'Johnny Got His Gun' by Dalton Trumbo
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Johnny Got His Gun
By Dalton Trumbo

Trumbo's novel about a wounded soldier is a very powerful antiwar statement. Ironically, it's set in the war to end all wars, World War I, and I read it while the United States was in Vietnam. When I was a boy, war was romanticized: Nobody really important got hurt, and the good guys always won. The movies and the books were all John Wayne! Gung ho! Let's go to war! At first you don't realize the situation the soldier is in—that he's lying in a hospital bed. The book was an eye-opener, and I've always encouraged teenagers to read it.

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