Ted Mallory's Reviews > A Man Without a Country

A Man Without a Country by Kurt Vonnegut
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's review
Nov 09, 2010

it was amazing
bookshelves: progressive
Read from November 09 to 13, 2010

I've always enjoyed Vonnegut's imagination and sense of humor in his novels, but I never knew how much we thought alike politically or philosophically until I read this little gem.

It's not an autobiography by any means and I'm not sure you'd call it a memoir. The blurb from the New York Times reviewer on the back cover says that it is "like sitting down on the couch for a long chat with an old friend." That's probably better than I could explain it.

It's not a big political rant, as the title may suggest. It's about lots of different things, from family to technology to WWII to how some of the nicest, smartest people come from the Midwest.

It's a collection of essays toward the end of the life of one of the funnest, funniest, sharpest, sweetest wits ever to come out of Indiana.

Having finished it, I am grieving, the same way you do when that long, warm conversation with an old, dear friend finally has to end and one of you has to go home and go to bed so you can get up and go to work in the morning. I wish this book didn't have to end.

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Quotes Ted Liked

Kurt Vonnegut
“And on the subject of burning books: I want to congratulate librarians, not famous for their physical strength or their powerful political connections or their great wealth, who, all over this country, have staunchly resisted anti-democratic bullies who have tried to remove certain books from their shelves, and have refused to reveal to thought police the names of persons who have checked out those titles.

So the America I loved still exists, if not in the White House or the Supreme Court or the Senate or the House of Representatives or the media. The America I love still exists at the front desks of our public libraries.”
Kurt Vonnegut, A Man Without a Country

Kurt Vonnegut
“If you want to really hurt you parents, and you don't have the nerve to be gay, the least you can do is go into the arts. I'm not kidding. The arts are not a way to make a living. They are a very human way of making life more bearable. Practicing an art, no matter how well or badly, is a way to make your soul grow, for heaven's sake. Sing in the shower. Dance to the radio. Tell stories. Write a poem to a friend, even a lousy poem. Do it as well as you possible can. You will get an enormous reward. You will have created something.”
Kurt Vonnegut, A Man Without a Country

Kurt Vonnegut
“Socialism" is no more an evil word than "Christianity." Socialism no more prescribed Joseph Stalin and his secret police and shuttered churches than Christianity prescribed the Spanish Inquisition. Christianity and socialism alike, in fact, prescribe a society dedicated to the proposition that all men, women, and children are created equal and shall not starve.”
Kurt Vonnegut, A Man Without a Country

Kurt Vonnegut
“For some reason, the most vocal Christians among us never mention the Beatitudes (Matthew 5). But, often with tears in their eyes, the demand that the Ten Commandments be posted in public buildings. And of course, that's Moses, not Jesus. I haven't heard one of them demand that the Sermon on the Mount, the Beatitudes, be posted anywhere.
"Blessed are the merciful" in a courtroom? "Blessed are the peacemakers" in the Pentagon? Give me a break!”
Kurt Vonnegut, A Man Without a Country

Reading Progress

11/09/2010 page 7
11/11/2010 page 56
35.0% "Sheer genius. Funny yet brutally honest and real-typical of Vonnegut."
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