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Kurt Vonnegut in war

All of Kurt Vonnegut’s Books Ranked, by Himself

Kurt Vonnegut in war

Kurt Vonnegut was a prolific and influential American author, best known for his novels Slaughterhouse-Five and Cat’s Cradle. His work is marked by its satirical tone, absurdist themes, and dark humor.

Vonnegut was born in Indianapolis, Indiana, in 1922. He studied mechanical engineering at Cornell University before enlisting in the US Army to fight in World War II. After the war, he worked as a technical writer, then a publicist, and eventually published his first novel, Player Piano, in 1952.

Vonnegut’s work often dealt with themes of science and technology gone awry, and he is credited with being one of the earliest writers to tackle these topics. He also addressed broader issues of social justice, including the dangers of nationalism and the risks of using powerful technology to manipulate human beings.

Although his work was not always well-received by critics, Vonnegut developed a dedicated following through his novels and magazine articles. He passed away in 2007 at age 84 after battling illness for several years.

In the introduction of his short story collection, Palm Sunday, Kurt Vonnegut rated all of his previous work. Oddly, they all seem to line up with modern-day reviews on Amazon.

Which begs the question, which came first, the book sales or the reviews?

Either way, here’s the list of Kurt Vonnegut’s own books as ranked by him (or the reviews).


Kurt Vonnegut Books Ranked

13. Happy Birthday, Wanda June

Vonnegut’s grade: D

The book cover of Kurt Vonnegut’s book called “Happy Birthday, Wanda June”
Via Amazon

Description:

The first play produced by Kurt Vonnegut, Happy Birthday, Wanda June follows the story of Harold Ryan, a great hunter missing for over 8 years. When he comes home to a surprise birthday cake, all heaven breaks loose.

Where to buy?

Print · eBook

12. Slapstick

Vonnegut’s grade: D

The book cover of Kurt Vonnegut’s book called “Slaptstick”
Via Amazon

Description:

The novel follows the lives of two main characters, Dr. Wilbur Daffodil-11 Swain and his sister, Eliza. The two siblings are the last surviving members of the “Swain” family, which was once a wealthy and influential family in the United States.

The two siblings are eccentric and peculiar, and they are struggling to find their place in a world that has largely forgotten about them. Throughout the novel, Vonnegut explores themes of loneliness, isolation, and the search for meaning in life.

Where to buy?

Print · eBook · Audiobook

11. Breakfast of Champions

Vonnegut’s grade: C

The book cover of Kurt Vonnegut’s book called “Breakfast of Champions”
Via Amazon

Description:

Dwayne Hoover is a wealthy car dealer whose life is slowly unraveled by a growing mental illness. Then there’s Kilgore Trout, a science fiction writer whose works remain largely unnoticed. As their paths collide, the story takes a wild turn as Vonnegut crafts a tale about the human condition and our place in the universe.

Where to buy?

Print · eBook · Audiobook

10. Wampeters, Foma & Granfalloons

Vonnegut’s grade: C

The book cover of Kurt Vonnegut’s book called “Wampeters, Foma & Granfalloons”
Via Amazon

Description:

“Wampeters, Foma & Granfalloons” by Kurt Vonnegut is a thought-provoking collection of essays and musings about life. Vonnegut dives into topics such as the importance of history, the power of literature, the nature of time, and the meaning of life. He artfully weaves his personal experiences with philosophy, providing readers with an insightful and entertaining read.

Where to buy?

Print · eBook · Audiobook

9. Palm Sunday

Vonnegut’s grade: C

The book cover of Kurt Vonnegut’s book called “Palm Sunday”
Via Amazon

Description:

The story follows an aging writer, Paul Proteus, as he reflects on his life and relationships. Through a series of flashbacks, Paul attempts to make sense of his past and present while trying to find his place in the world. With Vonnegut’s signature wit and insight, “Palm Sunday” is an engaging and clever novel that will leave readers pondering the themes of life and identity.

Where to buy?

Print · eBook · Audiobook

8. Welcome to the Monkey House

Vonnegut’s grade: B-minus

The book cover of Kurt Vonnegut’s book called “Welcome to Monkey House”
Via Amazon

Description:

The novel is a collection of short stories that explore the boundaries of human morality, technology, and power. The stories explore themes of free will, the dangers of technology, and the power of the individual to make a difference, and is a great read for any fan.

