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political science

Armageddon in Retrospect

 
 
Author
Kurt Vonnegut.
Publisher Vintage  
Format paperback
Product Dimensions 7.75 x 5.1 x 0.6 inches
ISBN 9780099524083
Pages/Publication Date 232/2008
Daedalus Item Code 52347
This item is not available.
Description
Written throughout Kurt Vonnegut's life, with his trademark rueful humor (the New York Times called him "a satirist with a heart, a moralist with a whoopee cushion"), a dozen previously unpublished pieces are collected in this posthumous anthology. Among the gems here is a spare yet visceral wartime letter home assuring his family that he has not been killed, while dryly reporting on his misadventures and the destruction of Dresden during World War II—"On about February 14th the Americans came over, followed by the R.A.F. Their combined labors killed 250,000 people in 24 hours and destroyed all of Dresden—possibly the world's most beautiful city. But not me." Here too is a painfully funny story about three privates and their fantasies of the perfect first meal upon returning home from war, and a darker and more poignant story about the impossibility of shielding our children from the temptations of violence, as well as Vonnegut's last speech and an assortment of his drawings.

"When Kurt Vonnegut died in April 2007, the world lost a wry commentator on the human condition. Thanks to this collection of unpublished fiction and nonfiction, Vonnegut's voice returns full force. Introduced by his son, these writings dwell on war and peace, especially the firebombing of Dresden, Germany. The volume opens with a poignant 1945 letter from Pfc. Kurt Vonnegut Jr. to his father in Indianapolis, presenting a vivid portrait of his harrowing escape from that city. The fiction, full of his characteristic humor, includes stories about time travel and the impossibility of peace in the world ('Great Day') and, in the title piece, a kind of mock Paradise Lost, Dr. Lucifer Mephisto teaches his charges about the insidious nature of evil and the impossibility of good ever triumphing. In his final speech, Vonnegut lets go some of his zingers ('jazz is safe sex of the highest order') and does what he always did best, tell the truth through jokes: 'And how should we behave during the Apocalypse? We should be unusually kind to one another, certainly. But we should also stop being so serious. Jokes help a lot. And get a dog, if you don't already have one. So it goes'."—Publishers Weekly (starred review)

 
 
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