Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Johnny Got His Gun” as Want to Read:
Johnny Got His Gun
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Johnny Got His Gun

4.16  ·  Rating Details ·  26,664 Ratings  ·  1,731 Reviews
It was the war to end all wars, the global struggle that would finally make the world safe for democracy - at any cost. But one American soldier has paid a price beyond measure. And within the disfigured flesh that was once a vision of youth lives a spirit that cannot accept what the world has become.

An immediate bestseller upon its first publication in 1939, Trumbo's star
Paperback, 251 pages
Published July 30th 2009 by Penguin Classics (first published 1939)
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 Johnny Got His Gun, please sign up.

Popular Answered Questions

Stansherman No comparison...Johnny Got His Gun is the Bible of anti-war literature.

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Oct 23, 2007 Stephanie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone feeling sorry for themselves
I read this book during my lunch breaks at the cafe of Barnes & Noble in Chelsea, NYC. I think I finished it in five sittings, with great big tears rolling down my face. While everybody around me was busy quaffing scalding hot lattes, I was trying to muffle the sounds of my agonized weeping into my scarf. Luckily, this is not seen as strange behavior in Manhattan, so I was able to finish the book unmolested.

Johnny Got His Gun sounds like it was written during the early stages of the Vietnam
Bill  Kerwin
Jun 15, 2007 Bill Kerwin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

A scathing anti-war novel, in which the main character is one of the profoundly, hopelessly wounded, the human wrecks of war.

It is told in the first person, by the voice of a person now voiceless, trapped in his mutilated body, confined to his hospital bed, and--as this person virtually unable to communicate communicates with the reader, telling us his story--we come to realize the true cost--and futility--of war.

This is an angry, honest book. Thoroughly memorable.
Esteban del Mal
Feb 23, 2011 Esteban del Mal rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: novel, fiction, americana, war
What do you call a guy with no arms and no legs in the water?


What do you call a guy with no arms and no legs on a porch?


What do you call a guy with no arms and no legs on skis?


What do you call a novel about a guy who has no arms and no legs because he happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time?

Johnny Got His Gun.


This works best as a character sketch. As poor Jon Bonham's consciousness recalls the events of his childhood, he simultaneously realizes he has missing append
Mme. Bookling ~
Jun 13, 2007 Mme. Bookling ~ rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone with breath
Every time I read a book, I feel committed to it as if to a relationship. That relationship can be an infatuational fling, a carnal attraction, a passionate love, a committed best friend, a life partner...whatever form it takes will depend on how much I will remember it. Johnny Got His Gun got completely under my skin.

I was finishing the last page on an airplane and an 80 year old yoga teacher looked at me and quietly summed up this book. "I remember reading that. It blew my mind..." She had rea
I read this several years ago and I remember enjoying it. It was dark and frustrating - what would you do if trapped in your own body?

Also addresses the brutality of war as one on the outside might not understand.

What I thought of the most while reading it was the footage from the movie version that was used in the Metallica video for "One"

Lubinka Dimitrova
What a kick in the guts! As many have already pointed out, this should be a required reading for all those who sit in their nice sunny offices and send other people's kids to war...
I've discovered Trumbo very late, but fortunately not too late.
Nandakishore Varma
I simply have to read this book. It, including its author, has been cussed by Ann Coulter on her latest blog post. That is recommendation enough for me!
Oct 30, 2015 Nigeyb rated it really liked it
Unforgettable: one of the most original, clever and powerful novels I’ve ever read

Johnny Got His Gun was first published on 3 September 1939, two days after Germany invaded Poland, and is about a 20-year-old American infantryman Joe Bonham who suffers a direct hit from a German shell in the last days of the Great War. Unsurprisingly, its powerful anti-war message also had a profound effect on Americans during the Vietnam era.

Dalton Trumbo conveys this anti-war message across 20 short chapters, e
Apr 17, 2012 Mary rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Mary by: Mark
Shelves: fiction, 2013
Johnny rips its own heart out and throws it in your face. It's a nightmare. A freak show. It's claustrophobic and uncomfortable. It's so fucking necessary.
Nick Jonick
Sep 04, 2015 Nick Jonick rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites, usa, top10, 5-stars
Ενα βιβλιο πραγματική γροθιά στο στομάχι!
Ενας Αμερικανος στρατιώτης του Α' παγκοσμιου πολέμου μένει χωρις άκρα, φωνή, ακοή, όραση και όσφρηση. Οι γιατροί τον κρατούν ζωντανό σε ένα δωματιο ενώ αυτός αναπολεί στιγμές της ζωής του.
Ενας εξαιρετικός συγγραφεας, ο Ντάλτον Τράμπο, γραφει ένα βαθιά ανθρώπινο, αντιπολεμικό, υπαρξιακό μυθιστορημα.
Συγκλονιστικό, θα μου μείνει αξέχαστο.

