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145 pages, Paperback
First published January 1, 2005
"Life is no way to treat an animal." (123)A Man Without a Country is a somewhat loose collection, thematically speaking, of writings and reflections by Vonnegut on everything from literature to sex and politics. It is written by a man near the end of life—Vonnegut was 82 at the time—reflecting on his life and career as well as the state of the world generally and the United States in particular. Needless to say (if you are familiar especially with the late Vonnegut) there is not much to be optimistic about—other than music, and perhaps the few angels that are found scattered here and there in the world. The gloominess is sometimes overpowering, as Vonnegut acknowledges (perhaps he has experienced too much to be funny anymore; perhaps he has simply become a grump), but his concern for the world and the dogged humanism that has always marked Vonnegut is still there. And he is hardly wrong in his pessimism about the future of the world, or about about the self-destructiveness of human beings as a species, or about the great accumulation of power-hungry 'guessers' in government who are just as blind as the rest of us but who lack a steering conscience.