"A desperate, painfully honest attempt to confront the monstrous crimes of the twentieth century."-Time
Selected by the Modern Library as one of the 100 best novels of all time
Slaughterhouse-Five, an American classic, is one of the world's great antiwar books. Centering on the infamous World War II firebombing of Dresden, the novel is the result of what Vonnegut describes as a twenty-three-year struggle to write a book about what he himself witnessed as an American POW. It combines science fiction, autobiography, humor, historical fiction, and satire in an account of the life of Billy Pilgrim, a barber's son turned draftee turned optometrist turned alien abductee. Billy, like Vonnegut, experiences the destruction of Dresden as a POW, and, as with Vonnegut, it is the defining moment of his life. Unlike the author, he also experiences time travel, or coming "unstuck in time." Billy Pilgrim's odyssey reflects the mythic journey of our own fractured lives as we search for meaning in what we fear most.
Praise for Slaughterhouse-Five
"Poignant and hilarious, threaded with compassion and, behind everything, the cataract of a thundering moral statement."-The Boston Globe
"Very tough and very funny . . . sad and delightful . . . very Vonnegut."-New York Times
"Splendid . . . a funny book at which you are not permitted to laugh, a sad book without tears."-Life
"Funny, satirical, compelling, outrageous, fanciful, mordant, fecund . . . 'It's too good to be science fiction,' [the critics] would say. But Vonnegut doesn't care, and you won't care, either, because this is a writer who leaps over genres."-Los Angeles Times