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Johnny Got His Gun takes a harrowing look inside the mind of a World War I draftee who is lying helpless without arms, legs, mouth, ears, nose, or eyes, yet over the course of years is determined to reestablish contact with the outside world and tell "little guys" never to allow bellicose politicians to butcher them again. World War I draftee Joe Bonham is lying in a hospital, bandaged all over and realizing he is at least deaf and has lost both arms. The discovery process is slow, as he weaves in and out of consciousness, remembering the family and girlfriend he reluctantly leaves behind. Bonham knows he has not come to make the world safe for democracy. He remembers saying farewell to beautiful nineteen-year-old Kareen Birkman after making love with her the night before the troop train arrives. She begs him not to report. Their farewell takes place against a mish-mash of patriotic songs, speeches, and prayers, by which point the lovers have no time for prayer.
Joe Bonham, a young American soldier serving in World War I, awakens in a hospital bed after being caught in the blast of an exploding artillery shell. He gradually realizes that he has lost his arms, legs, and all of his face including his eyes, ears, teeth, and tongue , but that his mind functions perfectly, leaving him a prisoner in his own body. Joe attempts suicide by suffocation, but finds that he had been given a tracheotomy which he can neither remove nor control. At first Joe wishes to die, but later decides that he desires to be placed in a glass box and toured around the country in order to show others the true horrors of war. Joe successfully communicates these desires with military officials by banging his head on his pillow in Morse code. However, he realizes that the military will not grant his wishes, as it is "against regulations". It is implied that he will live the rest of his natural life in his condition.
romantic wars; and Johnny Got His Gun was probably the last American novel written about it book that shouldn't be reprinted until the war was at an end.
ft books of the year
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Mar 01, ISBN Trumbo sets this story down almost without pause or punctuation and with a fury accounting to eloquence. 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.