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A Dangerous Country: An American Elegy


Ron Kovic, author of Born on the Fourth of July and one of the country’s most powerful and passionate antiwar voices, completes his Vietnam Trilogy with this poignant, inspiring, and deeply personal elegy to America

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Forthcoming: 2/6/24

$27.95 $20.96

What people are saying…


“Classic and timeless.”
New York Times on Born on the Fourth of July

“One of the most powerful [books] I’ve ever read.”
—Bruce Springsteen

“Ron Kovic’s memoir is a classic of antiwar literature.”
—Howard Zinn, author of A People’s History of the United States

“As relevant as ever, this book is an education. Ron is a true American, and his great heart and hard-won wisdom shine through these pages.”
—Oliver Stone, filmmaker

“A great courageous fellow, a man of deep moral convictions and an uncompromising disposition.”
—Secretary of State John Kerry

“Ron Kovic is one of the premier voices of a generation. The large irony of his birthday provides the background for a journey which begins with the unquestioning service in Vietnam, his terrible wounding with all the anger and ] bitterness that follows, and ends with his passionate discovery of a large and all too human heart. I’ll say this flat out: If you want to understand the everlasting reverberations of our war in Vietnam and how it impacts our current events, you must read this book.”
—Larry Heinemann, author of Paco’s Story, winner of the National Book Award

“The most personal and honest testament published thus far by any young man who fought in the Vietnam War. . . And what is so remarkable about Kovic’s writing is that whereas one is perfectly prepared to forgive him occasional lapses into bitterness, self-pity or excesses of rage, he retains the most extraordinary self-control throughout. He very patiently, meticulously, unselfconsciously defines the sort of background he came from . . . Only by understanding Kovic’s working class credentials can one begin to comprehend the depth of betrayal he has every right to feel.”
New York Times (Editors’ Choice)


“Hurricane Street is an unflinching antiwar declaration, written in blood and the sweat of too many haunted nights by a Vietnam Marine Corps sergeant who later opposed the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.”
Los Angeles Times

“In Hurricane Street, Kovic offers a deeply moving account of the struggle of Vietnam veterans to hold politicians accountable to the maimed warriors they sent into harm’s way and then abandoned.”
—Robert Scheer, author of Playing President

“The author of Born on the Fourth of July (1976) recounts the brief 1974 movement he initiated to change how Veterans Affairs hospitals cared for wounded soldiers . . . The great strength of this book is that the author never minces words. With devastating candor, he memorializes a short-lived but important movement and the men who made it happen. Sobering reflections on past treatment of America’s injured war veterans.”
Kirkus Reviews


WHEN EIGHTEEN-YEAR-OLD RON KOVIC enlisted in the United States Marine Corps in the fall of 1964, he couldn’t foresee that he would return from Vietnam paralyzed and in a wheelchair for life. His best-selling 1976 memoir Born on the Fourth of July is an antiwar classic and was adapted into an Oscar-winning film starring Tom Cruise as Kovic. His follow-up, Hurricane Street, chronicled his advocacy for Vietnam veterans’ rights, including a seventeen-day hunger strike in the office of the late California senator Alan Cranston. 

A Dangerous Country: An American Elegy completes Kovic’s Vietnam Trilogy, delving deep into his long and often agonizing journey home from war—his physical, sexual, and psychological struggles; his bitterness, loss of faith in God and country, and eventual healing, forgiveness, and spiritual redemption. 

The book opens with Kovic’s never-before-revealed Vietnam diary (July 7, 1967–July 26, 1968). Deeply troubled by the growing antiwar movement in 1967, Kovic decided to set his own example of patriotism by returning to Vietnam for a second tour of duty. His entries from this period portray a patriotic young soldier with a strong moral and religious conscience, unburdened by the foreknowledge of the terrible events to come. The diary ends in Kovic’s bedroom in Massapequa, New York, in the summer of 1968. Now confined to a wheelchair after his horrific injury, he makes a final entry, ending with the words, “May I say that through these 6 months I’ve never lost faith in myself, my God, or my country. I believe in everything I wrote in this diary with all my heart and soul.”

In Part II, Kovic recalls his political awakening after his return from Vietnam, as well as the tremendous guilt and shame he feels over his accidental killing of a fellow Marine while on patrol. This killing psychologically torments him as much as his severe disability. Kovic experiences numerous failed romantic and sexual entanglements, along with a growing skepticism, a loss of faith in God and country, and a desire to expatriate to France. Struggling to leave the war behind and find his way home, he becomes severely depressed. 

On the brink of suicide, Kovic experiences a powerful epiphany that gives him a reason and purpose to live; a renewed faith and strength to carry on. Kovic tells his story in the passionate and brutally honest style that led to over one million sales of Born on the Fourth of July. Although his trauma is severe, his third memoir is ultimately the inspirational story of a young man finding a way to rise above his depression and despair, forgiving his enemies and himself, and growing deeply committed to a new life.

Book Details

  • Hardcover: 280 pages
  • Published: 2/6/24
  • IBSN: 9781636141138
  • e-IBSN: 9781636141473


RON KOVIC served two tours of duty during the Vietnam War. He was paralyzed from his chest down in combat in 1968 and has been in a wheelchair ever since. Along with Oliver Stone, Kovic was the coscreenwriter of the 1989 Academy Award–winning film based on Kovic’s best-selling memoir Born on the Fourth of July (starring Tom Cruise as Kovic). Hurricane Street (2016) detailed Kovic’s efforts to organize the American Veterans Movement in 1974, fighting for better treatment of injured and disabled veterans. His latest work is the forthcoming A Dangerous Country.

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