The writer's crusade Kurt Vonnegut and the many lives of Slaughterhouse-five

Tom Roston

Book - 2021

"In The Writer's Crusade, author Tom Roston examines the connection between Vonnegut's life and Slaughterhouse-Five. Did Vonnegut suffer from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder? Did Billy Pilgrim? Roston probes Vonnegut's 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 Cru...sade is a literary and biographical journey that asks fundamental questions about trauma, creativity, and the power of storytelling"--

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Subjects
Genres
Biographies
Published
New York : Abrams Press 2021.
Language
English
Physical Description
x, 260 pages : illustrations ; 23 cm
Bibliography
Includes bibliographical references (pages 233-252) and index.
ISBN
9781419744891
1419744895
Main Author
Tom Roston (author)
Review by Publishers Weekly Reviews

Kurt Vonnegut's classic 1969 novel Slaughterhouse-Five "is the rare, true war story," according to this colorful debut from journalist Roston. Delving into the personal and creative process that created the novel, Roston explores the extent that Vonnegut's experiences as a prisoner of war during the bombing of Dresden in WWII affected his life and writing—though Vonnegut denied any lasting traumatic effects, Roston wonders whether Slaughterhouse-Five may point toward undiagnosed PTSD. To that end, he digs through previous drafts of the novel in which Vonnegut worried he was being too "condemning of war," and recounts anecdotes from those close to Vonnegut, including Bernard O'Hare, a war buddy of Vonnegut's who's featured in the first chapter of Slaughterhouse-Five. The work of psychologists, writers, and scholars also help Roston piece together a working definition and history of PTSD to see what it can reveal about the novel and its main character, Billy Pilgrim. Regardless of Vonnegut's own mental state, Roston writes, "the novel resonates today as a metaphor for PTSD." While Roston can occasionally go on tangents, his passion for Vonnegut's writing is contagious. Vonnegut's fans will find in this survey a fresh take on a classic. (Oct.) Copyright 2021 Publishers Weekly.

Review by Publisher Summary 1

"In The Writer's Crusade, author Tom Roston examines the connection between Vonnegut's life and Slaughterhouse-Five. Did Vonnegut suffer from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder? Did Billy Pilgrim? Roston probes Vonnegut's 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 asks fundamental questions about trauma, creativity, and the power of storytelling"--

Review by Publisher Summary 2

The story of Kurt Vonnegut and Slaughterhouse-Five, an enduring masterpiece on trauma and memory Kurt Vonnegut was twenty 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. Did Vonnegut suffer from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder? Did Billy Pilgrim? Roston probes Vonnegut’s 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 asks fundamental questions about trauma, creativity, and the power of storytelling.

Review by Publisher Summary 3

The story of Kurt Vonnegut and Slaughterhouse-Five, an enduring masterpiece on trauma and memory   Kurt Vonnegut was twenty 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. Did Vonnegut suffer from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder? Did Billy Pilgrim? Roston probes Vonnegut’s 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 asks fundamental questions about trauma, creativity, and the power of storytelling.