• The Writer’s Crusade

  • Kurt Vonnegut and the Many Lives of Slaughterhouse-Five
  • By: Tom Roston
  • Narrated by: Jim Frangione
  • Length: 6 hrs and 56 mins
  • 4.3 out of 5 stars (46 ratings)

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The Writer’s Crusade

By: Tom Roston
Narrated by: Jim Frangione
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Publisher's Summary

The story of Kurt Vonnegut and Slaughterhouse-Five, an enduring masterpiece on trauma and memory.

Kurt Vonnegut was 20 years old when he enlisted in the United States Army. Less than two years later, he was captured by the Germans in the single deadliest US engagement of the war, the Battle of the Bulge. He was taken to a POW camp, then transferred to a work camp near Dresden, and held in a slaughterhouse called Schlachthof Fünf where he survived the horrific firebombing that killed thousands and destroyed the city. 

To the millions of fans of Vonnegut’s great novel Slaughterhouse-Five, these details are familiar. They’re told by the book’s author/narrator, and experienced by his enduring character Billy Pilgrim, a war veteran who “has come unstuck in time”. Writing during the tumultuous days of the Vietnam conflict, with the novel, Vonnegut had, after more than two decades of struggle, taken trauma and created a work of art, one that still resonates today. 

In The Writer’s Crusade, author Tom Roston examines the connection between Vonnegut’s life and Slaughterhouse-Five through his work, his personal history, and discarded drafts of the novel, as well as original interviews with the writer’s family, friends, scholars, psychologists, and other novelists including Karl Marlantes, Kevin Powers, and Tim O’Brien. The Writer’s Crusade is a literary and biographical journey that probes fundamental questions about trauma, creativity, and the power of storytelling.

©2021 Tom Roston. Published in 2021 by Abrams Press, an imprint of ABRAMS, New York. All rights reserved (P)2021 by Blackstone Publishing

What listeners say about The Writer’s Crusade

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  • Overall
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Loved It

I have loved Kurt Vonnegut ever since he first wrote Slaughterhouse Five which was published in 1969. A science fiction-infused anti-war novel. It follows the life and experiences of Billy Pilgrim, from his early years, to his time as an American soldier and chaplain's assistant during World War II, to the post-war years, with Billy occasionally traveling through time. A film adaptation of the book was released in 1972. Most everything Kurt has written, I am a fan. Sadly we lost Kurt in 2007 but his books will live on. Jim Frangione does a good job narrating. You can find this in the Audible Plus catalogue.

1 person found this helpful

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Inspiring

I loved every aspect of this book. It's purpose is to reflect the light and life of a great author and a great book. But after letting it settle for a while, I realized it is its own great work.

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Interesting supplement for Vonnegut fans

The book has a lot in its favor, and should be quite interesting background for anyone who is a fan of Kurt Vonnegut. That's an endorsement. That being said, the enduring memories of the book are, first, the author's philosophical argument (essentially with himself) about whether a rumor being true changes Vonnegut's legacy. Probably more time than is needed is taken to determine it doesn't, or shouldn't. And secondly, extended case studies about PTSD, tenuously tied to the story with mentions that the people in question admired Vonnegut's work. Now, it's obvious that PTSD is inextricable from a story purportedly about the writing of Slaughterhouse-Five. And a fair amount of background is needed. But let's just say Chapter 10 could do with a bit of paring down. Altogether an entertaining listen.

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Surprisingly attention grabbing

Held me from first to last word. I had forgotten a lot of the original book by Vonnegut, but as Mr. Frangione worked his words into paragraphs I began to remember and comprehend more than I did when I first read it back way back. Glad I had to opportunity to listen and work.

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Great for Vonnegut Fans

I don’t think too many people who don’t like Kurt Vonnegut would listen to this one. But for fans of the author it’s a great insight into his life, and the context around his most famous book. At times it reads a little more academic than I expected, and at other times it dives into human interest stories about veteran readers and writers- all beautifully told. At the end of the day, it’s a good book about a book. So if that’s what you’re looking for, look no further.

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Very Misleading Title

Title is Clicbait. This book is a Biography Of Vonnegut, A Polemic on PTSD and an Exploration of Slaughterhouse Five. You can find better books on each separately.

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Tour de force

An incredibly powerful journey through one if the greatest novels of the 20th Century, its author and our evolving understanding of war and the trauma it leaves behind. Highly recommend.