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God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater

3.93  ·  Rating Details  ·  40,075 Ratings  ·  1,200 Reviews
Eliot Rosewater—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. God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater 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.
Paperback, 288 pages
Published September 8th 1998 by Dial Press Trade Paperback (first published 1965)
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Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt VonnegutCat's Cradle by Kurt VonnegutBreakfast of Champions by Kurt VonnegutThe Sirens of Titan by Kurt VonnegutMother Night by Kurt Vonnegut
Vonnegut's Best
8th out of 38 books — 525 voters
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper LeeThe Great Gatsby by F. Scott FitzgeraldThe Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark TwainThe Catcher in the Rye by J.D. SalingerThe Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck
100 Best American Authors
69th out of 551 books — 485 voters


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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Lyn
Nov 03, 2015 Lyn rated it really liked it
One of the more outright funny novels by Vonnegut, God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater is a scathing social satire about greed, hypocrisy and good, though misshapen intentions. One of the most starkly telling scenes for me is near the end when Elliot has taken up tennis and lost all the weight, and it is as though he has awakened from a long sleep.

First published in 1965, Vonnegut shares the story of Eliot Rosewater, an heir to a rich estate who is restless and looks to find his way amid various philan
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Madeline
Jul 22, 2008 Madeline rated it really liked it
Shelves: the-list
Once I realized and accepted the fact that I will never completely understand what Kurt Vonnegut writes, it became a lot easier for me to read his books. My first attempt at reading his work - Cat's Cradle resulted in me staring at the page, mentally shouting at Kurt Vonnegut, "What are you even TALKING about?" Reading Slaughter-House Five went slightly better, and by the time I read Mr. Rosewater, I was completely at peace with Vonnegut's "maybe this all has deep meaning and maybe I'm just pull ...more
Ian GalaDali
Rude, but Not Construed

A satire on American society, capitalism, and religious and sexual hypocrisy, Vonnegut’s ensemble includes Eliot Rosewater (a less unfortunate Jay Gatsby/F. Scott Fitzgerald who lives long enough to be charitable with his family’s trust funds), his father Senator Lister Rosewater (a male incarnation of Ayn Rand, whose "Atlas Shrugged" was published eight years before and "The Virtue of Selfishness" the year before this novel) and science fiction novelist Kilgore Trout
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Darwin8u
Mar 25, 2016 Darwin8u rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2014
"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."

― Kurt Vonnegut, God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater

description

I've only got two big rules with my two babies (one boy, one girl): # 1 be happy, # 2 be kind. Everything else is negotable. It appears that Kurt Vonnegut independently arrived at the same conclusio
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Melki
Sep 27, 2013 Melki rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: humorous-fiction
"Corporations are people, my friend."
Mitt Romney, former Presidential hopeful and owner of a car elevator

The Rosewater Corporation was dedicated to prudence and profit, to balance sheets. Their main enterprise was the churning of stocks and bonds of other corporations. Their secret motto? Grab too much, or you'll get nothing at all.

They are also in charge of the capital of the charitable and cultural Rosewater Foundation.

Norman Mushari, a recent hire at a DC law firm (He had an enormous ass whic
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Manny
Sep 20, 2013 Manny rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
My favorite bits are the two pornographic novels-within-the-novel, Garvey Ulm's Get With Child a Mandrake Root and Kilgore Trout's Venus on the Half-Shell, both marvelously suggested by illustrative paragraphs. Philip José Farmer was tasteless enough actually to write the second book. I suppose we can at least be glad that he didn't get around to writing the first one as well.
Nick
Apr 15, 2014 Nick rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The sentiments behind this book are pretty clear. It's hard to believe this is nearly half a century old, because it still feels stingingly relevant in a world of austerity, Tea Party Republicanism and millionaire presidential candidates.

The plot (such as it is) flops around sloppily, but that's Vonnegut for you.

There's more to Eliot Rosewater here than the character as presented in Slaughterhouse Five. In that other book, Rosewater comes across as a cynic, supplying meaningless platitudes. In t
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Carrie
Feb 06, 2008 Carrie rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: cynical idealists
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Shaun
Oct 05, 2013 Shaun rated it liked it
Shelves: read-in-2013
3.5 bumped down to 3

I loved the social commentary in God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater and, similar to my experience with Cat's Cradle, found it to be a provocative read. Still, other than agreeing with a number of Vonnegut's insights and enjoying his humor, I didn't find myself the least bit invested in the characters.

Perhaps this is because Vonnegut's writing style is less exemplary story telling and more witty satire that reads like a cautionary tale/parable. So while his thoughts and ideas are
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Dusty Myers
Oct 23, 2008 Dusty Myers rated it did not like it
I had a friend back in Pittsburgh who was incredibly smart and very kind and funny, but had a tendency toward literary snobbishness. (I know: can you imagine such a person?) Once he had something disparaging to say about Kurt Vonnegut, I can't remember exactly what. Some well timed comment that pretty much wrote him off as a hack, and I recall being almost hurt by it, seeing as how Vonnegut wrote so much stuff I loved as a teen.

