Kurt Vonnegut Dead At 84

The New York Times has an obituary.
Vonnegut’s Slaughter-House Five was one of my first forays into literature as a young punk, and I hated it. The book’s alternate title, The Children’s Crusade, infuriated me. I never understood how anyone, even one who witnessed the horrors of war in person, could compare the soldiers who engaged in the righteous cause of fighting and defeating fascism in Europe (not to mention ending the holocaust) to children sold into slavery. It’s a disgusting comparison, and also an apt summation of Vonnegut’s entire career.
I went on to read some of his other books (Cat’s Cradle, Breakfast of Champions and Mother Night) and found them all, with the exception of Mother Night (which I thoroughly enjoyed), to be evidence of an author more concerned with being an edgy member of the literary avant garde than a story teller.
He was heralded by those in ivory towers as being a genius, but all I ever saw was a frothing-at-the-mouth nut who laid claim to the title of “literary giant” but was really one of those authors everyone claims to like but few have actually read. Vonnegut once claimed that the rest of the world hates America as they once hated Hitler’s Nazi regime, and (in his words) “for good reason.”
A statement which tells you pretty much all you need to know about the man that was Kurt Vonnegut.

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