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Wampeters, Foma and Granfalloons

3.76  ·  Rating Details  ·  6,603 Ratings  ·  135 Reviews
Wampeters, Foma & Granfalloons (Opinions) is a rare opportunity to experience Kurt Vonnegut speaking in his own voice about his own life, his views of the world, his writing, and the writing of others. An indignant, outrageous, witty, deeply felt collection of reviews, essays, and speeches, this is a window not only into Vonnegut’s mind but also into his heart.
Paperback, 318 pages
Published January 12th 1999 by Dial Press Trade Paperback (first published 1974)
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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
19th out of 38 books — 526 voters
A Room of One's Own by Virginia WoolfWalden by Henry David ThoreauA Collection of Essays by George OrwellThe Myth of Sisyphus and Other Essays by Albert CamusThe Complete Essays by Michel de Montaigne
Best/Favorite Books of Essays
43rd out of 387 books — 158 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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MJ Nicholls
Jan 23, 2012 MJ Nicholls rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction, merkins
This collection of nonfiction demonstrates amply why so many people fall headlong in love with Vonnegut—all aspects of his cranky humanity, his unimpeachable morality, his hard-won cynicism are on show over these twenty-five pieces. The title isn’t particularly catchy: readers of Cat’s Cradle will recognise the terms which Vonnegut says represent his dabblings in nonfiction. Not so. Among the brilliance here includes his take on SF as a literary art, his ornery take on the moon landing and a lov ...more
Jul 09, 2013 Melki rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: essays
Wampeters--An object around which the lives of otherwise unrelated people revolve, e.g., The Holy Grail.
Foma--Harmless, comforting untruths, e.g., "Prosperity is just around the corner."
Granfalloons--A proud and meaningless association of human beings, e.g., The Veterans of Future Wars.

Taken together, the words form as good an umbrella as any for this collection of essays, book reviews and speeches written over the years by Vonnegut. This review will contain a lot of excerpts, because I can thin
Dec 29, 2014 Lyn rated it really liked it
At least once a year I find myself in need to fire up the bookmobile and drive up to Indiana to visit my Uncle Kurt.

I have an eclectic literary family, wild old Uncle Bob Heinlein in Missouri, cousins Ray Bradbury and Poul Anderson, Ursula and Phil out in Berkley. Seems we can never all get together.

But driving up the Middle America street to Kurt Vonnegut’s urbane but kooky house always makes me smile.

Wampeters, Foma and Granfalloons is Kurt’s 1974 collection of essays, sketches, speeches, inte
Jan 13, 2012 Harold rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: vonnegut
Nothing less than five stars will do for this one.

I wanted to have a better concept of Vonnegut’s personality in preparation for reading Kurt Vonnegut’s biography “And So It Goes.” I thought a book of non-fiction by KV would be appropriate so I revisited this after nearly 40 years since my first reading. I remembered virtually nothing from my original read. My intent was to read a chapter now and then and to alternate with several books of short stories and non-fiction I’ve been reading. After a
Erik Graff
May 01, 2012 Erik Graff rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Vonnegut fans
Recommended to Erik by: no one
Shelves: biography
I like Kurt Vonnegut not only for his humorous and imaginative novels and short stories but also for his politics, his values. Not only has he added his name to many a worthy petition and appeared on many a plstform, but when The Nation, the oldest news weekly magazine in the USA, was in financial trouble, Vonnegut, Doctorow, Vidal and other writers bailed them out without demanding editorial control. This collection represents something of where Vonnegut came from and what he believed in, much ...more
Jan 06, 2011 Kate rated it it was amazing
I loved this book because I love Kurt Vonnegut and reading his opinions made me feel closer to him as a person, which may sound weird, but I really admire him. I also really enjoyed this book because, even though it was a book of his opinions, he wrote them in a fictional way. I really liked the story "Fortitude" because it was a story about the evils of technology (at least, that's how I read it) and how people succumb to it without realizing that it's happening. I also really liked his intervi ...more
James Payne
A little of this goes a long way. I haven't read Vonnegut in almost a decade. I'm continually bemused at how weak I'm finding the arguments and sentiments in leftist writing that I enjoyed as a teen to be. In this non-fiction collection, Vonnegut gives us piles of overly general, and generally unimaginative, moralizing - ironic given Vonnegut's fictive inventiveness. One of Vonnegut's rhetorical strategies is to portray himself as isolated in one of his different regional and class aspects when ...more
Nov 15, 2010 wally rated it liked it
Shelves: vonnegut

give it a shot. you get some idea of vonnegut, the man, where he came from, what his obsessions include, what he ignores and so you wonder why...he had a sheepdog named sandy. sandy sounds like an interesting dog. he took a trip down the inter-coastal waterway aboard a yacht owned by joe kennedy...the trip consumed 1,522 gallons of gasoline and elsewhere vonnegut worries about the planet, all we're consuming. and so on.

interesting tale about biafra...he went there w/van
Jun 15, 2013 Mmkay rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2013
Hasło "Vonnegut" mnie przyciąga. Przeczytałem dotąd kilka różnych książek pisarza, i choć muszę przyznać, że z poziomem mojego zainteresowania było różnie, to regularnie przyciągał mnie sposób pisania autora. Tym razem nie było inaczej.

