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Slaughterhouse-Five [Kindle Edition]

Kurt Vonnegut
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (442 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.
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Product Details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1592 KB
  • Print Length: 285 pages
  • Publisher: RosettaBooks (July 1 2010)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (442 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #1,531 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Exceptionally original and almost troubling July 6 2006
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I had long ago heard of Vonnegut's writings but never had the chance to read one of his books until now. I approached this one with interest due to its science fiction and WWII connections, two of my favourite genres. What seemed seriously weird and disjointed at first became a very interesting tale and it got me hooked to the end. This is without a doubt the kind of novel that's best read twice, or more. There's very little about this book that could be considered usual and that is an excellent thing. The troubling part is how weird it can be at times, even absurd. Just pick it up, if you enjoy time travel stories, war epics and the ramblings of old fools you will not be disappointed! It's a short read too.
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3 of 3 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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2 of 2 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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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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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Big Stars for this book Aug. 31 2005
SLAUGHTER HOUSE FIVE is one of my all-time favorite books. It comes in right next to KATZENJAMMER by McCrae and OF MICE AND MEN by Steinbeck. Billy Pilgram has come unstuck in time. That is the first line of one of the most powerful anti-war book I have ever read. Vonnegut tells the story of Billy Pilgram, a POW in WWII, based on his own experience as the same. He approaches this popular, and sometimes overwritten topic with a refreshing, and most human manor. Vonnegut uses emotion rather than plain fact and humor rather than contempt. This book is a must read for anyone interested in the topic of WWII, but not only that, for anyone interested in excellent literature. This edition also includes an essay by Vonnegut himself describing his own need to write this book and why he chose to write it in the way he has. This book has found it way into my own list of personal favorites, and I'm sure it will become that, or more for you.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Great book!
Published 5 days ago by Mihai Catalin Onufrei
5.0 out of 5 stars My favourite book of all time
This is probably one of the best books you will ever read. Absolutely brilliant. I would recommend to all people.
Published 5 months ago by Evan Finnigan
5.0 out of 5 stars Add to your "must read this year" list.
A quick read: few books say so much in so few words. Artfully told: the main character gets "unstuck in time" as an author's device which allows him to juxtapose multiple... Read more
Published 6 months ago by Firestar
1.0 out of 5 stars Not happy.
This is not what I thought. This is a book about the book. Sucks. I haven't been able to return it.
Published 16 months ago by F. Gorosh
5.0 out of 5 stars Great service.
I had a small problem with my order and the seller contacted me right away to fix it, very nice too. Quick, efficient service!
Published on Feb. 19 2012 by AshSev
5.0 out of 5 stars BEST of the BEST!
This is one of the greatest novels of the modern era.
No, that's not my opinion, it's a fact.

No other novel has ever presented so many poignant paragraphs that... Read more
Published on Aug. 23 2011 by M. Witcher
4.0 out of 5 stars Still has much To Say.
Science Fiction novel first published in 1969. Even though this book was published over forty years ago, it is still a thought provoking read. Read more
Published on April 8 2011 by Heather Pearson
5.0 out of 5 stars Even on the 20th read, SH5 never gets old
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. Read more
Published on Jan. 25 2011 by SBuckle
5.0 out of 5 stars Slaughterhouse-Five
This book never grows stale and is still as relevant today as it was when it was written. That's sad, really - because we seemed to have learned nothing in the interim. Read more
Published on Jan. 5 2011 by Angelfire
5.0 out of 5 stars Great pulp fiction
This book is a great easy read. Classical literature it is not. But it does give insights into the allied bombing of Dresden. A must read
Published on Jan. 31 2010 by Rafid Haidar
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