Litkicks Message Board Archive

Johnny Got His Gun -- Dalton Trumbo

Posted to WritersAndGenres

Hey, Levi,

Johnny Got His Gun was (as I recall) the anti-war book that swept the high schools and colleges.

It was written in 1939, won the first National Book Award [called the American Book Sellers Award]. Btw, the award was in hyatus from 1941-1949 until it was revived by Publishers Weekly, so the awards won by Johnny Got His Gun and, in 1940, How Green Was My Valley are neglected -- or intentionally omitted.

After World War II started, the pacifist book was pulled from the shelves, only to appear again in 1959. It was a huge hit as the Vietnam War heated up and demonstrations against the war increased. I think that even today you see a hand in a peace sign on the cover of the paperback. Hmmm. Well, let me see: Here's the webpage at Amazon. Yep; a peacesign is flashing at ya.

Trumbo was one of the Hollywood Ten and there were accusations that Trumbo was instructed to write the book by Moscow. So, the book has a colorful history, to say the least. While the book was written in the late 30s, it came into its own only in the 60s and 70s.

Here's a bibliograpy for Dr. Seuss. I was in kindergarten when "Green Eggs and Ham" and "One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish" came out. And they changed my life. I've loved 'weird' ever since.

Btw, I found webpages online that provide the bestsellers during The Twentieth Century: Of course, of particular interest are the 1960s and 1970s for your purposes. Here they all are:

1900s, 1910s, 1920s, 1930s, 1940s, 1950s, 1960s, 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s.

Perhaps I am mistaken about how big a deal "Student as Nigger" was. I'll check with my middle-boomer-aged colleages and see if they ever heard of it. But, yeah, Strawberry Statement was definately big.

-- Sharik