Thursday, July 8, 2010

Slaughterhouse Five

By: Kurt Vonnegut 4.5/5

First Kurt Vonnegut book I have ever read, it won’t be the last. Kurt is a weirdo that is for sure. Not as weird as Palahniuk.

Slaughterhouse Five is supposed to a be a literary masterpiece for antiwar books written in the late 60s. Not having particularly studied it, I might have missed much of the hidden text. Though you can tell from the writing and Vonnegut’s point of  view why this book would be considered an Antiwar book.

The story starts off with the writer describing his need to write a book about Dresdan, a small town in Germany.  As it turns out the book isn’t completely fiction, as the “city was completely destroyed by the controversial Allied aerial bombing towards the end of World War II.” Wikipedia. 

The Bombing of Dresden was a military bombing by the British Royal Air Force (RAF) and the United States Army Air Force (USAAF) as part of the allied forces between 13 February and 15 February 1945 in the Second World War. In four raids, 1,300 heavy bombers dropped more than 3,900 tons of high-explosive bombs and incendiary devices on the city, the Baroque capital of the German state of Saxony. The resulting firestorm destroyed 39 square kilometres (15 sq mi) of the city centre. (Wikipedia)

The story is followed by a presumably fictional character Billy Pilgrim, and Vonnegut reports over 135,000 people dead. Though actual facts…. In the first few decades after the war, some death toll estimates were as high as 250,000, which are now considered unreasonable.[6] An independent investigation commissioned by the city council in 2010 finaly reported a minimum of 22,700 victims with a maximum total number of fatalities of 25,000. (Wikipedia).

Billy Pilgrim, isn’t your typical hero, but turns out that with much luck he carries on his story, his very colorful story which makes this book very unique. Can it be that Pilgrim has what is now known as PPD!
This book also explores the fine lines of war and the characterization of humanness in time of great pressures. What is a human to do when faced with the gruesomeness of WWII.  I am surprised I was never told to read this in school through a History class, as it was very fascination especially following the battle.

I look forward to reading more of his book! 

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