Slaughterhouse-five, Or, The Children's Crusade

Slaughterhouse-five, Or, The Children's Crusade

A Duty-dance With Death

eBook - 2002
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Adapted for a magnificent George Roy Hill film three years later (perhaps the only film adaptation of a masterpiece which exceeds its source), Slaughterhouse-Five (1969) is the now famous parable of Billy Pilgrim, a World War II veteran and POW, who has in the later stage of his life become "unstuck in time" and who experiences at will (or unwillingly) all known events of his chronology out of order and sometimes simultaneously.

Traumatized by the bombing of Dresden at the time he had been imprisoned, Pilgrim drifts through all events and history, sometimes deeply implicated, sometimes a witness. He is surrounded by Vonnegut's usual large cast of continuing characters (notably here the hack science fiction writer Kilgore Trout and the alien Tralmafadorians who oversee his life and remind him constantly that there is no causation, no order, no motive to existence).

The "unstuck" nature of Pilgrim's experience may constitute an early novelistic use of what we now call Post Traumatic Stress Disorder; then again, Pilgrim's aliens may be as "real" as Dresden is real to him. Struggling to find some purpose, order or meaning to his existence and humanity's, Pilgrim meets the beauteous and mysterious Montana Wildhack (certainly the author's best character name), has a child with her and drifts on some supernal plane, finally, in which Kilgore Trout, the Tralmafadorians, Montana Wildhack and the ruins of Dresden do not merge but rather disperse through all planes of existence.

Slaughterhouse-Five was hugely successful, brought Vonnegut an enormous audience, was a finalist for the National Book Award and a bestseller and remains four decades later as timeless and shattering a war fiction as Catch-22 , with which it stands as the two signal novels of their riotous and furious decade.

Publisher: New York : RosettaBooks, 2002
ISBN: 9780795302626
0795302622
9780795302664
0795302665
Branch Call Number: Overdrive eBook

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PimaLib_MattL Jul 23, 2018

The Iraq Body Count project (IBC) figure of documented civilian deaths from violence is 173,686 – 193,965 as of April 2017. This includes reported civilian deaths due to Coalition and insurgent military action, sectarian violence and increased criminal violence. So it goes.

c
CuriousQT
Nov 06, 2017

I particularly enjoyed the Audio CD format of this novel read by Ethan Hawke. He is very engaging.

t
TEENREVIEWBOARD
Nov 05, 2017

Even though Slaughterhouse Five was about the extremely brutal Dresden Bombing in the second world war, Kurt Vonnegut’s book isn’t depressing at all. Instead I found it quite funny because of Kurt Vonnegut’s ability to make weird but at the same time quite likable characters and the overall absurdness at almost every moment in the book. The main character Billy Pilgrim was especially absurd and broken from his experiences in the Dresden Bombing. Billy wasn’t much of a protagonist since he didn’t really confront anything like a normal hero would. Instead he was just thrown about through different scenarios, probably a commentary about how little an individual person could do when inside humongous events like wars. However, instead of recounting terrible stories of war Billy’s mind jumps between absurd memories of soldiers pooping so hard they thought they would poop their brains out to imagined trips with bizarre aliens. This makes the book a pretty enjoyable and easy read since Kurt Vonnegut's commentaries on war aren’t explicit so the book doesn't get very dark.
-@CookieMonster of The Hamilton Public Library's Teen Review Board

b
BiGirl
May 01, 2017

Wonderful and gripping. Hard content at times but well written

t
TechWriter1
Aug 05, 2016

Just as good as when I read it in college. A great anti-war story.

Ham625 Apr 24, 2015

A good thoughtful read.

b
brooks243marathon
Feb 09, 2012

One of the most important books of the 20th century, and fun to read too. Powerful anti-war satire mixed with autobiography and social satire.

e
espresso_romance
Apr 09, 2011

A pretty good read. Now I've read a fair amount of literature and as a younger person, I'd heard so much about how this is a must read. So I finally read it. And it was not what I expected in a good way. I had no idea there was a sci-fi element to it and I thought that was the strongest part about the book. The war elements....not so much but blended in with the "mythic journey" of Billy PIlgrim...it was very powerful. Vonnegut has such a read-able style of writing too, I finished it in just a couple of days. The time travelling was amusing, entertaining, and well written. Vonnegut is also witty. He had me laughing out loud literally at some parts.

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