Description of Johnny Got a Gun Essay (Book Review)

March 19, 2022 by Essay Writer

Updated: Nov 11th, 2019

Johnny Got a gun is a captivating anti-war book which is politically motivated and takes the role of educating the society on the adverse effects of war on human beings and the whole society. The book written by a U.S citizen, Dalton Trumbo in 1937 and was published by J.B Lippincott company on January 1st, 1939.

It is a hardcover book with a print media format and it is available in both hardcover and paperback book covers. The 309 page book was then filmed and produced in 1971. Dalton Trumbo was born in 1905 in Montrose, Colorado. He was the son to Maud and Orus Bonham Trumbo. Not much is said about Trumbo but his book Johnny Got a Gun is set from practical life experiences that feces the society at the time of his childhood.

In the anticipation for the world war I, the Americans foresaw its coming and some could see the devastating state that came with wars. In an attempt to evade it, the citizens elect President Woodrow Wilson hoping that he could help protect America from participating the World War I (Center of Military, 1919).

Just as any other president would have done, Woodrow supported the war without thinking of its repercussions. From the story, Joe accuses the Government leaders of false claims of propelling their countries to greater economic democracy or security without knowledge on how wars are injurious.

In this book, Trumbo unfolds the painful story on the effects of the World War I. It garnered the National Book Awards in 1940 as the best American bookseller. The book resurfaces as one of a kind book which scripted as a leading protest novel after the Vietnam War.

It is drafted using Joe Bonham portrayed as a helpless using a maimed soldier who looses both his hands, legs and the head is defaced (Trumbo, 2010, p. 100). Thought then begin flowing through his mind as he questions why he had to survive in such a state. He is determined to reestablish his contact with the outside world to be an evidence of effects of war and to talk to the leader about the value of peaceful coexistence and value for human life.

Description of Storm of Steel

Storm of Steel is a book authored by a German Ernst Junger and it is the best newspaper journals he made during his time as a soldier in the World War I. It is a memoir is great astonishing savagery of power and ashen lyricism that reveals the horrors and fascinations of the World Wars (Sheehan, 1989, p.32). Storms of Steel sets off with the deployment of Junger into the battle field in 1915 and ends when he sustains severe injuries in 1918 and this also marks the end of his career as a soldier.

Prior to being first published in 1920, Storms of Steel was revised several times before the actual date of its publication. The book is less personal and devoid of Junger’s personal life but it spans a series of experiences written in a chronological order, in an unattached, unemotional and with a repetitive style. Compared to other books motivated by the world war, the book takes a different look at war and Junger appears to be glorifying the war. He then excuses this as a novel of praise and for heroic masculinity.

Ernst Junger was born in 1895 in Heidelberg, Germany but was then moved to Hanover where he was raised. In 1914, he volunteered into the army and was deployed in France for the war in 1915. He was a brave fighter among the major battles he fought. By 1918, he was incorporated into a stronger storm trooper army which was a new type of army meant to infiltrate into the enemies hiding zones.

By the end of the war, Junger was promoted to lieutenant and received many major medals at the age of 23 years. He was shot by a bullet and was badly injured on the chest in 1918 and this marked the end of his career just some months before the end of the war.

The book produced was fashioned by the penguin classics producers with 320 pages available in both hardcover and paperback cover. It is categorized as a military and European history during the First World War (Ellis, 2007, p.65).

Analyzing the books as history (Book review)

In our preview of the two books we begin with the critical analysis of the Storm of Steel where Junger, a Germany author and veteran bases his story on a journal entry he wrote during his time as a soldier in the German army.

Originally his work is structured and based on descriptive essay or novel which employs repetition as a style. From the readers point of view we observe that the author is more into describing historical events of which he is part. This makes the novel repetitive as the same activities such as attacks and counter attacks keep reoccurring over and over again.

Junger uses first person narration of the story where he creates a practical story about his experience during the two World Wars. The novel features no main characters, Junger takes the centre stage in explaining events of his time. The book therefore retains much of its form and originality as a journal article and not as a book because it features realistic and chronological events devoid of symbolism, imagery, sarcasm or irony which are common styles used in the scripting of novels and other pieces of literature to make them captivating.

It is in the Storm of Steel that the author uses realistic and straightforward style to give account of his story where he preserves his values as a literary figure. He further detaches himself from the story he narrates by not giving opinioned view of events presenting them as blunt points awaiting the reader’s interpretation. We all see that the book is written at a time of war but it is expressed with a lot of simplicity by Junger’s description of pertinent events as a period of political romanticism marked with a pessimistic view of history.

Junger further describes the deterioration of the human conditions caused by the war as the measure of a countries muscle power. As it is clearly illustrated we find this piece of literature so unique with many unexpected twists and turns in events.

After the preview of the Storm of Steel, we contrast it with Trumbo’s got a gun basing our arguments on the styles used, the themes and the chronology of events during the times of war. Being that the two books have the same political set up and terror filled background, we get the style used by Trumbo to be very contrasting with Junger’s.

Johnny Got a Gun is an anti–war novel expressing events of oppression and protests against the organization and involvement of countries in the modern warfare. The author reveals the emergence of an upper class in society who entices the poor into war while they seize the opportunity to amass wealth. He describes the moneyed class as being mindful of themselves and ignoring those who go out to fight for what they call democracy.

Comparison of two books

The two books are a clear contrast of each other. Looking at their theme exposition, the style and the number of characters the books are different. Trumbo brings to light the unequal bargains brought about by the World Wars and wishes that the world should remain a better place after every one and this is only possible when peace is given priority.

The author conveys Joe as a maimed soldier willing to be taken around the world as an evidence of the bad effects of war on human. On the contrast Junger does not lay emphasis on the adverse effects of modern war on human live. He shows contention for everything that life offers and has no time for complain.

The two books also employ different use of characterization. Johnny Got a Gun uses many characters to represent the many view and opinions that are faced in real life while the horrible experiences and consequences of the modern war are symbolized by Joe deformed and amputated body. On the contrast, the Storm of Steel which has the author taking the role of the main character to unveil the story while completely detaching it from emotions and criticism of the effects of modern war.

Looking at the two books from their performance on the market, Johnny Got the Gun has won awards for instance the American Bestsellers Awards while the Storm of Steel only exposed Junger into the limelight as a good writer. Trumbo was naturally a writer and took to writing as a way of earning a living while Junger is a German soldier who ventures into writing of journals one of which he modifies to become a novel.


Center of Military. (1919). History of the United States Army in the World War. U.S. Army: Washington, D.C.

Ellis, E. (2007). Prentice Hall world history. Toronto: Prentice Hall publishers.

Sheehan, J. (1989). German history. Clarendon: Oxford publisher.

Trumbo, D. (2010). Komma: after Dalton Trumbo’s Johnny got his gun. Illinois: Fillip Editions publishers.

This book review on Description of Johnny Got a Gun was written and submitted by your fellow student. You are free to use it for research and reference purposes in order to write your own paper; however, you must cite it accordingly.

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