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A book by Kurt Vonnegut.

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Message is current but the book is dated and sexist

  • Feb 14, 2010
Slaughterhouse-Five the wrenchingly sad tale of Billy Pilgrim, tells the story of a man whose experience in WWII haunts him for the rest of his life. When the book was published, most middle-aged American men were veterans of WWII. Billy's nightmarish flashbacks, his contempt for women and his desire to live a middle-class life must have seemed familiar to many of them. Slaughterhouse-Five was a valuable attempt to shine a cartoonish light on the horrible memories that veterans carried in their hearts. It was a counterpoint to the myth of WWII, popular at the time, that WWII was a "good" war, and that the horrors of real war had not existed.

Slaughterhouse-Five is not about the bombing of Dresden. nor about the German people who were killed or survived the bombing. It is about the way the war can destroy a life, even after it is over. Billy Pilgrim, witnesses very little in Dresdin, but sees many horrible things during the war. During the bombing Billy was being held prisoner in a meat locker. When this book was published, the most shocking thing about the story was the coverup of the Dresden bombing by the American government.

Slaughterhouse-Five depicts war as awful and senseless. But beyond that, you can't read Slaughterhouse-Five and not feel the loathing that the author had for women. Female characters are viewed by the narrator the way a twelve-year-old boy might treat them--at his worst. Its a kind of objectification that has gone out of style in American literature.

For me the one dimentional, comic book style characters were more depressing than humorous. Billy goes though life in a dream that has little to do with the complexity of the human experience.

There are much better books that describe the horrors of war.

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More Slaughterhouse-Five reviews
review by . June 24, 2010
I first read Vonnegut in high school and loved his subversive perspective in "Cat's Cradle." I returned home to my parent's over-flowing bookshelf after graduating from college eager to jump back into that whole "reading for pleasure" game. I picked this one up (my dad had it since he was in college!) and began turning the pages.       This book was definitely captivating and engaging - and the …
review by . June 09, 2010
Don't get me wrong; I'm a huge sucker for time travel. From my early years as a Star Trek nerd to my current days as a quantum theory enthusiast, I've loved it, wished it were feasible, focused all my writing energy on finding the perfect temporal paradox, the perfect science fiction excuse, something that wasn't forced and had the decency to treat time travel as something morally and philosophically as well as scientifically complicated. A good, seriously-done time travel story …
review by . May 23, 2010
I first read this book in high school when my English teacher recommended it. After completing it, I then went to the library and sequentially checked out and read all of the other books they had by Vonnegut. Fundamentally, it is an anti-war book based on the Allied firebombing of the German city of Dresden. The city had no real military or strategic value and was swollen with refugees; the goal of the allies was simply to kill as many German citizens as possible.    Billy Pilgrim is a …
Quick Tip by . July 02, 2010
A quirky satire of just about everything, this book is probably Vonnegut's most famous, and is an excellent introduction to the body of his work. One tale told sequentially, another told randomly, and both fitting together to create an ironic, iconic, bizarrely entertaining story. Another summer reading great.
Quick Tip by . July 02, 2010
Funny, smart, and unlike a lot of things I've read.
Quick Tip by . June 29, 2010
I've read all of Vonneguut. I liked Breakfast of Champions better.
Quick Tip by . June 27, 2010
so it goes
Quick Tip by . June 23, 2010
Quick Tip by . June 21, 2010
great, but not my favorite k. von.
Quick Tip by . June 16, 2010
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Robin123 ()
Ranked #304
Hello everyone!      Like a lot of you, I just love to read. And, as you will see from my reviews I read some of an awful lot of things. I particularly enjoy American history, biographies, … more
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About this book


Kurt Vonnegut's absurdist classicSlaughterhouse-Fiveintroduces 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. --This text refers to the Mass Market Paperback edition.

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ISBN-10: 0385333846
ISBN-13: 978-0385333849
Author: Kurt Vonnegut Jr.
Genre: Literature & Fiction, Science Fiction & Fantasy
Publisher: Dial Press Trade Paperback
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