Where to buy?

Print · eBook · Audiobook

7. Player Piano

Vonnegut’s grade: B

The book cover of Kurt Vonnegut’s book called “Piano Player”
Via Amazon

Description:

The novel is set in a dystopian society in which most jobs have been automated and the majority of the population is unemployed. Throughout the novel, Vonnegut explores themes of technological progress, social inequality, and the dangers of corporate power.

The novel is a commentary on the dangers of allowing technology to take over too much of our lives, and it offers a cautionary tale about the potential consequences of our reliance on machines.

Where to buy?

Print · eBook · Audiobook

6. The Sirens of Titan

Vonnegut’s grade: A

The book cover of Kurt Vonnegut’s book called “The Sirens of Titan”
Via Amazon

Description:

The Sirens of Titan is a science fiction novel written by Kurt Vonnegut and published in 1959. The novel follows the life of Malachi Constant, a wealthy and aimless young man who is chosen by a group of extraterrestrial beings to be the messenger of their ultimate weapon.

Constant travels through time and space, encountering a variety of strange and fascinating characters along the way, including a war veteran who is stranded on a distant planet and a group of rebels who are fighting against an oppressive government.

Where to buy?

Print · eBook · Audiobook

5. Mother Night

Vonnegut’s grade: A

The book cover of Kurt Vonnegut’s book called “Mother Night”
Via Amazon

Description:

Mother Night is narrated by Howard W. Campbell, Jr., a former American playwright who has become a Nazi propaganda writer during World War II.

Campbell is on trial in Israel for his actions during the war, and as he tells his story, he reflects on his life and the events that led him to become a propagandist. Through Campbell’s story, Vonnegut offers a thought-provoking examination of the human condition and the complexities of moral responsibility.

Where to buy?

Print · eBook · Audiobook

4. God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater

Vonnegut’s grade: A

The book cover of Kurt Vonnegut’s book called “God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater”
Via Amazon

Description:

God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater tells the story of Eliot Rosewater, a wealthy man who inherits a large fortune but decides to give away most of his money to help the poor and disadvantaged. Rosewater becomes a target for ridicule and derision from his family and society, and he is eventually institutionalized for his unconventional behavior.

The novel is a commentary on the corrupting influence of wealth and the importance of compassion and kindness, and it explores themes of mental illness, isolation, and the search for meaning in life.

Where to buy?

Print · eBook · Audiobook

3. Jailbird

Vonnegut’s grade: A

The book cover of Kurt Vonnegut’s book called “Jailbird”
Via Amazon

Description:

The novel is set in the United States in the late 1970s and follows the life of Walter F. Starbuck, a former government employee who has been imprisoned for his involvement in the Watergate scandal.

As he serves his sentence in prison, Starbuck reflects on his life and the events that led him to his current situation. The novel is a commentary on the corrupting influence of power and the dangers of greed, and it explores themes of crime, punishment, and redemption.

Where to buy?

Print · eBook · Audiobook

2. Cat’s Cradle

Vonnegut’s grade: A-plus

The book cover of Kurt Vonnegut’s book called “Cat’s Cradle”
Via Amazon

Description:

Cat’s Cradle follows the life of John, a writer researching a book about the day the atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima. As John investigates the story of the bomb and its creators, he becomes embroiled in a web of deceit and manipulation, and he discovers a dangerous substance called “Ice-nine,” which has the power to transform any liquid it touches into ice.

The novel is a satirical commentary on the dangers of technological progress and the corrupting influence of power, and it explores themes of science, religion, and the ultimate fate of humanity.

Where to buy?

Print · eBook · Audiobook

1. Slaughterhouse-Five

Vonnegut’s grade: A-plus

The book cover of Kurt Vonnegut’s book called “Slaughter-house Five”
Via Amazon

Description:

Slaughterhouse-Five is a satirical and darkly comic novel about World War II. The protagonist, Billy Pilgrim, is a soldier kidnapped by aliens from the planet Tralfamadore and taken to their zoo. Throughout the novel, he jumps back and forth in time between his wartime experiences and his captivity in the alien zoo. His time in the Tralfamadorian zoo allows him to develop a unique perspective on life and death, which he brings back with him to his life on Earth.

Where to buy?

Print · eBook · Audiobook



J.J. Pryor

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