Slaughterhouse-Five - Kurt Vonnegut - NEW Novel
Slaughterhouse-Five, or The Children's Crusade: A Duty-Dance With Death (1969), by Kurt Vonnegut, is a post-modern anti-war science fiction novel dealing with a soldier's (Billy Pilgrim) experiences during World War II and his journeys with time travel. It is easily his most popular work and widely regarded as a classic.
Slaughterhous-Five is one of the world's great anti-war books. Centering on the infamous fire-bombing of Dresden, Billy Pilgrim's odyssey through time reflects the mythic journey of our own fractured lives as we search for meaning in what we are afraid to know.
Unstuck in time, Billy Pilgrim, Vonnegut's shattered survivor of the Dresden bombing, relives his life over and over again under the gaze of aliens; he comes at last to some understanding of the human comedy. The novel follows Pilgrim through all phases of his life, concentrating on his experience as an American prisoner of war who witnesses the firebombing of Dresden. The basis of George Roy's great 1972 film and perhaps the signature student's novel in the 1960's embracing protest and the absurdity of war.
About this Book
Kurt Vonnegut's absurdist classic "Slaughterhouse-Five introduces us to Billy Pilgrim, a man who becomes 'unstuck in time' after he is abducted by aliens from the planet Tralfamadore. In a plot-scrambling display of virtuosity, we follow Pilgrim simultaneously through all phases of his life, concentrating on his (and Vonnegut's) shattering experience as an American prisoner of war who witnesses the firebombing of Dresden.
"Slaughterhouse-Five is not only Vonnegut's most powerful book, it is also as important as any written since 1945. Like "Catch-22, it fashions the author's experiences in the Second World War into an eloquent and deeply funny plea against butchery in the service of authority. "Slaughterhouse-Five boasts the same imagination, humanity, and gleeful appreciation of the absurd found in Vonnegut's other works, but the book's basis in rock-hard, tragic fact gives it unique poignancy — and humor.
Kurt Vonnegut was a POW held in Dresden in 1945 when the city was attacked by American bombers and virtually obliterated, leaving more than 130,000 people dead. He uses that event as the climax of this satirical and horrifying anti-war novel, in which a young man named Billy Pilgrim experiences much of what Vonnegut himself saw during the war. Unlike his creator however, Pilgrim has become, "unstuck in time" following his abduction by aliens thus affording him the opportunity to travel freely across time, visiting different periods in his life in an attempt to sort out his complicated history. SLAUGHTERHOUSE-FIVE was a best-seller when it was first published in 1969, and brought Vonnegut to prominence as a major voice in American fiction.
About the Author
Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. (November 11, 1922 – April 11, 2007) was a prolific and genre-bending American author. The novelist known for works blending satire, black comedy and science fiction, such as Slaughterhouse-Five (1969), Cat's Cradle (1963), and Breakfast of Champions (1973). He is also known for his humanist beliefs and being honorary president of the American Humanist Association.
He was born to fourth-generation German-American parents (Kurt Vonnegut, Sr., and Edith née Lieber), son and grandson in the Indianapolis firm Vonnegut & Bohn. where he served as assistant managing editor and associate editor for the student newspaper, the Cornell Daily Sun, and majored in Chemistry.While attending Cornell, he was a member of the Delta Upsilon Fraternity, following in the footsteps of his father. While at Cornell, Vonnegut enlisted into the U.S. Army. The army sent him to the Carnegie Institute of Technology (now Carnegie Mellon University) and the University of Tennessee to study mechanical engineering. On May 14, 1944, Mothers' Day, his mother committed suicide.
Kurt Vonnegut's experience as a soldier and prisoner of war had a profound influence on his later work. As a private with the 106th Infantry Division, Vonnegut was cut off from his battalion along with five other battalion scouts who wandered behind enemy lines for several days until captured by Wehrmacht troops on December 14, 1944. Imprisoned in Dresden, Vonnegut witnessed the fire bombing of Dresden in February 1945, which destroyed most of the city. Vonnegut was one of a few American prisoners of war in Dresden to survive, in their cell in an underground meatlocker of a slaughterhouse that had been converted to a prison camp. The administration building had the postal address Schlachthof Fünf (Slaughterhouse Five) which the prisoners took to using as the name for the whole camp.
Vonnegut recalled the facility as "Utter destruction", "carnage unfathomable." The Germans put him to work gathering bodies for mass burial. "But there were too many corpses to bury. So instead the Nazis sent in troops with flamethrowers. All these civilians' remains were burned to ashes." This experience formed the core of one of his most famous works, Slaughterhouse-Five, and is a theme in at least six other books.
Vonnegut was freed by Red Army troops in May 1945. Upon returning to America, he was awarded a Purple Heart for what he called a "ludicrously negligible wound," later writing in Timequake that he was given the decoration after suffering a case of "frostbite".
After the war, Vonnegut attended the University of Chicago as a graduate student in Anthropology and also worked as a police reporter at the City News Bureau of Chicago. According to Vonnegut in Bagombo Snuff Box, the university rejected his first thesis on the necessity of accounting for the similarities between Cubist painters and the leaders of late 19th Century Native American uprisings, saying it was "unprofessional." He left Chicago to work in Schenectady, New York, in public relations for General Electric. The University of Chicago later accepted his novel Cat's Cradle as his thesis, citing its anthropological content and awarded him the M.A. degree in 1971.
On the verge of abandoning writing, Vonnegut was offered a teaching job at the University of Iowa Writers' Workshop. While he was there, Cat's Cradle became a best-seller, and he began Slaughterhouse-Five, now considered one of the best American novels of the 20th Century, appearing on the 100 best lists of Time magazine and the Modern Library.
Early in his adult life, he moved to Barnstable, Massachusetts, a town on Cape Cod where he managed the first SAAB dealership established in the U.S.
Vonnegut died on April 11, 2007 in Manhattan, following a fall at his Manhattan home several weeks earlier which resulted in irreversible brain injuries. He was 84 years old at the time of his death. Coincidentally, Kurt Vonnegut wrote, in the prologue of Breakfast of Champions that his alter-ego, Kilgore Trout, would die at the age of 84.
Vonnegut is a master of contemporary American literature. He is the author of eighteen highly acclaimed books -–including Slaughterhouse-Five and Happy Birthday, Wanda June – and dozens of short stories and essays. His sense of humor and incomparable imagination first captured America’s attention in The Sirens of Titan in 1959 and established him as “a true artist” (according to The New York Times) with Cat’s Cradle in 1963. He is, as Graham Greene has declared, “one of the best living American writers.” “The Kid Nobody Could Handle” (1955) and “Who Am I This Time?” (1961) are included in Welcome to the Monkey House, a volume of Kurt Vonnegut’s shorter works.
Kurt Vonnegut was forever established in the literary pantheon and on the school syllabus with the publication of his brilliant antiwar novel
Slaughterhouse-Five - Kurt Vonnegut - NEW Novel
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