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calendar   Thursday - April 12, 2007

Obituary

imageimageKurt Vonnegut
1922-2007


“Sirens Of Titan”, “Slaughterhouse Five”, “Breakfast Of Champions”, “Cat’s Cradle” and much more. I have read and enjoyed Kurt Vonnegut’s books since I was a teenager in the early 1960’s. Which is why I am having a hard time writing about the passing of a liberal, anti-war, cynical Leftist. Not that there’s anything wrong with that - as the popular Liberal slogan goes.

I guess for me the defining Vonnegut legacy can be embodied in his 1969 novel “Slaughterhouse Five”. The book is a semi-fictional recounting of the bombing of Dresden in WWII - an event that Vonnegut was firsthand witness to as a prisoner of war being held in that city. The allies carpet bombed the city so heavily that it created a firestorm of unimaginable ferocity - literally hell on Earth. 30,000 died and Vonnegut and other surviving POW’s were given the grim task of piling the bodies in heaps for mass cremations.

It was, I think, a defining moment for Vonnegut who was passionately anti-war the rest of his life, along with a man he became good friends with, Joseph Heller, whose book “Catch-22” also provided grist for the 1960’s anti-war mill. Unfortunately, “Slaughterhouse Five” was published at the height of the Vietnam War and, in addition to bringing fame to Vonnegut, also provided a manifesto of sorts for the anti-war movement. He later went on to embrace all the tenets of the Left including environmentalism and socialism.

So I have to confess that I loved reading all of Vonnegut’s books because the man did write some very thoughtful works, including some really great science-fiction ... in spite of the silly crowd he ended up hanging out with. Rest In Peace.

… so it goes ...

- NY TIMES: “Kurt Vonnegut, Writer of Classics of the American Counterculture, Dies at 84”


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Posted by The Skipper   United States  on 04/12/2007 at 08:10 PM   
Filed Under: • Literature •  
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