This was no ordinary war. 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…but so is war.
Johnny Got His Gun holds a place as one of the classic antiwar novels. First published in 1939, Dalton Trumbo’s story of a young American soldier terribly maimed in World War I – he “survives” armless, legless, and faceless, but with his mind intact – was an immediate best seller. This fiercely moving novel was a rallying point for many Americans who came of age during World War II, and it became perhaps the most popular novel of protest during the Vietnam era.