Slaughterhouse-Five - Kurt Vonnegut


By Kurt Vonnegut

  • Release Date: 1994-02-01
  • Genre: Literary
Score: 4.5
From 1,041 Ratings


A special fiftieth anniversary edition of Kurt Vonnegut’s masterpiece, “a desperate, painfully honest attempt to confront the monstrous crimes of the twentieth century” (Time), featuring a new introduction by Kevin Powers, author of the National Book Award finalist The Yellow Birds
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 Kurt Vonnegut described as a twenty-three-year struggle to write a book about what he had witnessed as an American prisoner of war. It combines historical fiction, science fiction, autobiography, and satire in an account of the life of Billy Pilgrim, a barber’s son turned draftee turned optometrist turned alien abductee. As Vonnegut had, Billy experiences the destruction of Dresden as a POW. Unlike Vonnegut, he experiences time travel, or coming “unstuck in time.”

An instant bestseller, Slaughterhouse-Five made Kurt Vonnegut a cult hero in American literature, a reputation that only strengthened over time, despite his being banned and censored by some libraries and schools for content and language. But it was precisely those elements of Vonnegut’s writing—the political edginess, the genre-bending inventiveness, the frank violence, the transgressive wit—that have inspired generations of readers not just to look differently at the world around them but to find the confidence to say something about it. Authors as wide-ranging as Norman Mailer, John Irving, Michael Crichton, Tim O’Brien, Margaret Atwood, Elizabeth Strout, David Sedaris, Jennifer Egan, and J. K. Rowling have all found inspiration in Vonnegut’s words. Jonathan Safran Foer has described Vonnegut as “the kind of writer who made people—young people especially—want to write.” George Saunders has declared Vonnegut to be “the great, urgent, passionate American writer of our century, who offers us . . . a model of the kind of compassionate thinking that might yet save us from ourselves.”

Fifty years after its initial publication at the height of the Vietnam War, Vonnegut's portrayal of political disillusionment, PTSD, and postwar anxiety feels as relevant, darkly humorous, and profoundly affecting as ever, an enduring beacon through our own era’s uncertainties.

“Poignant and hilarious, threaded with compassion and, behind everything, the cataract of a thundering moral statement.”—The Boston Globe


  • KV, Jr. The Extraordinary

    By JJMcPet
    Thank you. XO, jp
  • Second Time Reading

    By Jerry!!(67&
    Work of art. I am no literary critic nor expert. Whether you are looking for comedy, post-war sentiment or a great story, you will find something you love. Written artistically the format blends with the content, prose, and story narrative. But you don't have to have a B.A. in English to appreciate this novel. All you need is an open mind and 3 hours.
  • Tragic and beautiful.

    By jessebrunmeier
    I have a friend that teaches math and algebra at a high school. He suggested I read some of Kurt Vonnegut’s work. I’m a laborer at a factory and I suggest that you read some of Kurt Vonnegut’s work. I’m proud to own this book in it’s digital format, as well as in paperback and audiobook. Well worth the read, not for the faint of heart or for those with weak stomachs.
  • Vonnegut's Best

    By Dwardeng
    An insane blend of Science Fiction, War and comedy. You won't want to put it down.
  • "...and so it goes."

    By RJVanRiper
    The title is Mr. Vonnegut's famous phrase that came after a specific type of event within the book. I suggest that the savvy ninth grade reader, or adult read this book. It will help you understand hardship. It is interesting to see posttraumatic stress disorder described so relevantly before the term was coined or used in the DSM (diagnostics and statistics manual). Read it twice because you will miss things that you will enjoy finding again.
  • Unique and a classic. Hilarious and will give you goosebumps

    By Jed Wiant
    A stunner, that's for sure.
  • Cheese Curds

    By Cheesy Dumplings
    Book was big litty and aight but needed to be more crunchy ya know
  • Leaves you thinking

    By JohnWickham
    The semi-surreal plot — dislodged in time — and a character whose psyche is ravaged by war jar you from the normal ha its of novel reading. Slaughterhouse Five will certainly leave you thinking.
  • English 3

    By Kelly....ssss
    I chose this book to read for my English 3 class this a beautiful and well written book. I love the story and plot actually makes you think.
  • Outstanding!

    By Hjxhtkhetbttrjhbrtgkhj
    What a great novel! This is a wondrous wartime book as well as a question raising sci-fi experience. A must read!