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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

Average Customer Rating

4.2 (2661 )
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  •  
    Cindy United States 03-04-12
    Cindy United States 03-04-12 Member Since 2007

    Say something about yourself!

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Better than average"

    I read this one because it was a classic. It was alright. I felt a bit letdown, perhaps because I expected too much. However, it seemed overdone and just a tad trite to me. Of course, those feelings could be because Vonnegut HAD ALREADY written this book and brought the subject to our attention so well. You need to decide for yourself. But, do not do what I did and expect too much.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    John Fort Morgan, CO, United States 01-02-12
    John Fort Morgan, CO, United States 01-02-12 Member Since 2010

    Great way to read great books on the go. Love Sci Fi especially Orson Scott Card and Star Wars.

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    "My Ipod Came Unstuck in Time"
    Is there anything you would change about this book?

    Perhaps it would make some sort of sense...yes, that would be nice.


    Would you be willing to try another book from Kurt Vonnegut? Why or why not?

    No way. This book did not make me want to hear anymore of his ideas. While possibly a good personal catharsis for him it did nothing to me.


    What does Ethan Hawke bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    He added some very interesting inflections. Excellent performance on his part.


    Do you think Slaughterhouse-Five or The Children's Crusade needs a follow-up book? Why or why not?

    No. This work of fiction was really a cleverly written editorial based on the writers personal experience. The


    Any additional comments?

    Very dissapointed by this book.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    M. Umstott 05-09-10
    M. Umstott 05-09-10 Listener Since 2006
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    "Movie star swagger..."

    The book is brilliant, disturbing, classic.

    The narrator puts too much of himself into the reading, however. His voice is aesthetically pleasing, but I felt pulled away from the writing on several occasions by the thought that he was enjoying listening to himself talk a little too much.

    Don't let this stop you from enjoying an otherwise solid performance of a true classic.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jonn canoga park, CA, USA 12-06-07
    Jonn canoga park, CA, USA 12-06-07
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    "Wonderful Performance of a modern classic."

    This book is read immaculately by Ethan Hawke who, in a low soft tone, captures the disconnect and sublimity of the book's main character.

    1 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ken apo, AE, USA 08-17-06
    Ken apo, AE, USA 08-17-06
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    "Overrated but Entertaining"

    The novel is interesting and entertaining but in no way a must read. The sci-fi aspect to the novel is really its saving grace otherwise it would have been boring. The novel's anti-war message is great; there needs to be more anti-war books. But Vonnegut uses Nazi and communist propaganda regarding the Dresden bombing. Reputable death estimates are 25,000 to 35,000, not 135,000 as Vonnegut states several times. Further, Vonnegut says Dresden had no industry worthy of bombing. Again the facts dictate otherwise. The Germans themselves state in 1942 that Dresden was "one of the foremost industrial locations of the Reich". My complaint, other than the erroneous information stated above, is Vonnegut's lack of and/or minimization of German atrocities during World War 2.

    2 of 8 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Haik Glendale, CA, USA 12-16-07
    Haik Glendale, CA, USA 12-16-07
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    "Always Good"

    I've read & listened to this book many many times and it gets better each time.

    1 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Seasson ROchester, NY, USA 05-24-07
    Seasson ROchester, NY, USA 05-24-07
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    "Just couldn't get into it"

    Let me preface this review by saying that I've read other Vonnegut novels and loved them. I thought I'd give this one a listen, but I just couldn't get into it- I found my mind wandered elsewhere and when I returned I was lost. Ethan Hawke is a great narrator and the story description sounded "Vonnegut-enough" and maybe I am just a literary dunce. I listened for about an hour and a half, but then had to switch to another book.

    1 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    D. Schaffer New York 03-04-08
    D. Schaffer New York 03-04-08 Member Since 2007

    Bones

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    "an outstanding adventure"

    This classic is worth listening to. Even if you've read it before.

    0 of 2 people found this review helpful
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