Bruce Springsteen has written and read his own foreword to a new audiobook edition of Born on the Fourth of July, Ron Kovic’s gripping anti–Vietnam War memoir which served as the basis for the Oscar-winning movie of the same name.
The book details Kovic’s entering 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.
In the foreword, streaming below, Springsteen details how he discovered the book in 1978 – two years after its original publication – and devoured it. Then, by coincidence, he met and befriended Kovic who 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 1981.
Springsteen would later dedicate songs to Kovic in concert, and he drew inspiration from the author’s stories for “Born in the U.S.A.” and “Shut Out the Light.” Kovic later spoke about Springsteen during the Kennedy Center Honors.
The audiobook, which comes out on July 4th and is available for preorder via Audible, also features the narration of voice actor Holter Graham. A 20-minute sample of Graham reading the book’s first chapter is also streaming below.
The audio edition coincides with a 40th anniversary edition of the book, which also features Springsteen’s foreword and will be available on July 4th. That book additionally Kovic’s 2005 introduction and a discussion guide.
Kovic has also penned a new book, Hurricane Street, that will be released on July 4th. The new book recounts how in 1974, the author and other injured veterans staged a sit-in and hunger strike to demand better treatment for vets.