Now the world is gone, I’m just one
Oh God, help me Hold my breath as I wish for
Μανώλης Σιμιτσάκης
Με αφορμή τη συμπλήρωση 40 ετών από τον θάνατο του συγγραφέα και τη βαθιά συγκίνηση που μου προσέφερε αυτό το βιβλίο, το βαθμολογώ ξανά και παραθέτω και ένα άρθρο που έγραψα για αυτό.

«Αγόρι μου, πάρε το όπλο σου και φάε αυτούς τους μπάσταρδους»

Όλα κρύβονται μέσα σε αυτήν την φράση, φίλε μου. Πονηρή κι ακέραια, ύπουλη και αμέτοχη σε έναν κόσμο που η ευθύνη της πράξεως εύκολα μεταβιβάζεται μέσω ρόλων που εξυπηρετεί ο καθένας μας. Και σήμερα φοράς τον ρόλο που πρέπει να πολεμήσεις για την πατρίδα
Apr 02, 2014 Pink rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Great novel, with a message I completely agree with. WAR IS BAD. It did get just a little tedious at times and I didn't think the flashbacks and digressions added anything. Otherwise it was all good. Apart from the war. War is bad.
Feb 10, 2008 Andy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Mel Bossa
Jun 27, 2017 Mel Bossa rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 0008-fiction
When I started reading this I thought it would be a cool little book written by a cool anti-war american screenwriter who liked to write in his bathtub with a drink and a cigar. It would be a bit macho, full of robust sentences and I'd be properly disgusted by all the bloody descriptions.

And I was wrong.

How can a man write a book whose narrator is a young guy with no arms, no legs, no face, blind and deaf and who is in and out of consciousness, never reliable, who spends his endless dark hours
Dec 06, 2015 Connie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Connie by: BYT group read
Author Dalton Trumbo was inspired by a newspaper story about a Canadian soldier in World War I who had lost all his limbs and all his senses except for the sense of touch. He created Joe Bonham, a soldier whose mind was still active, but who was unable to communicate with the outside world except for tapping his head. The story takes us inside Joe's head to his stream of consciousness thoughts, sometimes thinking about ideologies and often flashing back to the past. For example, his thoughts go ...more
Nov 21, 2008 Luciano rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Reading this book really makes you realize that war is real. It isn't the crisp uniforms of army officers, the fast, air force jets, or the big boom of navy guns that we see in commericals for the armed forces; images that paint a distorted picture of the reality of war.

War it dirty, dispairing, desperate, and destructive.

War is death.

Johnny Got His Gun is a book that shows another face of death. One that is mortally infinite. A death that you live, and can never escape.

It's a kind of death whe
Now that the war is through with me
I'm waking up, I cannot see
That there is not much left of me
Nothing is real but pain now

Hold my breath as I wish for death
Oh please, God, wake me


Imprisoning me
All that I see
Absolute horror
I cannot live
I cannot die
Trapped in myself
Body my holding cell

Has taken my sight
Taken my speech
Taken my hearing
Taken my arms
Taken my legs
Taken my soul
Left me with life in hell

The famous lyrics from Metallica's "One" from the perspective of Joe Bonham, wound
Jan 24, 2016 Krbo rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Sad mi je teško precizirati godinu čitanja jer sam čitao BIGZ-ovo izdanje iz 1973. no ne odmah kako je izašlo. Ta izdanja zvana "Fest" su odlične knjižice i trudio sam se sve ih pohvatati - jedino sam "Odiseju 2001" trenutno kupio čim je izašla.

Kako i naslov serije kaže to su knjige po kojima su filmovi snimljeni tako da su i one same bile zabavnije jer je bilo stranica sa scenama iz filma. Koliko se sjećam sve sam ja njih pročitao (Serpico, Konje ubijaju zar ne, Psi od slame, Vrt ...., Frenezij
Candice T
Feb 16, 2009 Candice T rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I finished this book in December of '07, Johnny Got his Gun, and it made me want to shoot myself in the face.
It is written in second person limited, which is annoying enough if not for the added limitation of narrating through a character with no eyes, nose, ears, mouth or limbs. Written primarily in stream-of-consciousness, I simply wanted to cut my eyes out so that I could at least fall asleep on my 5-hour flight. Johnny was supposed to be an anti-war novel, receiving a mountain of praise for
Jan 22, 2015 Francesco rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: preferiti
Il mio nome è mai più!

