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Slaughterhouse-Five: A Novel by Kurt…
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Slaughterhouse-Five: A Novel (original 1969; edition 1999)

by Kurt Vonnegut

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31,98048424 (4.12)1 / 797
Member:mapconsultant
Title:Slaughterhouse-Five: A Novel
Authors:Kurt Vonnegut
Info:Dial Press Trade Paperback (1999), Edition: Reissue, Paperback, 288 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:***
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Work details

Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut (1969)

  1. 342
    Catch-22 by Joseph Heller (kiwiflowa, Anonymous user)
  2. 200
    Cat's Cradle by Kurt Vonnegut (seojen)
  3. 121
    Mother Night by Kurt Vonnegut (weener)
  4. 114
    The Book Thief by Markus Zusak (weener)
  5. 60
    Breakfast of Champions by Kurt Vonnegut (esswedl)
    esswedl: Both of these Vonnegut novels involve the question of free will (and both are great).
  6. 41
    Johnny Got His Gun by Dalton Trumbo (waitingtoderail)
  7. 20
    Crash Gordon and the Mysteries of Kingsburg by Derek Swannson (jasbro)
  8. 31
    Life After Life by Kate Atkinson (JenMDB)
  9. 43
    The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle by Haruki Murakami (andomck)
    andomck: Both books, besides having science fiction/magical realism elements, discuss bloody episodes of WWII from the point of view of everyday people.
  10. 10
    Tertium Organum by P. D. Ouspensky (sombrio)
  11. 21
    Armageddon in Retrospect by Kurt Vonnegut (Ronoc)
  12. 21
    Kurt Vonnegut's crusade; or, How a postmodern harlequin preached a new kind of humanism by Todd F. Davis (pyrocow)
  13. 11
    Candide by Voltaire (SCPeterson)
    SCPeterson: Vonnegut is the Voltaire of our age of un-enlightenment.
  14. 00
    1968 by Joe Haldeman (snat)
  15. 11
    The Book of Jonas by Stephen Dau (PghDragonMan)
    PghDragonMan: War is not glorious and even survivors are not unscathed.
  16. 13
    The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald (chwiggy)
  17. 25
    Einstein's Dreams by Alan Lightman (ateolf)
1960s (35)
Read (36)
Reiny (3)
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English (459)  Italian (5)  French (4)  Dutch (3)  German (3)  Spanish (3)  Swedish (2)  Hebrew (1)  Czech (1)  Hungarian (1)  Catalan (1)  All (483)
Showing 1-5 of 459 (next | show all)
Vonnegut's war critiques are acid and reliable; I then thought, and may still, his Slaughterhouse-Five the only "war" novel actually about war, except maybe All Quiet on the Western Front. War and Peace certainly is not; it's about a whole society, and the interruption of war. And ethics, which the U.S. no longer seems to have any use for, in the Cabinet. (When John Adams was asked, by a lady dining next to him in Bordeaux, France, in the mid-17C, "By your name, Monsieur Adam, you must know how our first parents found the art of making love?" The Puritan Adams was up to the challenge, and answered, "That's a family secret." Then he wrote in his diary, "A nation with such manners can never be a democracy." He would say the same of Trump's proud grabbing of ladies, and of mistresses/wives.)
In Slaughterhouse, a soldier and history teacher, Edgar Derby, is executed for stealing in Dresden. That's beautiful irony, especially useful when I taught Shakespeare's Henry the Fifth in the same semester, with Bardolph coming to a similar end, being hung, for stealing a French religious symbol, a "pax." Maybe Bardolph for stealing a sacred religious symbol in France in the 14C; but a teapot in Dresden in the 20C? (Branagh's Henry V plays this scene for all it's worth, having all the troops march under the swinging body of Henry's old tavern associate.)
Of course, Vonnegut adds lots of pulp sci-fi, the Tralfamadoreans, and various pop admixtures that made it compelling reading when it came out. Dunno about now, since I haven't re-read in thirty years. I do recall my students loving Welcome to the Monkey-house, not wanting to bother with the next I'd assigned, an Updike, Rabbit Run probably. ( )
1 vote AlanWPowers | Jan 16, 2017 |
Slaughterhouse-Five is one of those pivotal books for me. It was given to me by my 11th-grade English teacher, Mrs. Dubois, as an alternative to some other assignment, and was so radically different from anything else I'd ever read for school that I had to know and read more.

So my judgment of the novel is somewhat colored by that experience. Still, this must be the sixth or seventh time I've read it at least, and despite its preciousness--or what now looks like preciousness--it never fails to move me. Just a powerful, beautiful, funny, crazy anti-war novel. Love it. ( )
  jalbacutler | Jan 10, 2017 |
Account of the bombing of Dresden ( )
  JackSweeney | Jan 10, 2017 |
Sad, moving, melancholic story of Billy Pilgrim who survived WWII, the Dresden bombing and life in general, such as a plane crash. His story serves to show the absurdity of life, his attitude the only way to confront it, with fantasy, or madness, whatever you want to call it. ( )
  stef7sa | Jan 5, 2017 |
Another book read because it was on NIN's list of Banned Media in relation to the Year Zero album release. Incredibly heart-breaking, confusing, fatalistic and horrible in places, it somehow oddly gripping, and worthy of reading a few times just to get your head around the time-traveling. ( )
  Arianwen16 | Jan 4, 2017 |
Showing 1-5 of 459 (next | show all)
It is a novel about war and what men do to each other in the name of holy causes.

Which is not to say it is anywhere near "The Naked and the Dead" or "From Here to Eternity." Vonnegut fights his wars with feathers rather than with jackhammers. "Slaughterhouse-Five" is funny, satirical, compelling, outrageous, fanciful, mordant, fecund and at the bottom-line, simply stoned-out-of-its-mind.
added by Shortride | editLos Angeles Times, Harlan Ellison (pay site) (Apr 20, 1969)
 
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.
added by jjlong | editTime (Apr 11, 1969)
 
"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.
 
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.
 

» Add other authors (16 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Vonnegut, Kurtprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Владимир ФилиповTranslatormain authorsome editionsconfirmed
Brioschi, LuigiTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Chesterman, AdrianIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Ferrer, JoseNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Franco, JamesNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hoog, ElseTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Jaskari, JuhaniTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
The cattle are lowing,
The Baby awakes.
But the little Lord Jesus
No crying He makes.
Dedication
For Mary O'Hare and Gerhard Müller
First words
All this happened, more or less.
Quotations
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.
Listen:

Billy Pilgrim has come unstuck in time.
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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References to this work on external resources.

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 16 descriptions

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