Armageddon In Retrospect

Armageddon In Retrospect

by Kurt Vonnegut

Janet Kolodner: Cat's Cradle by Kurt Vonnegut was one of my favorite books growing up, and I loved several of his other books -- Slaughterhouse 5, Pearls Before Swine, Galapagos. here were others that I cannot remember. But I had not read Kurt Vonnegut since I was in college. So I was excited when this book of shorts came out soon after he passed away. His son edited this volume of short stories and essays, all on the theme of war. Kurt Vonnegut's experiences during WWII led him to become totally anti-war.

This book, which includes a letter he wrote home after he was released from a prisoner-of-war camp, made me understand why. Some of the stories are fantasies; some are true. All make the case that war is hell and that even with the best of intentions, it's easy to do morally reprehensible things. I think he forgets how corrupt the Nazis were and that there are some people who you cannot reason with, but he's not knee-jerk unthinking anti-war; it comes from deep thinking about the implications of his own experiences and observations during WWII. The writing is superb. If you've read Kurt Vonnegut in the past, then you know his kind of dry style. I remember why I loved to read Kurt Vonnegut, and I am planning to read Cat's Cradle again over Passover. And now I know where the story and characters in Slaughterhouse Five came from.
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