Or, The Children's Crusade, A Duty-dance With DeathBook - 1999
Selected by the Modern Library as one of the 100 best novels of all time
Slaughterhouse-Five , an American classic, is one of the world's great antiwar books. Centering on the infamous World War II firebombing of Dresden, the novel is the result of what Kurt Vonnegut described as a twenty-three-year struggle to write a book about what he had witnessed as an American prisoner of war. It combines historical fiction, science fiction, autobiography, and satire in an account of the life of Billy Pilgrim, a barber's son turned draftee turned optometrist turned alien abductee. As Vonnegut had, Billy experiences the destruction of Dresden as a POW. Unlike Vonnegut, he experiences time travel, or coming "unstuck in time."
An instant bestseller, Slaughterhouse-Five made Kurt Vonnegut a cult hero in American literature, a reputation that only strengthened over time, despite his being banned and censored by some libraries and schools for content and language. But it was precisely those elements of Vonnegut's writing--the political edginess, the genre-bending inventiveness, the frank violence, the transgressive wit--that have inspired generations of readers not just to look differently at the world around them but to find the confidence to say something about it. Authors as wide-ranging as Norman Mailer, John Irving, Michael Crichton, Tim O'Brien, Margaret Atwood, Elizabeth Strout, David Sedaris, Jennifer Egan, and J. K. Rowling have all found inspiration in Vonnegut's words. Jonathan Safran Foer has described Vonnegut as "the kind of writer who made people--young people especially--want to write." George Saunders has declared Vonnegut to be "the great, urgent, passionate American writer of our century, who offers us . . . a model of the kind of compassionate thinking that might yet save us from ourselves."
Fifty years after its initial publication at the height of the Vietnam War, Vonnegut's portrayal of political disillusionment, PTSD, and postwar anxiety feels as relevant, darkly humorous, and profoundly affecting as ever, an enduring beacon through our own era's uncertainties.
"Poignant and hilarious, threaded with compassion and, behind everything, the cataract of a thundering moral statement." --The Boston Globe
From Library Staff
JCLMyshaP Mar 30, 2020
A darkly humorous classic that blends surreal sci-fi elements and nonlinear storytelling to fully express the disillusionment of war. It's a truly fascinating read of the life of Billy Pilgrim and one I will no doubt return to for deeper understanding of its complex themes, strange imagery and me... Read More »
Selected by the Modern Library as one of the 100 best novels of all time Slaughterhouse-Five, an American classic, is one of the world's great antiwar books. Centering on the infamous firebombing of Dresden, Billy Pilgrim's odyssey through time reflects the mythic journey of our own fractured liv... Read More »
Billy Pilgrim is a World War II soldier with what we would today call post-traumatic stress disorder. He has flashbacks to his time as a prisoner of war during the fire-bombing of Dresden. He loses his grip on reality, believing he has become unstuck in time and has been abducted by aliens. Based... Read More »
JCLBeckyC May 17, 2014
Billy Pilgrim is a World War II soldier with what we would today call post-traumatic stress disorder. He has flashbacks to his time as a prisoner of war during the fire-bombing of Dresden. He loses his grip on reality, believing he has become unstuck in time and has been abducted by aliens. Base... Read More »
From the critics
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CMLibrary_ecrites thinks this title is suitable for 16 years and over
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“And Lot's wife, of course, was told not to look back where all those people and their homes had been. But she did look back, and I love her for that, because it was so human. So she was turned into a pillar of salt. So it goes.”
"All this happened, more or less."
Sexual Content: About a dozen innuendos and there is sex, but it is not described.
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