"Wampetery, foma i granfalony" to przede wszystkim zbiór tekstów pisanych do czasopism i przemówień. Zdarzają się też tu recenzje książek, a także jedno opowiadanie. Długość tekstów jest różna, niektóre mieszczą się na dwóch stronach, najdłuższy tekst ma stron czt
Jul 31, 2015 Tracey rated it it was amazing
It seems somewhat appropriate to be reading Wampeters, Foma and Grandfalloons at this point in time as several of the enclosed essays deal with war.

Specifically, Vietnam, but also a heartbreaking piece on Biafra, which existed "for three Christmases and a little more"; a country that most of my generation have probably never heard of. Vonnegut also writes about the Cape Cod mutilations of 1968-69 - for which I could only find one passing reference on the web. (Most of the Biafra links on the Web
Oct 22, 2015 John rated it liked it
Shelves: belles-lettres
A collection of speeches, short articles, and one short story from the late 1960's to about 1972. Like most such oollections, uneven, but worth reading for the Playboy Interview, an article about his visit to Biafra (probably not a good idea for him), and his views on the Vietnam war.

Probably not the best place to start for those who haven't read Vonnegut before, or who don't have any memories of the Vietnam-era protests.
Jan 02, 2016 Mark rated it it was amazing
"Bitter coatings on sugar pills."
Árbol Leasar
Oct 31, 2014 Árbol Leasar rated it liked it
I think that I would really like to read any of the books that this autor wrote. I have discovered through Wampeters, Foma and Granfalloons that there are some a kind of tendencies that I really love to see that some people are aware of, like this author is. And in the developement of the incidencies that this author create in his books, it seems that they make wide appearence in them. Tendencies as criticism, self poignancy and self conciousness without self fear.

Also the location and fight ag
Sep 10, 2013 kate rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Not my favorite Vonnegut, but an interesting collection of his non-fiction, with a bizarre one act play for added flavor. His review of fear and loathing on the campaign trail 1972 offers a good insight into his opinions of his contemporaries. His report on biafra is a heartbreaking chronicle of a country that has already been forgotten. I guess it's time to go back and read his fiction again.
Jan 26, 2016 Eric rated it it was amazing
An entertaining, early collection of non-fiction by Vonnegut. It falls a bit into the "new journalism" trip of Tom Wolfe and Hunter Thompson, without being as piercing as Wolfe or as wild as Thompson. But, it possesses the quietly gentle heart that infused the best of Vonnegut's work.

The piece about Biafra (a new story to me) was particularly heart breaking and his interview with Playboy was illuminating. In very subtle and hard-to-describe ways, this book is just about as good as his best ficti
Good stuff here for fans and for future fans. A good read if you're a writer or want to be in the future.
Mar 07, 2014 Aaron rated it liked it
Another series of speeches, interviews, articles and opinions. I skipped a few if they didn’t interest me, but several of the speeches, and the 50 page interview with Playboy Magazine to finish off the book were REALLY good. It's weird that as I get older, I seem to think some of his cynicism about government is a little extreme, but other aspects of it (like his views on culture, the importance of 'it takes a village'-ness, and the rich vs. the poor) are perfect. and still very relevant Probabl ...more
Jan 06, 2015 Erin rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I had a really hard time with this collection of Vonnegut's essays, interviews, and editorials. It took me a long time to finish and much of it was hard to relate to, which was frustrating because I really enjoyed Slaughterhouse Five. I found that the following were true:

