By Robyn Collins
Bruce Springsteen’s familiar gravelly voice narrates a foreword, that he wrote himself, to a new audiobook edition of Born on the Fourth of July, Ron Kovic’s anti–Vietnam War memoir which served as the basis for the Oscar-winning movie.
Kovic entered of the Vietnam War as a fierce, pro-war patriot before becoming an outspoken peace activist after an injury paralyzed him and he returned home to a cold reception as a veteran. His book tells his story.
In the foreward, Springsteen details how he discovered the book in 1978 and devoured it. Then, by happenstance, or not, he met Kovic.
Springsteen told Kovic that he had just read his book. Kovic brought Springsteen to a veterans’ center in Venice, California. The experience inspired Springsteen to hold a concert to benefit the Vietnam Veterans of America Foundation and the Mental Health Association in Los Angeles in August of 1981.
Springsteen would go on to dedicate songs to Kovic in concert, and credits him with inspiration for “Born in the U.S.A.” and “Shut Out the Light.” Kovic later spoke about Springsteen during the Kennedy Center Honors.
The audiobook comes out on July 4th and coincides with a 40th anniversary edition of the book, which also features Springsteen’s foreword and will be available on July 4th.
Kovic has also written a new book, Hurricane Street, that will be released on July 4th. Hurricane Street recounts how in 1974, the author and fellow injured veterans staged a sit-in and hunger strike to demand better treatment for vets.