Kurt Vonnegut was born in 1922 in Indianapolis, Indiana. He studied at Cornell from 1940 to 1942 before enlisting in the U.S. Army. After fighting in the Battle of the Bulge, Vonnegut was captured and became a POW, witnessing firsthand the firebombing of Dresden. This experience would inform one of his best-known works, the 1969 antiwar novel Slaughterhouse-Five.
After the war, Vonnegut worked as a reporter and teacher before publishing his first novel, the satirical Player Piano, in 1952. Subsequent novels also employed dark humor as well as elements of science fiction, like the alien race called Tralfamadorians who populated Slaughterhouse-Five, to underscore Vonnegut's moral vision. War also remained a recurring theme in Vonnegut's writing...Show More »
Vonnegut's second book, the science fiction novel The Sirens of Titan, was published in 1959, followed by Mother Night (1961), Cat's Cradle (1965), and God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater, or Pearls Before Swine (1965), which introduced Vonnegut's fictional alter-ego, Kilgore Trout, a character who would appear in subsequent works. Later books include Breakfast of Champions (1973), Jailbird (1979), Deadeye Dick (1982), and Timequake (1997), though as his career progressed Vonnegut devoted more of his time to nonfiction, like 1991's Fates Worse Than Death: An Autobiographical Collage. His last book, A Man Without a Country, was a collection of biographical essays published in 2005. Vonnegut also wrote plays and short fiction over the course of his career.