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Slaughterhouse-Five or The Children's Crusade: A Duty Dance with Death | [Kurt Vonnegut]

Slaughterhouse-Five or The Children's Crusade: A Duty Dance with Death

Kurt Vonnegut's absurdist classic introduces us to Billy Pilgrim, a man who becomes 'unstuck in time' after he is abducted by aliens from the planet Tralfamadore. In a plot-scrambling display of virtuosity, we follow Pilgrim simultaneously through all phases of his life, concentrating on his (and Vonnegut's) shattering experience as an American prisoner of war who witnesses the firebombing of Dresden.
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Audible Editor Reviews

Why we think it's Essential: One of the most important novels of the past 50 years, it is remarkable and immensely important in an age of war. But this book is about more than war; it is about time, perception, and the calamitous nature of mankind. Ethan Hawke's reading is superbly done, wonderfully capturing Vonnegut's absurdism. The great treasure of the audiobook is in the interview with Vonnegut and the musical piece at the end, which brings to vivid new life one of the most powerful passages in the book. —Chris Doheny

Publisher's Summary

Kurt Vonnegut's absurdist classic Slaughterhouse-Five introduces us to Billy Pilgrim, a man who becomes 'unstuck in time' after he is abducted by aliens from the planet Tralfamadore. In a plot-scrambling display of virtuosity, we follow Pilgrim simultaneously through all phases of his life, concentrating on his (and Vonnegut's) shattering experience as an American prisoner of war who witnesses the firebombing of Dresden.

Slaughterhouse-Five is not only Vonnegut's most powerful book, it is also as important as any written since 1945. Like Catch-22, it fashions the author's experiences in the Second World War into an eloquent and deeply funny plea against butchery in the service of authority. Slaughterhouse-Five boasts the same imagination, humanity, and gleeful appreciation of the absurd found in Vonnegut's other works, but the book's basis in rock-hard, tragic fact gives it unique poignancy, and humor.

©1969 Kurt Vonnegut; (P)2003 HarperCollinsPublishers, Inc.

What the Critics Say

"Hawke rises to the occasion....Hawke adopts a confidential, whisper-like tone...the perfect pitch for this book." (Publishers Weekly)
"The book gets star treatment from narrator Ethan Hawke, who immerses us in the author's words. Hawke almost whispers his way through the text as if letting us in on a big secret, and he is marvelously effective....By the end, Hawke has taken us on a journey that both illuminates the author's words and reflects our understanding of them." (AudioFile)

What Members Say

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  •  
    suzanne Milwaukee, WI, United States 01-23-12
    suzanne Milwaukee, WI, United States 01-23-12 Member Since 2013
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    "slaughhterhouse"
    Would you consider the audio edition of Slaughterhouse-Five or The Children's Crusade to be better than the print version?

    I like audio sight not so good this is easier and narrotors are entertaining.


    Any additional comments?

    Nice to re read slautherhouse havent done that in years.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Dan United States 01-04-12
    Dan United States 01-04-12 Member Since 2010
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    "One of my favorites of all time"
    Where does Slaughterhouse-Five or The Children's Crusade rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    Not much to be said. Kurt is one of the greatest writers of modern history and he has created a timeless story with one of the most interesting writing styles.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    David 09-17-11
    David 09-17-11 Member Since 2012

    Indiscriminate Reader

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    "Great listen, weird story"

    Kurt Vonnegut was a genius, but he's not for everyone, and the few times I've read him, he just hasn't done much for me. Thus I feel bad about not giving this book a higher rating as I know it's a great classic and a poignant, satirical treatise against war, but damn, was it weird and nonlinear and hard to follow. I enjoyed the audio narration by Ethan Hawke a great deal, but nonetheless found my mind wandering frequently while listening.

    Billy Pilgrim's experiences during World War II (echoing Vonnegut's) are vivid and full of violence and pathos, and then he is abducted by aliens and sent hither and yon, past, present, and future, and keeping the narratives straight becomes quite mind-bending. He has simultaneous existences as a soldier, as a POW, as a settled, post-war family man, and an exhibit in an alien zoo. There's also Vonnegut's fictional science fiction author Kilgore Trout, and it all mixes together messily with moments that are sometimes funny and sometimes horrifying.

    I may give this another read someday and see if it hits me more favorably a second time around.

    2 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    James Oswego, IL, United States 09-20-10
    James Oswego, IL, United States 09-20-10 Member Since 2008
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    "Nicely done."

    One can hear that Stephen King found a mentor for his writing style by listening to this book. Loved the "stream of consciousness" writing style and the abundance of dark humor. Several of the reviewers found this book to be sad, but I found myself laughing out loud at Kurt's commentary on war, human being's desire for it and the abject futility of it all.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kim Murfreesboro, TN, USA 07-06-10
    Kim Murfreesboro, TN, USA 07-06-10
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    "Good book. It's not my cup of tea."

    I don't like his style of writing.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Caleb Chicago, IL, USA 02-06-09
    Caleb Chicago, IL, USA 02-06-09
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    "Was there creepy back ground sound effects?"

    Was it me or was there creepy weird back ground sound effects?!? This is the first Audible book (after 50) that I was unable to finish. I tried twice to listen and both times stopped after 30 minutes. I know this is a supposed great American novel but Ethan Hawke ruined it for me before it began. Maybe I just didn't like the story but the narrator did not work.

    4 of 8 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Keith F. Woeltje 11-22-07
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    "Great to listen to; an American classic"

    I won't review the story - you can find that anywhere. I was concerned that it might be hard to follow on audio, but it wasn't at all. It's a great book. On top of that, Ethan Hawke gives a superb performance as a reader. His near-whisper tones (don't worry - it's plenty easy to understand what he's saying) are just the thing for the book. I was sad when it ended. So it goes.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    John Middleton, WI, USA 11-13-07
    John Middleton, WI, USA 11-13-07
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    "Superb"

    Simply put, this is my favorite audiobook of all time ("all time" being the past five years, during which I have availed myself of this format). Vonnegut's book is phenomenal, but many excellent books make for merely bearable listening experiences. The difference here is Ethan Hawke's narration, which is exceptional. I am no particular fan of Mr. Hawke or "celebrity" narrators in general, but I must say that his performance here has changed my conception of the narrator's function. This is, by any reasonable account, an artistic performance--subtle, understated, and beautiful.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Bev Alton, IL, USA 09-06-07
    Bev Alton, IL, USA 09-06-07 Member Since 2010
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    "Amazing Book"

    Ethan Hawk does a great job of reading this aloud. I have read this book in print form and now after listening to it, I am convinced that Vonnegut is a true genius. Dresden from the viewpoint of someone who was there. Well worth reading.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mike Malibu, CA, USA 06-03-07
    Mike Malibu, CA, USA 06-03-07
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    "Good book & narrator"

    This one is a keeper. The story is terrific, and Ethan Hawke does a terrific job with the narration. His voice is calm, tranquil and fluid throughout the story. Highly recommend.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
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