Slaughterhouse-Five, or The Children's Crusade: A Duty-Dance with Death

Slaughterhouse-Five, or The Children's Crusade: A Duty-Dance with Death

by Kurt Vonnegut
4.3 841

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Slaughterhouse-Five, or The Children's Crusade: A Duty-Dance with Death by Kurt Vonnegut

Slaughterhous-Five is one of the world's great anti-war books. Centering on the infamous fire-bombing of Dresden, Billy Pilgrim's odyssey through time reflects the mythic journey of our own fractured lives as we search for meaning in what we are afraid to know.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780385333849
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
Publication date: 01/28/1999
Series: Book Notes Series
Edition description: Reprinted Edition
Pages: 288
Sales rank: 6,983
Product dimensions: 5.30(w) x 8.06(h) x 0.63(d)

About the Author

Kurt Vonnegut was a master of contemporary American literature. His black humor, satiric voice, and incomparable imagination first captured America's attention in The Sirens of Titan in 1959 and established him as "a true artist" with Cat's Cradle in 1963. He was, as Graham Greene declared, "one of the best living American writers.” Mr. Vonnegut passed away in April 2007.

Date of Birth:

November 11, 1922

Date of Death:

April 11, 2007

Place of Birth:

Indianapolis, Indiana

Place of Death:

New York, New York


Cornell University, 1940-42; Carnegie-Mellon University, 1943; University of Chicago, 1945-47; M.A., 1971

