under International and Pan-American Copyright Conventions. By payment of the required fees, you have been granted the non-exclusive, non-transferable right to access and read the text of this ebook onscreen. No part of this text may be reproduced, transmitted, downloaded,” 0 likes
More quotes…