Superata l’iniziale perplessità generata dal disvelamento (graduale e, proprio per questo, più sconcertante) dell’immane sventura occorsa al protagonista, realizzata l’atrocità di una simile condizione e l’assurdità di un così cinico destino, si inizia a fraternizzare con l’io narrante/pensante, immedesimandosi con le sue sofferenze, con i suoi disagi, con la sua condizione angosciosa e straniante. Ciò grazie ad una narrazione cruda, efficace, esplicita che alterna descrizi

This novel is horrific. Johnny gets his own pack of shells during the war, result being losing parts of his body, huh wait most parts of his body. He loses his arms, legs, blind, deaf and dumb and everything else ,..except his life. But he can think alright, which was more than enough, because he thought like this,

“did anybody ever come back from the dead any single one of the millions who got killed did any one of them ever come back and say by god i'm glad i'm dead because death is al
BAM The Bibliomaniac
I don't agree with the main sentiment in this book. There IS nobility in death, in dying for principles, for those who are weaker.

Having said that, I was still moved by the frustration and disability of the main character. His strong desire to live and his poignant acceptance of loss were communicated not only literally but also figuratively through his flashbacks to happier times in his life, to the terms before the war and his body's destruction.

The author takes a passive stance toward battle
May 12, 2010 James rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I am profoundly grateful that my failure of imagination spared me from the full harrowing horror of this story, an act of merciful self protection. The main character wakes up in a hospital and begins to slowly understand the hideous nature of his wounds. utterly isolated he seeks to make sense of his life and undertake increasingly desperate measures to interact with his world. Starting this book I knew via a Metallica video (thank you MTV) that it was an anti war novel. What surprised me was t ...more
Sep 29, 2012 Ed rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: contemporary fiction fans
Recommended to Ed by: reader comment from my blog
Spoiler alert. Or so I've been told there's one.

This well-known anti-war novel came up as a reader comment on one of my Goodreads blog posts, and piqued my curiosity enough to check it out from our local public library. I knew the author Dalton Trumbo had been blacklisted in the 1950s for his alleged Communinist sympathies. He wrote Johnny Got His Gun (taken from a song lyric from the period) in 1939, and it nailed the National Book Award. Joe Bonham is a twenty-two-year old American doughboy r
I saw the movie a few years back and I never really got over it. I have nothing to say about the book. Just read it, teach it, preach it, worship it, do something with it. It's one of those that should by no means be lost in oblivion. When there are no more people reading it, this world will be a really bad place. You don't believe me? Look around you...
7 stars.
Oct 28, 2016 Basia rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
What does one write about a book that inspired the famous Metallica band to write a song about it?! Without question, this is going into my "Fave Books of All Time" pile.
A glimpse into the brain of a war survivor who lost all but his torso, written in a stream-of-consciousness style that goes so well with what such a man might have racing through his mind. And this is done so expertly that it took no extra effort on my part to read this unusual style of writing. Genius.
It reminded me of The Ju
Ahmad Sharabiani
Johnny Got His Gun,Dalton Trumbo (1905 - 1976)
عنوان: تفنگت را زمین بگذار؛ نوشته: دالتون ترامبو؛ ترجمه: شاهپور سخی؛ مشخصات نشر: تهران، نشر تیسا، 1392، در 241 ص، شابک: 9786006662169؛ ، داستانهای نویسندگان آمریکایی قرن 20 م
رمان «تفنگت را زمین بگذار»، کتابی سرشار از حوادث تلخ و دردناک است و نویسنده کوشیده جنگ جهانی دوم را همانطور که بوده و بدون ملاحظه روایت کند. رمان «تفنگت را زمین بگذار» اثر دالتون ترامبو در سال ۱۹۳۹ میلادی، ۱۰ روز پس از اتحاد نازیهای آلمان و اتحاد جماهیر شوروی، و دو روز پس از آغاز
Sep 05, 2015 Hannah rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sad
I've never had a book give me a panic attack before, but this one.... This one is disturbingly thorough in its purpose. It made me feel claustrophobic, alone, and dark. It kept me awake at night.

This book is timeless. It doesn't matter what war, what era, or what the skewed justifications offered may be. The result is the same. The result is Joe.