And I guess that's maybe the rub. I loved Vonnegut as a teen. Sure I
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notgettingenough
Jun 30, 2014 notgettingenough rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: humour, modern-lit
Hilarious. Bonus: one can read it and laugh without the horrified guilt that hangs over the reading of Mother Night because it is only about the bad stuff we do to poor people and basically nice white people are all in agreement that it's okay to live better at the expense of poor people.

I would love to pull bits of this out to show you how funny it is. The scene where Eliot gives money to the poet so that the poet can tell the truth and the poet discovers he has no truth to tell. He only though
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David Sarkies
May 12, 2015 David Sarkies rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: People who like thinking books
Recommended to David by: Initially some guy at college (through another Vonnegut Book)
Shelves: philosophy
Lawyers and Money
2 November 2012

There are a number of Vonnegut books that I wish to read again, but this is not one of them. It is not because it is a bad book, or badly written, but that it is somewhat to what I expect from him. I somehow enjoy the irony of how a science-fiction writer casts his main characters as failed science-fiction writers (despite him not being one, though I suspect that when he started writing this would have been the case). However, Vonnegut's genius is not that he is
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Chris
Oct 12, 2014 Chris rated it liked it
I just finished all of the first six Vonnegut novels (except for the early Player Piano). It has been quite an experience over three weeks.

In God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater, Vonnegut clearly and relentlessly makes his case for Humanism. As a cry for all of us to love one another without reservations, and without expectation of material rewards for such love, the book is effective. However, as a work of engaging literature it falls short. I tired of the many pages of the Rosewater family history.
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Petergiaquinta
Aug 04, 2013 Petergiaquinta rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Having recently finished Vonnegut's Letters, I've been revisiting some of his novels I read long, long ago. At this point in my life, Rosewater wouldn't receive a five-star rating. I'll leave it up there because that's how I remember it from the first time I read it, but right now I'd say Jailbird is the better book, although as a lad I didn't think as highly of it.

Be that as it may, here's a book for Mitt Romney to put on his "to read" list. He's got the time these days, and he might learn a th
...more
Patricia
Jan 13, 2008 Patricia rated it liked it
I began this book with uncertainty. I couldn't decided whether I liked Vonnegut's style or whether I hated its dry humor. I apporached the plot with morbid curiosity. The protagonist is a trainwreck, and I couldn't tear myself away from the book. it seems that this is the authors intention. I was uncomfortable watching Mr. Rosewater's life fall apart, until I realized that Rosewater enjoyed it. He is a an insane philanthropist, iresponsible with his money. But by the end of the book their is so ...more
Eunji Kim
May 07, 2007 Eunji Kim rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: youth with the pretensions of liberal politics--wealthy youth
i learned that kurt vonnegut wrote a play called happy birthday wanda june.
this book is, i think, the culimination of certain ever present themes that exist in vonnegut's work. and thus, the best impression of vonnegut that vonnegut would ever do:
fuzzy morality that is really quite clear.
sadness wrapped in a humor so dry that it's almost not palatable, but somehow, so genuine...oh i dunno--
i just really like this one. who knows? maybe because the women are so haunted and distant. maybe because h
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A.S.
May 09, 2010 A.S. rated it it was amazing
Best book ever.
James Steele
Apr 12, 2014 James Steele rated it really liked it
The current head of the Rosewater Foundation, Eliot Rosewater, is a very peculiar man. He was born to a rich family, has more money than he could ever spend on his own, and yet all he wants to do is help the poor. There are people conspiring to declare him insane so they can install a new head of the Foundation. Someone they can manipulate into diverting some of that money into their undeserving hands.

The narrative is so disjointed, never finding a focus. It wanders back and forth from past to p
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Louise
Aug 14, 2012 Louise rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction
As a reader of historical fiction, I hadn’t read any Vonnegut. Upon his death, I vowed to read him. Finally five years later, I finally tried this one, primarily because it was the one at hand.

As to its being almost 50 years old, it holds up well. One reason is that there are no direct references to the Vietnam War or the Civil Rights movement to date it. There is an openly gay character who is naturally woven into the story, which is unusual for the time. The theme is even more relevant now tha
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Michelle
Jun 06, 2009 Michelle rated it liked it
Like most of Vonnegut, this was a pretty quick read for me. I tend to lean towards his spacier works (like everyone else, I read Slaughterhouse Five first because it's so famous) and this one relegates that sort of stuff to mentions of Kilgore Trout novels.
Instead of speculations of Earth's hopeless future, Vonnegut sticks to questions of what we qualify as insanity in this one, a question which makes it worth reading if you've got some time, but otherwise I would recommend other Vonnegut novels
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Libby
Oct 10, 2011 Libby rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-in-2011
It's no secret that Vonnegut was a brilliant and insightful satirist. This book is one of his best and gets right to the heart of human nature and the love of money. However, for me this book was a bit too bitter and a little too sad. Of course, that was probably the point.