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Slaughterhouse-Five: Or, the Children's Crusade, A Duty-Dance with Death 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 841 reviews.
jp_the_bookie More than 1 year ago
I'm going into my junior year of high school in the fall, I read this book during the 1st days of my summer vacation because: a) My English teacher told my class how amazing and absurb Vonnegut was and her plot synopsis captured my interest b) The same English teacher spent all semester telling my class how are brains were turning to mush from reading Twilight/Harry Potter and that we should read more classics. So I decided to start reading CollegeBoard's 100 books for incoming college freshmen. I was told from the get-go that this was a very very very eccentric novel and thats the kind of book I enjoy. I was very frustrated with myself up until about the last fifty pages because I did not understand the significance of the novel. However, the last fifty pages clicked all of the seemingly disconnected pieces together. Mrs. Weil, my beloved English teacher, told us that if you cannot see the point of a piece of literature, you didn't read it carefully enough. This especially goes towards this novel, you have to read extremely closely if you want to understand or get something out of it. In the end, the book was very insightful and I suggest that everyone read it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Set during World War II, Kurt Vonnegut's Slaughterhouse-Five is a humorous antiwar book. Billy Pilgrim is a war veteran who becomes "unstuck in time." He seems to be obsessed with the aliens, called the Tralfamadorians, that supposedly abducted him and could see in the fourth dimension. Right off the bat, Slaughterhouse-Five has caught our attention. As we read through the novel, the way we experience it is the same as Billy sees time, disconnected and random. The book keeps jumping from time period to time period, thoroughly confusing the reader. In some places, Vonnegut makes himself a character in his own novel. It is confusing to the point that the reader has no idea if Billy or Vonnegut is talking.
The novel makes us slightly disillusioned in the fact that we don't know the difference between real and fake. We are convinced (as is his family) that Billy is crazy and what he tells us about the Tralfamadorians is obviously untrue. But how are we to know if everything else he tells us of the war is true? The satire and irony in this book add comic relief to what would usually be a depressing scene, to our enjoyment.
The genius of Slaughterhouse-Five is that Vonnegut seems so apathetic about war in places that we wonder why this is even considered an antiwar book. But the reality is that his use of understatement and reverse psychology arouses feelings in us. When he says war cannot be stopped, we think (more passionately than if he was agreeing with us) that yes, it can. When he says there is no such thing as free will, we say yes, there is. All in all, Slaughterhouse-Five is an enjoyable read, I highly recommend.
XXXOOOBookwormOOOXXX More than 1 year ago
A quick, and absolutely imperative read. This was my first Kurt Vonnegut read several years ago and I've grown to love his work. This book is a great step for anybody interested in Sci-fi books. The manipulation of time in this book is brilliant.I liked the just have to remember that it is about one of the first accounts of a person sufferring from 'post traumatic stress syndrom'. I don't think ptss was even named at that time. You just keep thinking that someone should do something to help him...but at that time, WHAT?A thoughtful description of war in how indescribable it really is to experience. It claims there is war and always will be war. You'd have better luck at stopping a glacier. Also that hell is better than war. Since at least there would be no innocents suffering. Deals with things in a matter of fact tone. Anytime someone dies he will say, "so it goes." He gets lost in his own timeline and wanders. Aliens take pity on him and show him that time is something that humans can't grasp. Everything that happens always will happen, always has happened and cannot be changed. A downer. Oh and "war is fought by babies". It's thoroughly glamorized in movies and fiction. The reality is usually a bunch of teens straight out of high school fighting those battles.In my opinion this is the kind of book I should have studied when I was in school. There is so much to this little book that it deserves more thought than the poolside read that was my investment. Having said that, this is a really good book and I would fully recommend it. I just wish that I could have discussed this in English class in school, I would be interested in hearing other peoples opinion and in developing my own   
Guest More than 1 year ago
I read this book on the advice of a friend. I couldn't put it down once I started it. It normally takes me 2-3 weeks to finish a book, but I finished Slaughterhouse-Five within 3 days. It sticks with you even when you're finished with it. It's a fantastic book.
Guest More than 1 year ago
As a person who suffers from P.T.S.D., This book is ridiculous from that perspective. As is all Hollywood or written versions of it. As a science fiction book I think it is a good read, sometimes it is nice not to read to much into a book and just enjoy it. War is not something anyone wants especially the people who have to fight it. To read a book and think it can give you any understanding of what true violence is like is an insult. Read a book for the books sake
Packers30 More than 1 year ago
I thought overall the book was fairly good. I had troubles during some scenes. For example, Vonnegut has an unique style which includes random flashbacks and flash forwards. Another reason why I believe I enjoyed this story is because of the history involved. It gives quite the accurate description of the Battle of the Bulge. Overall, I believe Vonnegut wrote a very good book. Out of ten, I'd give it a 9. I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys uniqueness.
jr8383942 More than 1 year ago
Brilliant. Vonnegut's rye humor perfectly balances what is ultimately a rather dark view of life.
therealangiemccoy More than 1 year ago
One of the first true novels I read outside of school requirements and probably the book that turned me into an avid reader. Witty, acerbic, irreverent, and an all around fun read. He truly sets the standard for contemporary fiction writers.
thisstephanie More than 1 year ago
I had heard a lot about this book, and finally had it assigned for a literature class. I was expecting to dislike it, but in fact, it was fascinating and very, very well written. If you want something that is meta-fictional, perplexing and has a sprinkle of psychological thrill and science fiction, you should definitely read it.
DrGoldsmack More than 1 year ago
oddly this book displayed a certain interest in bringing to mind odd images. it perpetuates a need to be read as if it cannot contain its massage, although after it has been read one would not say that it brought to mind any new ideas but simply forced opp on us again the stupidity of humans. like many of Vonnegut books it feels as if he really dose not care about much. Although it is fun to watch the main character be screwed it can eventually form a since unrealistic and becomes harder and harder to relate to. overall all pretty good book.
Daryl Gendreau More than 1 year ago
This book is excellent.
WJ_Rosser More than 1 year ago
This is the standard by which all other experimental writing must be judged. Of all of Vonnegut's work, only Mother Night is near to it's quality.
ATLL765 More than 1 year ago
I think a lot of people end up disappointed with this book because they buy it expecting something totally different that what they find. The plot can be a bit confusing at times and I think that turns some people off, but this book is amazing if you take the time to really read it and read between the lines as well. This book is so much more about the message it sends than it is about telling a story. Kurt Vonnegut is telling us all through this book that war is absolutely absurd, in fact, it's as absurd as the story in this book. He wants to show us that the world is a crazy place and that in every situation there is good and bad. While the firebombing of Dresden was a horrible thing, it's also what shaped Kurt's life, so there is positive amongst such a terrible event. To understand this book, you must not take the story seriously, but take the message that Kurt is communicating to us to heart. The message that life is absurd, crazy, nonsensical and filled with horrible things, but despite that, we must carry on and be good to others, or else, what's the point of being here?
