Saturday, 25 August 2012

johnny got his gun - dalton trumbo (1939)

A bit of an American classic this one, and well worthy of it's reputation.  Johnny Got His Gun tells the fictional story of Joe Bonham, who wakes up after being involved in an explosion while fighting in the First World War, only to slowly realise that he has had his limbs amputated, and also lost his sight, speech and hearing.  There is some great free flowing and hallucinatory writing from Dalton Trumbo, mixing thoughts and memories together, as our hero struggles to cope with his isolation and despair.  It's moving, emotional and political, and certainly anti war, and the joyous moments after Johnny realises he can be understood through morse code, up to the denial of his requests are some of the best passages l have ever read.  Trumbo was blacklisted and wrote under other names, and is probably best known for the screenplay to 'Spartacus', but this book has to be his crowning glory, and should be compulsory reading for schoolchildren.  Fantastic stuff.

toodle pip

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