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Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut

Slaughterhouse-Five (original 1969; edition 1999)

by Kurt Vonnegut

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32,89850222 (4.12)1 / 826
Authors:Kurt Vonnegut
Info:Dial Press Trade Paperback (1999), Paperback, 288 pages
Collections:Your library

Work details

Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut (1969)

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    andomck: Both books, besides having science fiction/magical realism elements, discuss bloody episodes of WWII from the point of view of everyday people.
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    SCPeterson: Vonnegut is the Voltaire of our age of un-enlightenment.
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    Kurt Vonnegut's crusade; or, How a postmodern harlequin preached a new kind of humanism by Todd F. Davis (pyrocow)
  14. 00
    Payback by Gert Ledig (hvg)
  15. 00
    Spaceman of Bohemia by Jaroslav Kalfar (CGlanovsky)
  16. 00
    1968 by Joe Haldeman (snat)
  17. 11
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    PghDragonMan: War is not glorious and even survivors are not unscathed.
  18. 13
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  19. 25
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Satire (3)
1960s (35)
Read (36)
Reiny (3)
Read (7)
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English (477)  Italian (5)  French (4)  Spanish (3)  Dutch (3)  German (3)  Swedish (2)  Hebrew (1)  Czech (1)  Danish (1)  Catalan (1)  Hungarian (1)  All (502)
Showing 1-5 of 477 (next | show all)
I have just finished reading this novel, and to be honest I am not sure what to say about it yet. I will have to think about it for a while before I can rate and review.
  TineSidhe | Aug 23, 2017 |
The title page reads:
The Children's Crusade
A duty-dance with death
Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.
a fourth-generation German-American
now living in easy circumstances
on Cape Cod
[and smoking too much],
who, as an American infantry scout hors de combat,
as a prisoner of war, witnessed the fire-bombing
of Dresden, Germany,
"The Florence of the Elbe,"
a long time ago,
and survived to tell the tale.
This is a novel
somewhat in the telegraphic schizophrenic
manner of tales
of the planet Tralfamadore,
where the flying saucers
come from.
As good a description as any. ( )
  gypsysmom | Aug 18, 2017 |
Instead of gushing on and on about Vonnegut - he’s a favorite author of mine and this was a re-read - I’ll just say this is a great anti-war book. Funny, sardonic and fantastical, it’s the story of a P.O.W. who survived the Dresden, Germany firebombing at the end of WWII, which killed 135,000 people. Fun, huh? With some extraterrestrials and time travel thrown in. War is a b*itch.

So it goes. ( )
  RonTyler | Aug 11, 2017 |
was curious by the availability of cliffs notes for this title, especially the subsection on the historical events of the allied bombing of Dresden, Germany in 1945. why was this particular military action anymore controversial than any other of the second World War? Vonnegut did not seem to quote address this question to my satisfaction. however I feel that Vonnegut's satire and anti-war perspective combined with science-fiction makes for more of a comedy than your typical war or anti-war novel.. ( )
  neobardling | Jul 29, 2017 |
As part of the gun crew, he had helped to fire one shot in anger — from a 57-millimeter antitank gun. The gun made a ripping sound like the opening of the zipper on the fly of God Almighty.

Slaughterhouse Five is one of my all time favorite books. There are very few books I reread, and this is a book I have read four times. This time I actually listened to the book, Ethan Hawke narrated and he was superb. Every time I read SF I get something new from it, and that is not surprising because this book is about everything. I know that sounds hyperbolic, but it is not in the least.

SF is about war, pain, abdication, surrender, anger, laziness, moral decay, meanness, ignorance, inevitability, dissociation, imprisonment (actual and figurative), objectification, and inhumanity. SF is about peace, comfort, family, work, intellect, human endurance, sex, creation, chance, luck, goodness, humanity, healing, freedom, friendship and hope. The book is filled with equal parts painfully authentic emotion and ironic remove. It is antiwar and also inured to war's inevitability. It is heartbreaking, and sad, and holy crap is it ever wise. The relevance of this book nearly 50 years after it was published is both awe-inspiring and depressing. I quoted a passage in one of my comments, but I am going to quote it here as well because it astonished me. It is as concise and accurate an explanation for Trump's victory as I can imagine:

