Kurt Vonnegut, author of 'Slaughterhouse-Five' on Dresden bombing, dies at 84





NEW YORK -- Kurt Vonnegut, the satirical novelist who captured the absurdity of war and questioned the advances of science in darkly humorous works such as Slaughterhouse-Five and Cat's Cradle, died Wednesday. He was 84...

His mother had succeeded in killing herself just before he left for Germany during World War II, where he was quickly taken prisoner during the Battle of the Bulge. He was being held in Dresden when Allied bombs created a firestorm that killed an estimated tens of thousands of people in the city.

"The firebombing of Dresden explains absolutely nothing about why I write what I write and am what I am," Vonnegut wrote in Fates Worse Than Death, his 1991 autobiography of sorts.

But he spent 23 years struggling to write about the ordeal, which he survived by huddling with other POW's inside an underground meat locker labeled slaughterhouse-five.

The novel, in which Pvt. Pilgrim is transported from Dresden by time-traveling aliens from the planet Tralfamadore, was published at the height of the Vietnam War, and solidified his reputation as an iconoclast.

Related Links

  • At last, Kurt Vonnegut’s famous Dresden book (NYT review, 1969)


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