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Publisher's Summary

Eliot Rosewater, a drunk volunteer fireman and president of the fabulously rich Rosewater Foundation, is about to attempt a noble experiment with human nature, with a little help from writer Kilgore Trout. The result is Kurt Vonnegut's funniest satire, an etched-in-acid portrayal of the greed, hypocrisy, and follies of the flesh we are all heir to.

As an added bonus, when you purchase our Audible Modern Vanguard production of Kurt Vonnegut's book, you'll also receive an exclusive Jim Atlas interview. This interview – where James Atlas interviews Gay Talese about the life and work of Kurt Vonnegut – begins as soon as the audiobook ends.

This production is part of our Audible Modern Vanguard line, a collection of important works from groundbreaking authors.
©1965 Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. (P)2008 Audible, Inc.

Critic Reviews

"[Vonnegut] at his wildest best!" ( The New York Times Book Review)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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    4 out of 5 stars
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Hello, babies. Welcome to Earth.

...
It's hot in the summer and cold in the winter.
It's round and wet and crowded.
At the outside, babies, you've got about a hundred years here.
There's only one rule that I know of, babies—
God damn it, you've got to be kind."

I've only got two big rules with my two babies. # 1 be happy, # 2 be kind. Everything else is negotable, babies.

It appears that Kurt Vonnegut independently arrived at the same conclusion. 'God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater' happens to be a fairly straight-forward novel about money and charity and kindness and sanity. Vonnegut's novel (subtitled 'Pearls before Swine') is about the Rosewater family and how they invest their efforts into a foundation as a means of keeping the government from taxing their money. The problem is Eliot Rosewater (the protagonist) ends up not caring much about money and being infinitely charitable and kind. This obviously is a form of insanity that either needs to be exploited (by lawyers) or protected (by family).

In some ways, in its heart, it reminds me of a simplified, satirized version of Dostoevsky's 'the Idiot'. When people are good, selfless, and caring in a world like the one we all live in, they must be stupid or a little nuts. They certainly aren't likely to survive.

17 of 18 people found this review helpful

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A Story About Money

If you could sum up God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater in three words, what would they be?

The Money Shot

What was one of the most memorable moments of God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater?

Vonnegut has so many classic situations in his stories, that not only make you laugh but cry at the same time so its tough. But I would say when Rosewater comes to a moment of clarity at the end of the novel it really pulls the story together in a profound way. You may not like his response, but you must admit that it solidifies his narrative.

Which character – as performed by Eric Michael Summerer – was your favorite?

Rosewater. The images of him living day to day in squalor but being so happy and helping others was well done. "How Can We Help You"....terrific.

Who was the most memorable character of God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater and why?

The woman who called Rosewater up every day was my favorite for some reason. She was the average person who struggles to deal with life, the fact that Rosewater took time for her sums up the treatise of the novel. The everyday contains magical qualities that can never be overlooked, being kind to people is always a good investment.

Any additional comments?

Its almost impossible to review Vonnegut, who is my view is the most over looked and under rated American novelist ever. He wrote some of the best books in the American literary tradition. This book, though dated in some respects is timeless in others. I can understand why some people don't like his work, but if you do you owe it to yourself to listen to this well produced thoughtful version.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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Changed my view of money

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

"Thus did a handful of rapacious citizens come to control all that was worth controlling in America. Thus was the savage and stupid and entirely inappropriate and unnecessary and humorless American class system created. Honest, industrious, peaceful citizens were classed as bloodsuckers, if they asked to be paid a living wage. And they saw that praise was reserved henceforth for those who devised means of getting paid enormously for committing crimes against which no laws had been passed."

Wow.

Any additional comments?

This book speaks perfectly to our times. Poor people "earn" money while rich people "make" money. Money is a fiction we all buy into, without realizing the game is rigged.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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Not Vonnegut's best, but not bad

The topic of this book serves as a satirical commentary on American capitalism and the place that money - and the people who have it - hold within society. It is a theme worthy of exploration, but this book lacks the typical spot-on punch of Vonnegut's best work. The message still gets through and in a fairly entertaining fashion, but it falls short of ensuring a lasting impression.

Summerer's narration irritated me at first, but I soon warmed to him. His voice contains a gleeful irony that is perfect for Eliot Rosewater's particular brand of "madness."

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Timeless Message

A concept, "slurp-slurp", as applicable in 2017 as it was when this book was written. "Same circus, different clowns." Knowing our history does not prevent its repetition. Bottom line of charitable giving, though, bears repeating.

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Has never been more relevant.

A much needed dash of insanity in an eerily sane world. Such an interesting book!

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Never to old for a reality check.

The stories are never more interesting as the take away of Kurt Vonnegut, perhaps that is why I have enjoyed so many of the human specimens serve under the appreciative eye of one of the great writers of the 20th century.
God Bless you, Mr Rosewater is a homage to a gentle soul, who's goodness is render from a life of obligation, conformity, great wealth and an exhaustive journey of finding ones place in life. Vonnegut observes and documents the lives that inter twine and decorate the cake of one Elliot Rosewater a product of an obtuse ruling class of wealthy Ner'do wells who's only purpose in life is to defend their inherited privilege.

No class or other aberrations of humanity are left unscathed by the authors intimate understanding of human behavior, which he so insightfully created for our own smug enjoyment. God bless Kurt Vonnegut!

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Not Sure Vonnegut Is For Me

Maybe I just don't get Vonnegut or know how to read him, but I am left puzzled by the great reviews. Maybe it was that I listened to it on audio rather than read a print version. Whatever it is....this didn't do much for me.

I found most of the tale to be dull and I wasn't invested in the characters. I understand that this is a satire, but I didn't get the amount of humor that many others seemed to have found. The story was disjointed and meandered, and I felt my mind similarly wandering. On the positive side, I found a few funny parts and I was impressed by the fact that although this was written in 1965, the commentary about the behavior of the rich and privileged still apply today. I didn't feel that the story was dated at all.

I did bump up my rating from a two star to a three star after thinking about the ending. I like how the ending showed that Elliott Rosewater was "crazy like a fox" as the cliché goes!

Still not sure if I will try another Vonnegut or not. Definitely not in the near future.

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Not my favorite but Vonnegut none the less

Somewhat tedious imho, but feels much more substantial toward the end. I tend to lean towards his more other-worldly themes as this is more "real" than tralfamadore. His allegories hit home, with resignment and resolve just as Vonnegut fans would expect.

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  • 10-18-15

Examination of What Money Means in the USA

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

Yes, it is clever and examines the role of money our lives in a very personal, yet detached manner. It is an interesting book. It is not sci-fi fyi sort of a social commentary.

What was one of the most memorable moments of God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater?

Hearing about Diana Moon Glampers.

Have you listened to any of Eric Michael Summerer’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

No. He read it most excellently, a joy to hear.

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

Sort of, I listened to it twice! It sort of gets to you.

Any additional comments?

Unusual book, sort of like Citizen Kane, a made up tale of America, so we can learn about ourselves.

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Profile Image for Kieran Murphy
  • Kieran Murphy
  • 04-01-18

Perhaps it just wasn't for me

Would you try another book written by Kurt Vonnegut or narrated by Eric Michael Summerer?

Vonnegut is one of my favorite authors, but I could not stand the voices Eric gave to most of the cast. Possibly just a preference issue.I'll be back for more Vonnegut without a doubt. I always wondered why I never managed to re-read this book like I had with many of his others, definitely one of his weakest in my eyes.