Kurt Vonnegut

All About Kurt Vonnegut



  • Born in Indianapolis, Indiana
  • Died in New York, New York (age 84)
  • Studied at Cornell University (1940-1942)
  • Joined military


  • First novel “Player Piano” (published in 1952)

  • “Slaughterhouse Five” Includes a narrator Billy Pilgrim who becomes a prisoner of war, works in underground meat locker. (from Vonnegut's own life experience) (first best selling novel)

  • Last novel was “Timequake” (1997)

  • Last book “A Man Without a Country” which was a collection of biographical essays. In the book it expressed his views on politics and art. Shed more light on his life

  • wrote many short stories and plays

Early life

  • Family hit hard by depression (1929 stock market crash)
  • Father abandoned family, his mother then married an abusive man


  • Military sent him to study engineering
  • Served in Europe and fought Battle of the Bulge (became a war prisoner)
  • In Dresden, Germany Vonnegut witnessed allied firebombing and saw the complete devastation of it. Vonnegut and other POWS only escaped unharmed because they were in an underground meat locker some 60 feet down making vitamin supplements.

After WWII

  • Vonnegut struggled with depression, attempted suicide
  • Married high school "sweetheart" Jane Cox, had three children
  • Worked several jobs before becoming a full time writer
  • Vonnegut adopted his sisters three children after her death in 1958


  • "True terror is to wake up one morning and discover that your high school class is running the country."
  • "People have to talk about something just to keep their voice boxes in working order so they'll have good voice boxes in case there's ever anything really meaningful to say."
  • "Any reviewer who expresses rage and loathing for a novel is preposterous. He or she is like a person who has put on full armor and attacked a hot fudge sundae."
  • "The feeling about a soldier is, when all is said and done, he wasn't really going to do very much with his life anyway. The example usually is: he wasn't going to compose Beethoven's Fifth."