While serving as a Marine in the Vietnam War, Ron Kovic suffered a spinal cord injury that left him paralyzed from the chest down. Kovic’s book, Born on the Fourth of July, published 40 years ago, discusses his time on the battlefield as well as the fight after coming home to end the war and get better treatment for veterans.

In their conversation, Scheer and Kovic talk about the decades-long struggle to get his book made into an unflinching movie directed by Oliver Stone and starring Tom Cruise. In addition, Kovic delves into the 17-day hunger strike in which he and other veterans took part in 1974 that led to changes in care for veterans and which inspired his forthcoming book, Hurricane Street.

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