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Slaughterhouse-Five [Kindle Edition]

Kurt Vonnegut
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (454 customer reviews)

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Product Description

From Amazon

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.

From Publishers Weekly

"Listen: Billy Pilgrim has become unstuck in time." So begins Vonnegut's absurdist 1969 classic. Hawke rises to the occasion of performing this sliced-and-diced narrative, which is part sci-fi and partially based on Vonnegut's experience as a American prisoner of war in Dresden, Germany during the firebombing of 1945 that killed thousands of civilians. Billy travels in time and space, stopping here and there throughout his life, including his long visit to the planet Tralfamador, where he is mated with a porn star. Hawke adopts a confidential, whisper-like tone for his reading. Listening to him is like listening to someone tell you a story in the back of a bus—the perfect pitch for this book. After the novel ends, Vonnegut himself speaks for a short while about his survival of the Dresden firestorm and describes and names the man who inspired this story. Tacked on to the very end of this audio smorgasbord is music, a dance single that uses a vintage recording of Vonnegut reading from the book. Though Hawke's reading is excellent, one cannot help but wish Vonnegut himself had read the entire text.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Product Details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1938 KB
  • Print Length: 285 pages
  • Publisher: RosettaBooks (July 1 2010)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (454 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #1,300 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sad & Humane; and Brilliant July 19 2001
By Billium
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I reread this in one sitting the other night as I have periodically for some 20 years. Slaughterhouse-Five was the first book to really make me think as a young teenager. After all that time and at least six or seven reads I still laugh out loud at jokes I can see coming for pages, and I'm still moved for days or weeks after. Billy Pilgrim's innocence and sadness and Vonnegut's humanity are still astonishingly pure and beautiful.
Don't let the fragmented timeline of Billy's tale put anybody off; it's there to juxtapose disconnected events and thereby create illustrations that are creative and funny and satirical and moving. When available fictional devices cannot make his point, Vonngut puts one or another fantastic tale in the pen of alter ego Kilgore Trout, or brings in the Tralfamadorians for a few life lessons.
Vonnegut is an unparalleled storyteller with a style that is at once easy and deep, like a wonderful aunt or uncle with biting humor and years of wisdom quietly regaling late into the evening. The tale he tells in Slaughterhouse-Five is one of the great stories of all time for it's unbelievable creativity and it's quiet, gentle and powerful sense of humanity. A masterpiece.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Innovative Anti-War Novel May 1 2004
By -_Tim_-
Format:Mass Market Paperback
The hero, or antihero, of Kurt Vonnegut's Slaughterhouse-Five is Billy Pilgrim, a time traveling idiot savant. The central event in Billy's life is the firebombing of Dresden, Germany, an event he witnesses with little emotion. Billy has the sense to cry when he sees a pair of horses suffering but he is unnaturally passive in war, in his marriage, in raising his son, in being kidnapped and taken to the planet of Tralfamadore, and so on. From his experiences on Tralfamadore, Billy comes to perceive time in a different way that is very comforting to him and perhaps to Vonnegut as well.
First published in 1969, Slaughterhouse-Five has an experimental feel to it. Billy's time travel leads to some unconventional juxtaposition of scenes, and Vonnegut makes frequent use of asides to the reader to tell us about himself and why he wrote the book. Tragic events are described in flat, emotionless terms.
Slaughterhouse-Five is a quick and entertaining read, and it educates the reader about the horrors of bombing directed against civilians. Because of the flat tone, though, and because the characters are so unattractive, there doesn't seem to be much of a message here except to say that men are fools.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Even on the 20th read, SH5 never gets old Jan. 25 2011
By SBuckle
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I regard Vonnegut as a literary deity. Breakfast of Champions was the first book I ever read. Slaughterhouse Five was my second. It singlehandedly catalyzed my love of books. Vonnegut himself has always been my favorite - no competition; Orwell is a distant second. I mean, my Mount Rushmore of authors would only be one face. Vonnegut is one-of-a-kind and although many others try, none can quite match his terse and satirical pen.

SH5's Billy Pilgrim is a phenomenal character. He is also a representational Vonnegut character, shaded with a goofy naivete, but also with a contrasting higher-knowledge untranslatable to normal situations. Interlocked within stories of alien abduction and time travel, is the firebombing of Dresden during WWII - something Vonnegut was around to witness. He wanted to tell the story, but it was a devastating event, unprecedented in that new adjectives had to be invented, so he took a roundabout way of doing it; a non-linear way of getting there, so that he ended there, but only kind of. As he tells us via the Tralfamadorians, all moments forever float around, never starting or stopping, so Dresden was firebombed at one time, but wasn't. It sounds confusing, but it's not. He'll explain it to you in the book.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of his best Oct. 6 2006
Format:Mass Market Paperback
This is a very funny novel that- in retrospect- breaks your heart; it's the blackest black humor you will ever read.

It must have taken great courage for Vonnegut- as talented as he is- to take the Allied bombing of Dresden Germany during WWII and make it the main stage for this theater of the absurd tale, particularly since he witnessed firsthand what happened to Dresden. Fail, and you risk being pummeled by the critics for trivializing a horrific, nearly unimaginable event. (For those who don't know, Dresden wasn't "just" bombed; it was turned into a raging firestorm, with hurricane-force winds dragging thousands of victims into the flames to be cremated, and depleting the oxygen in the underground shelters, leaving thousands more asphyxiated.) But Vonnegut didn't fail; he succeeded brilliantly in conveying the absurdity of war by not embellishing events, the tone of the book remarkably matter-of-fact as his main character- Billy Pilgrim- jumps through time and space, gaining a unique perspective on the follies of mankind.

The name of his main character is especially telling of Vonnegut's intentions. Perhaps the most famous Billy in literature is Melville's Billy Budd, an innocent soul whose fate is an unjust death that suggests life is predetermined. And Pilgrim brings to mind John Bunyan's Pilgrim's Progress, an allegorical tale of the escape from the City of Destruction (Dresden) to the Celestial City of enlightenment (the home world of the superior Tralfamadorians, who explain human existence to Billy.)

Perhaps by writing Slaughterhouse Five, Vonnegut gained some measure of catharsis, found a way to deal with his memories of Dresden and its aftermath.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Good Product. Fast Shipping.
Published 23 days ago by Allan
3.0 out of 5 stars Meh
The whole book could be summarized in 3 words: So it goes.

And no, I'm not trying to be cute. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Book Cupid
4.0 out of 5 stars a solid book!
Fantastic book. There's a reason its so well known.
Published 5 months ago by Sebastian Grey
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
an amazing man
Published 7 months ago by gary killeen
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Great read, arrived on time.
Published 7 months ago by Drew
5.0 out of 5 stars miraculous concept of existence
Simply my favourite book, I have read id many times in russian translation, but now I enjoy original...
Published 8 months ago by Vasily Kandelaki
3.0 out of 5 stars Innovative and easily-read, but no masterpiece
This is an innovative novel that reads more easily than it ought. At the end though, it is something less than the sum of its cleverness. Read more
Published 11 months ago by Rodge
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Great book. Highly recommend
Published 11 months ago by cameron atkinson
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
nice printing. good cover, if you're getting it as a gift for a teen. they like skulls, apparently.
Published 12 months ago by Avenger
5.0 out of 5 stars Unfortunately, we lost Mr. Vonnegut in 2007. ...
Unfortunately, we lost Mr. Vonnegut in 2007. So it goes. His contributions to American literature, and his innate ability to write a believable science fiction novel will certainly... Read more
Published 12 months ago by Dreya Bailes
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