Dalton Trumbo has a writing style akin to Kerouac. The stream of consciousness prose is perfect for the experiences taking place. It helps to create t
❤Marie Gentilcore
I’m glad I read this even though I couldn’t wait to be done with it. I didn’t really enjoy the story as I thought it was too depressing and a bit unbelievable but the writing is filled with passion and emotion and Joe is a character I won’t forget so I will round it up to 3 stars. However, I won’t be watching the movie adaptation as I think it would probably be even more depressing than the book. I had high hopes for this book especially after reading the foreword, 1990 introduction, and 1959 in ...more
Patrizia O
Feb 09, 2013 Patrizia O rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: narrativa-usa, ww1
La prima guerra mondiale cominciò come una festa d'estate, tutta gonne al vento e spalline dorate. Milioni e milioni di persone sventolavano i fazzoletti dal marciapiede mentre le piumate altezze imperiali, le serenità, i feldmarescialli e altri idioti del genere sfilavano per le strade delle principali città d'Europa alla testa dei loro scintillanti battaglioni. (Dalton Trumbo, introduzione a E Johnny prese il fucile)

Joe Bonham, un ragazzo come tanti altri, parte per la guerra: lascia un lavor
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Who has read this and what did you think? 71 341 Feb 16, 2016 08:46PM  
Bright Young Things: January 2016- Johnny Got His Gun by Dalton Trumbo 118 31 Feb 01, 2016 08:32PM  
2015 Reading Chal...: Johnny Got His Gun By Dalton Trumbo 2 15 May 31, 2015 03:38PM  
Help me find these books (solved) 6 56 Jun 25, 2013 12:15PM  
La Stamberga dei ...: E Johnny prese il fucile di Dalton Trumbo 1 6 Feb 24, 2013 08:31AM  
Goodreads Italia: E Johnny prese il fucile 52 64 Feb 19, 2013 06:22AM  
  • Senseless
  • Selected Essays from: How to be Alone
  • Waiting in the Throes
  • Feng Yu Jiu Tian (Novel)
  • Dead to the World (Water Lovers of Sirilon #3)
  • Kraken
  • Falling Angels
  • Buried
  • Angel (Angel, #1)
  • Hell and Beyond (Broken, #2)
  • The Turner Diaries
  • Mygale
  • Playing with Food
  • Exit Strategy (Exit, #1)
  • 跪いて靴にキスを [Hizamazuite Kutsu ni Kiss wo] [Kneel Down and Kiss my Boots] (星の館 [Hoshi no Yakata], #1)
  • Father Figure
  • Want Me
  • Twice-Caught (Tarin's World, #2)
Dalton Trumbo worked as a cub reporter for the Grand Junction Daily Sentinel, covering courts, the high school, the mortuary and civic organizations. He attended the University of Colorado for two years working as a reporter for the Boulder Daily Camera and contributing to the campus humor magazine, the yearbook and the campus newspaper. He got his start working for Vogue magazine. His first publi ...more
More about Dalton Trumbo...

Share This Book

“did anybody ever come back from the dead any single one of the millions who got killed did any one of them ever come back and say by god i'm glad i'm dead because death is always better than dishonor? did they say i'm glad i died to make the world safe for democracy? did they say i like death better than losing liberty? did any of them ever say it's good to think i got my guts blown out for the honor of my country? did any of them ever say look at me i'm dead but i died for decency and that's better than being alive? did any of them ever say here i am i've been rotting for two years in a foreign grave but it's wonderful to die for your native land? did any of them say hurray i died for womanhood and i'm happy see how i sing even though my mouth is choked with worms?” 77 likes
“Of course a lot of guys were ashamed. Somebody said let's go out and fight for liberty and so they went out and got killed without ever once thinking of liberty. And what kind of liberty were they fighting for anyway? How much liberty and whose kind of liberty? Were they fighting for the liberty of eating free ice cream cones all their lives or for the liberty of robbing anybody they pleased whenever they wanted to or what? You tell a man he can't rob and you take away some of his liberty. You've got to. What the hell does liberty mean anyhow? It's a word like house or table or any other word. Only it's a special kind of word. A guy says house and he can point to a house to prove it. But a guy says come on let's fight for liberty and he can't show you liberty. He can't prove the thing he's talking about so how in the hell can he be telling you to fight for it? No sir anybody who went out and got into the front line trenches to fight for liberty was a goddamn fool and the guy who got him there was a liar.” 70 likes
More quotes…