Born on the Fourth of July
by Ron Kovic
Akashic’s new edition of Born on the Fourth of July is a timely indictment of why societies use soldiers and how they use them. Like the powerful works of Jack Kerouac, Louis-Ferdinand Céline, and Henry Miller, Ron Kovic’s story comes across as an explosive, lucid revelation about a life made low and miserable by war, mistreatment, and substance abuse.
A fast-paced and enlightening history, Born on the Fourth of July is a quick, personal study into the people’s history, á la Noam Chomsky or Howard Zinn. In a fairly experimental, even hallucinogenic style, Kovic varies the tempo and shifts the point of view of his autobiography to place the reader by his side in the dungeon-like atmosphere of a VA hospital and in the dizzying liberation of mass protests. The only drawback to this updated history is that none of the many relevant photographs which must surely exist are included in the book.