Guest More than 1 year ago
Vonnegut composes with a genius equal to Dostoyevsky, in a common voice (just as Dante composed the Comedy in Italian, not Latin) that makes it readable for all. His satire will make you laugh, and then make you kick yourself for doing so. Vonnegut effectively and accurately paints a picture of the human 'soul' and its struggle with facing life's cruelties. Without question, one of the greatest novels I have read so far. It urges the reader to analyze theirself, and ask the question: should i be one that turns away, or choose to become a pillar of salt? Undoubtedly a must read.
Joel_Snider More than 1 year ago
Kurt Vonnegut’s Sixth Novel, Slaughterhouse-Five, is a psychedelic journey through the life of a time displaced American man named Billy Pilgrim. In a seemingly absurd decision on Vonnegut’s part, the captivating story is as scrambled as an egg, with events like Billy, the main character, dying before the end of the book. The book’s mix of realistic and absurd segments provokes confusion and Vonnegut’s infuriating insistence on non-cohesive storytelling is a powerful tool in creating the dark, heavy hitting yet strangely comical tone. In the book itself, Billy Pilgrim is a time-displaced soldier in the second world war, living through separate times of his life at completely random intervals. The reasoning behind Pilgrim’s timeline predicament stems from his supposed abduction by aliens from the planet Tralfamadore, who show him a new perspective on time itself. The entire situation can be interpreted multiple ways. Perhaps the story is told by an old Billy Pilgrim, likely suffering from brain damage from the plane crash he survived with a skull fracture, who can’t cohesively remember when he is, thus fabricating the time travelling elements of his life. Then again, Pilgrim’s story could be entirely true, and Vonnegut’s recounting of his wartime experiences and anti-war sentiment are purposefully mixed with fictional events to create a more interesting or desirable tone. Nevertheless, Billy Pilgrim’s life is seemingly centered around his time spent in world war two, particularly his survival of the firebombing of Dresden, Germany in the February of 1945. Pilgrim’s survival is owed in part to the meat factory he sheltered in throughout the bombings. Kurt Vonnegut’s novel is intentionally non cohesive, slightly confusing, dark, and comical with a non conventional structure. However, the semi-biography is a captivating experiment in delivering a common anti-war message while ignoring the conventions of typical book structure and genres. Because of this, Slaughterhouse-Five is an incredible novel to read, and will keep you pondering its contents for weeks to come.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I read this book many times over the last 40 years. It is one of my favorites.
georgia_w More than 1 year ago
Slaughterhouse Five Book Review Slaughterhouse Five is a novel that is realistic fiction with sci-fi elements. slaughterhouse Five is written by Kurt Vonnegut. This book talks about the horrific details of Dresden and includes an alien planet, Tralfamadore, while Billy “time travels.” Billy “time travels” through many different parts of his life and also to Tralfamadore. The key conflict of this novel is telling about Dresden and remembering things about Dresden. Slaughterhouse Five was very unique and in depth. This book was also very hard to read.  I would recommend this novel for people who can comprehend a high reading level, who do not get confused easily, who like details about war, and sci-fi.The reason I recommend this book to a person who can comprehend a high reading level is because the book does not go in chronological order, so it is very is to get confused.I also recommend people to read this novel who like details about war and sci-fi because this is what the book is about. This means if you do not like those, you probably would not be interested in this book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Slaughterhouse-Five, written by Kurt Vonnegut, explains and describes how war can have both a psychological and emotional effect on people having to fight.  The book takes place in Dredson during World War II.   He goes through his whole experience with war and talks about the horrible things that he saw, but in a very unusual way.  He uses a place called Tralfamadore to explain his view on what happened during the war.  There are rapes, murders, and all kinds of things that you would only expect in a horror movie.  Through the book, he has random flashbacks.  He goes from being in his bed to being on the front lines in Germany.  He is confused and lost until he meets the aliens from Tralfamadore.  They explain what is going on and he understands now what is going on.   He uses these “time travel” experiences to explain what is going on in his real life.  He has flashbacks all the time about the things that he saw and went through and it is a great way to let the world know what war really is and how it can affect people in war. I didn’t like how the book jumped around, it was unorganized.  I like how he used something like aliens and time travel to explain everything because without that,  his audience would have been very slim due to the graphic descriptions he gives all throughout the book.  It is a book I would recommend to people who like war books and are against war.  I thought it was a very creative piece of writing that is and will always be a classic for everyone above the age of 13 to read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Sometimes hard to follow with the jumping around.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
If you like science fiction and philosophy this is a good book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A Tale of World War, Tralfamadorians, and time traveling, Slaughterhouse 5 is confusion and clarity for life. Billy Pilgrim, who is usually perceived as Vonnegut himself, is "unstuck in time" looking for a purpose in life after being in the Second World War. He seems to be obsessed with the aliens, called the Tralfamadorians. His life after the war consists of looking into the past, present, and future. His story telling skills is what is known as psychotic and all over. It is enriching with information and shows exotic experiences. I would recommend this book to people ages 14 and above, due to some nudity and sexual intercourse that occurs very generally in the book. The mixing of Sci-Fi to a PTSD protagonist was brilliance. His life really much is a circulation around the sci-Fi element and the bombing of Dresden, where he was. Vonnegut, I believe shoved a bit of his personality and life experience in there as well, for he was in Dresden and he was a soldier in WWII. There isn’t much to say, for you really have to read the book to comprehend how amazing it is, though it can be confusing. Here we are, trapped in the amber of the moment. There is no why. ~Kurt Vonnegut
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I thought that Slaughterhouse Five was an awesome book. It started off as a war story, and I was not expecting much from it, but as the story went on, I started to enjoy it a lot more. I thought the weirdest part of the book was when Billy was abducted by aliens. I was not expecting that whatsoever and I was laughing really hard when he compared them to toilet plungers. I thought that was just downright hilarious. Overall this was a bizarre book, but I really did enjoy it though. I would recommend this book to anyone who asks about it. And if someone out there has to do summer reading, and book is one of the options, I highly recommend it! 
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I really enjoy reading almost anything he writes.
Sunnyo More than 1 year ago
To me this book is so very anti-life, beyond depressing.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is quite possibly the best book I've ever read.