Vonnegut sets out the fact that "a sum of money is a leading character in this tale about people" on page one. The book showcases the influence money has in America and the fact that it generally brings about the ruin of peopl
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Susie
Aug 12, 2014 Susie rated it it was amazing
"One of his favorite Kilgore Trout books dealt with ingratitude and nothing else. It was called The First District Court of Thankyou which was a court you could take people to, if you felt they hadn’t been properly grateful for something you had done.

If the defendant lost his case, the court gave him a choice between thanking the plaintiff in public, or going into solitary confinement on bread and water for a month.

According to Trout, 80% of those convicted chose the black hole."


I loved this K
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Jeanette  "Astute Crabbist"
The strength of this book is in its social commentary about the very rich rather than the story itself. The writing is good, and at times scathingly funny. The story is somewhat disjointed and not all that satisfying overall, but worth the read for the humor and style. Eliot Rosewater was born into a filthy rich family, and as an adult administers the Rosewater Foundation. He renounces his family's ways, lives like a pauper, and tries to give away as much of the foundation's money as he can. His ...more
Joseph
Apr 22, 2016 Joseph rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Oh Kurt, you never let me down. This is a strange tale of love and money and sanity. It is deep and off the deep end. I don't even know what else to say about it.

Well done Mr. Vonnegut.
Hadrian
May 26, 2011 Hadrian rated it really liked it
I don't seem to understand why some people classify Vonnegut as a humorist. I find his books to be intensely sobering and the kind of thing that a lot of people should read.
Mahmood666
Sep 23, 2015 Mahmood666 rated it it was ok
خداحفظتان کند آقای رزواتر
کورت ونه گات جونیور
محمد حسینی مقدم
نشر نیماژ
کورت ونه گات جونیور نویسنده محبوبی است .سلاخ خانه شماره پنج از اثار برتر تاریخ ادبیات است و اثار دیگرش همچون صبحانه قهرمانان ،گهواره گربه و شب مادر سالهاست که در بین خوانندگان جدی ادبیات ،از جایگاه ویژه ای برخوردارند.نگاه انتقادی ونه گات به سیاست های امریکا و همچنین جهان شمولی افکارش نیز دلیلی بر محبوبیت این نویسنده معاصرامریکایی است.
خدا حفظتان کند اقای رزواتر از اثار دوره نخست فعالیت ونه گات و به واقع اثری از دوران طلایی کار اد
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Benny
Aug 04, 2011 Benny rated it it was amazing
Mr. Rosewater is a fictional character that the world needs desperately. He doesn't see the point of having too much money and is so devastated by the world he sees around him that he becomes an alcoholic and travels the country visiting smalls towns, trying a very novel idea for the rich: helping people. He is the heir to the Rosewater Foundation, which is worth millions. What do you do with a millionaire who tries to selflessly help people? You try and get them committed, of course! Though he ...more
doug bowman
Mar 14, 2013 doug bowman rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: re-read
This is one of those books I revisit every couple of years. I read it in high school and even studied it in my senior seminar class in college. The themes and conflicts are probably as relevant as they were back in the mid 60's. The hyper-fervid self righteousness of the wealthy minority, and their attempts to consolidate power through the politics of exclusion, is still an insidious presence in Ameerica.

"Thus did a handful of rapacious citizens come to control all that was worth controlling in
...more
Carol Storm
Jan 18, 2012 Carol Storm rated it it was amazing
Out of all Vonnegut's novels, this is by far the best. One reason is that there are no sci-fi trappings, no silliness about time travel or aliens, nothing but a real study of American history and the impact of wealth and greed on the ideal of democracy. While short and exceedingly easy to read, the book feels like an epic narrative, since it sweeps from the very rich to the very poor, from the battlefields of the Civil War to the modern sailing playgrounds of the very rich. It feels much longer ...more
Bonnie Walton
Jan 24, 2008 Bonnie Walton rated it it was ok
It seems like loads of people think this book is pro-socialism, but it seems to me like more of a hopeless rant against society with no attempt at positive suggestions. Don't get me wrong--his style is entertaining: sincere but at times surprisingly blunt and humorous.

However, the content falls short for me, and Vonnegut comes across as one of those people who are always whining about what he/she dislikes about society and then never does anything to fix it. I'm an amateur though, so what do I
...more
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Kurt Vonnegut, Junior was an American novelist, satirist, and most recently, graphic artist. He was recognized as New York State Author for 2001-2003.

He was born in Indianapolis, later the setting for many of his novels. He attended Cornell University from 1941 to 1943, where he wrote a column for the student newspaper, the Cornell Daily Sun. Vonnegut trained as a chemist and worked as a journali
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“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. Thus the American dream turned belly up, turned green, bobbed to the scummy surface of cupidity unlimited, filled with gas, went bang in the noonday sun.” 152 likes
“There's only one rule that I know of, babies—God damn it, you've got to be kind.” 82 likes
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