- This collection was hardcore Vietnam-era, which was good and bad. Good because it provided a solid perspective of people like Vonnegut who were opposed, had well thought out opposing arguments, and had prior military experienc
Nov 16, 2014 Eric rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
"'One sacred memory from childhood is perhaps the best education,' said Feodor Dostoevski. I believe that, and I hope that many Earthling children will respond to the first human footprint on the moon as a sacred thing. We need sacred things. The footprint could mean, if we let it, that Earthlings have done an unbelievably difficult and beautiful thing which the Creator, for Its own reasons, wanted Earthlings to do.
But that footprint will be profaned in America at once by advertising.
Hansen Wendlandt
Jul 26, 2011 Hansen Wendlandt rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
WFG includes Vonnegut’s gripes from Biafara to capitalism, religion and poetry—an amalgam of pessimistic gold in a wooden world…
On religion, it suffices to read one page. Morality? “We don’t need bigger brains. We don’t need more information. All that is required is that we become less selfish than we are.” (166) Spirituality? “The Seven Spiritual Works of Mercy: To teach the ignorant, to counsel the doubtful, to console the sad, to reprove the sinner, to forgive the offender, to bear with the
Nov 01, 2011 Anne rated it really liked it
I enjoyed the Playboy Interview at the end of this book the most. But here are some other great passages:
"Well - it would be a drab world without meaningless social aggregations. There would be a lot fewer smiles, and about one-hundredth as many publications."
"Earthlings who have felt that the Creator clearly wanted this or that have almost always been pigheaded and cruel. You bet."
"Kids don't learn nice manners in high school anymore. If they met a person who was in favor of building a device w
Dec 12, 2007 Paul rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Vonnegut Enthusiasts
Shelves: vonnegut
While this compilation consists mainly of what seems to be speeches to the intelligent, sensitive elite there are moments where Vonnegut's voice tenders on single events and themes, something his books avoid.
Whereas his novels have diverse intricate morals, Wampeters, Foma, and Granfalloons often gives the reader the opportunity to read exactly what was ravaging Vonnegut's opinion. The most personal event comes in his report of the doom in Biafra. Writing with the intimate conviction that is abs
Jul 06, 2008 matt rated it really liked it

Collected incidental prose from one of America's wise men. Vonnegut gives his take on a variety of topics- Biafra, the South, politics, commonsensical subversion from a man who had truly seen it all.

I think that one of the regrettable things about living in the modern moment is that people seem to ape his hard, sarcastic, yet chillingly blase and snickering style as the true voice of experience: "Hi ho, So It Goes, etc" though Vonnegut seemed to be one of those people who were really and truly
Aug 24, 2007 Traci rated it really liked it
Vonnegut has some amazing things to say in this book. It's a collection of opinion or essay pieces rather than a novel. One or two of the pieces are kind of boring but the rest I highly recommend.

On America, Vonnegut says:

"And her dad (Nixon) would say in an acceptance speech that night among other things, 'We covet no one else's territory. We seek no dominion over any other people. We seek peace not only for ourselves but for all the peoples in the world.' This was what he had said on Russian t
Jul 15, 2015 Rob rated it it was amazing
Wonderful. Aside from an essay here and there -- generally written after this book -- most of my Vonnegut reading was his fiction. I've tried to space out my reading of his work, since first encounters are a finite resource anymore. I'm glad I got to this one -- it felt like spending time with him, the person, rather than the storyteller. (Although he tells some incredible stories here, too.)
Stuart Hodge
An interesting mixed bag. The catch with dated anthologies like this is of course that the cultural references date, and the knowledge we have of the time in hindsight isinteresting- reading Vonnegut's pre-watergate thoughts on Nixon, for example. Still, a good read, and the Playboy interview that occupies about the last quarter of the book is very good.
Theremin Poisoning
May 04, 2015 Theremin Poisoning rated it it was amazing
The fascinating man behind the stories - the man who "puts bitter coatings on sugar pills." He is a true inspiration because underneath the curse words, the pain, and the cartoonish aliens is a sensitive heart brimming with compassion for his fellow man. Love you always, Kurt.
Tim Ganotis
Jan 26, 2015 Tim Ganotis rated it liked it
I was excited about a collection of essays, speeches, and short stories, but found this to be way more pessimistic than his other works. Perhaps it wasn't more gloomy, but just less amusing or sarcastic than his other writing. The last feature is an interview with Playboy, which was well worth reading. You get the direct thoughts right from the horse's mouth, so to speak.
Apr 03, 2010 David rated it liked it
Wampeters offers a look at Vonnegut the man, a sort of back-stage pass to how his brain works. The first-person writings include essays, reviews of other authors' work, speeches, and the collection-ending Playboy interview—the latter of which he alludes in the introduction to having doctored.

The book is almost as much a window into the contemporary political climate (and Vonnegut's views thereon) as it is a collection of the author's works. What I enjoyed most were the speeches, which mix his sa
Jul 31, 2013 Beckie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I don't think I have read any Vonnegut, save for one of the short stories in this book which seemed very familiar, until now. Recommended by a long-time online friend, I am glad I listened to him and read it. I really liked the essays, though some of them, for me, were emotionally draining and I would have to stop reading for the rest of the day. Unlike so many literary works, I actually understand a lot of what he is saying, and I agree with so many things he wrote about regarding firearms and ...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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“If somebody says 'I love you' to me, I feel as though I had a pistol pointed at my head. What can anybody reply under such conditions but that which the pistol holder requires? 'I love you, too'.” 535 likes
“Plato says that the unexamined life is not worth living. But what if the examined life turns out to be a clunker as well?” 182 likes
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