"America is the wealthiest nation on Earth, but its people are mainly poor, and poor Americans are urged to hate themselves. To quote the American humorist Kin Hubbard, 'It ain’t no disgrace to be poor, but it might as well be.' It is in fact a crime for an American to be poor, even though America is a nation of poor. Every other nation has folk traditions of men who were poor but extremely wise and virtuous, and therefore more estimable than anyone with power and gold. No such tales are told by the American poor. They mock themselves and glorify their betters. The meanest eating or drinking establishment, owned by a man who is himself poor, is very likely to have a sign on its wall asking this cruel question: 'if you’re so smart, why ain’t you rich?' There will also be an American flag no larger than a child’s hand – glued to a lollipop stick and flying from the cash register.

Americans, like human beings everywhere, believe many things that are obviously untrue. Their most destructive untruth is that it is very easy for any American to make money. They will not acknowledge how in fact hard money is to come by, and, therefore, those who have no money blame and blame and blame themselves. This inward blame has been a treasure for the rich and powerful, who have had to do less for their poor, publicly and privately, than any other ruling class since, say Napoleonic times. Many novelties have come from America. The most startling of these, a thing without precedent, is a mass of undignified poor. They do not love one another because they do not love themselves."

Never change America....

My lord I love this book. Potoweet. ( )
1 vote Narshkite | Jul 16, 2017 |
Showing 1-5 of 477 (next | show all)
Lots of dark humor here: Billy Pilgrim has been a Prisoner of War and time traveler, and claims to have been kidnapped by aliens from the planet Tralfamadore. And so on. Kind of trippy, yes, but Vonnegut makes it all work. He makes this point clear: war sucks. So it goes
It sounds crazy. It sounds like a fantastic last-ditch effort to make sense of a lunatic universe. But there is so much more to this book. It is very tough and very funny; it is sad and delightful; and it works. But is also very Vonnegut, which mean you'll either love it, or push it back in the science-fiction corner.
"Slaughterhouse-Five" is an extraordinary success. It is a book we need to read, and to reread. It has the same virtues as Vonnegut's best previous work. It is funny, compassionate and wise. The humor in Vonnegut's fiction is what enables us to contemplate the horror that he finds in contemporary existence. It does not disguise the awful things perceived; it merely strengthens and comforts us to the point where such perception is bearable.
An agonizing, funny, profoundly rueful attempt by Vonnegut to handle in fable form his own memories of the strategically unnecessary Allied air raid on Dresden... few modern writers have borne witness against inhumanity with more humanity or humor.

» Add other authors (16 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Kurt Vonnegutprimary authorall editionscalculated
Brioschi, LuigiTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Chesterman, AdrianIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Ferrer, JoseNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Franco, JamesNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hens, GregorTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hoog, ElseTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Jaskari, JuhaniTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Владимир ФилиповTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Important places
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Related movies
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The cattle are lowing,
The Baby awakes.
But the little Lord Jesus
No crying He makes.
For Mary O'Hare and Gerhard Müller
First words
All this happened, more or less.
Like so many Americans, she was trying to construct a life that made sense from things she found in gift shops.
There was a a soft drink bottle on the windowsill. Its label boasted that it contained no nourishment whatsoever.
I have told my sons that they are not under any circumstances to take part in massacres, and that the news of massacres of enemies is not to fill them with satisfaction or glee.
So it goes.

Billy Pilgrim has come unstuck in time.
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Wikipedia in English (4)

Book description
[R.L. 6.0]
From the World War Two firebombing of Dresden to the distant planet called Tralfamadore, the reader follows Billy Pilgrim in his attempt to understand the natures of time and existence.
Haiku summary

Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0385333846, Paperback)

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.

Don't let the ease of reading fool you--Vonnegut's isn't a conventional, or simple, novel. He writes, "There are almost no characters in this story, and almost no dramatic confrontations, because most of the people in it are so sick, and so much the listless playthings of enormous forces. One of the main effects of war, after all, is that people are discouraged from being characters..." Slaughterhouse-Five (taken from the name of the building where the POWs were held) is not only Vonnegut's most powerful book, it is 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 a unique poignancy--and humor.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:01:01 -0400)

(see all 6 descriptions)

Billy Pilgrim returns home from the Second World War only to be kidnapped by aliens from the planet Tralfamadore, who teach him that time is an eternal present.

(summary from another edition)

» see all 12 descriptions

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