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A Man Without a Country

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In a volume that is penetrating, introspective, incisive, and laugh-out-loud funny, one of the great men of letters of this era—or any era—holds forth on life, art, sex, politics, and the state of America’s soul. Whether he is describing his coming of age in America, his formative war experiences, or his life as an artist, this is Vonnegut doing what he does best: being himself. Whimsically illustrated by the author, A Man Without a Country is intimate, tender, and brimming with the scope of Kurt Vonnegut’s passions.

145 pages, Paperback

First published January 1, 2005

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About the author

Kurt Vonnegut Jr.

495 books31.7k followers
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 journalist before joining the U.S. Army and serving in World War II.

After the war, he attended University of Chicago as a graduate student in anthropology and also worked as a police reporter at the City News Bureau of Chicago. He left Chicago to work in Schenectady, New York in public relations for General Electric. He attributed his unadorned writing style to his reporting work.

His experiences as an advance scout in the Battle of the Bulge, and in particular his witnessing of the bombing of Dresden, Germany whilst a prisoner of war, would inform much of his work. This event would also form the core of his most famous work, Slaughterhouse-Five, the book which would make him a millionaire. This acerbic 200-page book is what most people mean when they describe a work as "Vonnegutian" in scope.

Vonnegut was a self-proclaimed humanist and socialist (influenced by the style of Indiana's own Eugene V. Debs) and a lifelong supporter of the American Civil Liberties Union.

The novelist is known for works blending satire, black comedy and science fiction, such as Slaughterhouse-Five (1969), Cat's Cradle (1963), and Breakfast of Champions (1973)

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 3,053 reviews
Profile Image for donkeymolar .
31 reviews55 followers
July 7, 2008
On April 11, 2007 ,at around 6am, I awoke to NPR news announcing that Kurt Vonnegut had passed away.
Normally I would just go back to sleep, but I popped out of bed and went to my computer to confirm that it was really true (because you know how NPR gives false information all the time and shit).
Then my next thought was to go to Half Priced books and buy every Kurt Vonnegut book there.
So I set my alarm for 9am so I could make sure I was there when they opened the doors because I didn't want to have to wrestle anybody for those books. (Sometimes I am not always the most rational person)
I was lucky enough to find a 1st edition of this book.
That evening I read it and basically cried through the whole thing. I remember saying to my dad, while sucking back snot and tears, "There is no one else to replace him. Nobody thinks they way he did."
I wanted to take Kurt Vonnegut and package him up and preserve him forever. What can I say, I'm the Jeffrey Dahmer of the literature world.
But how selfish of me, right? The man was 84 for christ's sake.

This is probably the worst "review" ever, because it is not really a review.
Who am I to review Kurt Vonnegut?
I'm no one, just another mediocre mind in this world.
And all I know that a someone great is now gone.
Profile Image for Ahmad Sharabiani.
9,566 reviews55.9k followers
November 12, 2021
A Man Without a Country, Kurt Vonnegut

A Man Without a Country is an essay collection published in 2005 by the author Kurt Vonnegut.

The extremely short essays that make up this book deal with topics ranging from the importance of humor, to problems with modern technology, to Vonnegut's opinions on the differences between men and women.

Most prevalent in the text, however, are those essays that elucidate Vonnegut's opinions on politics, and the issues in modern American society, often from a decidedly humanistic perspective.

عنوانهای چاپ شده در ایران: «مرد بی وطن»؛ «مردی بدون وطن»؛ اثر: کورت ونه گات؛ تاریخ نخستین خوانش: روز بیست و پنجم ماه دسامبر سال2012میلادی

عنوان: مرد بی وطن؛ اثر: کورت ونه گات؛ مترجمها: پریسا سلیمان زاده اردبیلی؛ زیبا گنجی؛ مشخصات نشر تهران، مروارید، سال1386، در138ص، مصور، جدول، واژه نامه، شابک9789648838527؛ موضوع: سرگذشتنامه نویسندگان آمریکایی سده 21م، ایالات متحده آمریکا، سیاست و حکومت از سال1993م تا سال2001م

عنوان: مردی بدون وطن؛ اثر: کرت ونه گات؛ مترجم: علی اصغر بهرامی؛ مشخصات نشر: تهران، نشر چشمه، سال1390، در128ص، مصور، نمونه، شابک9789643624255؛

نویسنده در این اثر، با بی پروایی، به نقد سیاستهای دولت «آمریکا» در زمان ریاست جمهوری «جورج دبلیو بوش» میپردازند، و از رویکردی که «آمریکا» نسبت به سایر کشورها از جمله «عراق» دارد، سخت بیزار است؛ «ونه گات» که خود در بمباران «درسدن»، و در جنگ جهانگیر دوم حضور داشته، و برای «آمریکا» جنگیده است، در این کتاب اذعان دارد، که خود را «آمریکایی» نمیداند؛ این اثر به همین خاطر «مرد بی وطن» نامگذاری شده است

تاریخ بهنگام رسانی 20/10/1399هجری خورشیدی؛ 20/08/1400هجری خورشیدی؛ ا. شربیانی
Profile Image for J.L.   Sutton.
658 reviews838 followers
December 11, 2020
“Many years ago I was so innocent I still considered it possible that we could become the humane and reasonable America so many members of my generation used to dream of."

Image result for vonnegut

Kurt Vonnegut's darkly twisted cantankerous humor mixed with genuine compassion for the human condition makes its way into A Man Without a Country. This book, apparently the closest thing to a memoir Vonnegut ever wrote, is a must read for Vonnegut fans (and I definitely count myself in that camp). Vonnegut has a way of looking at the world that is often quite rationale, but all the same surprising (and sometimes disturbing). This is a great start to Vonnegut's thinking or a great companion for those who have already read some of Vonnegut's classics like Cat's Cradle or Slaughterhouse Five.
Profile Image for Lyn.
1,851 reviews16.4k followers
May 29, 2017
A while back another writer, a reviewer, a critic, or whatever we are called, described a Kurt Vonnegut novel as another fun visit with Uncle Kurt. I really liked that description and have since plagiarized that avuncular idea to denote reading a Vonnegut book.

Like another of my favorites, Robert A. Heinlein, who has also been described as a crazy old uncle you run into at a reunion, Uncle Kurt can make you laugh, make you a little uncomfortable, and most of all make you think.

A Man Without A Country has been described as possibly the closest thing we Vonnegut fans may get to a memoir from him. Like all the rest it is filled with his unique perspective on the world and with maybe more acerbic wit and vitriol, and somewhat less playfulness, that can be remembered from most of his works.

Written in 2004, he did not like George Bush and was unabashedly opposed to the Iraqi invasion. He opined that like Mark Twain and Einstein before him, he had given up on humanity, that he had simply grown too grumpy to be funny anymore.

Let me respectfully disagree, I smiled throughout most of the short book (145 pages) laughed several times and almost fell out of my chair at his explanation as to why he did not win the Nobel Prize for Literature.

This latest visit with crazy Uncle Kurt was as fun as ever.

Profile Image for Jenna ❤ ❀  ❤.
765 reviews1,142 followers
May 18, 2020
Gates Of Heaven Open It GIF - GatesOfHeaven OpenIt Clouds GIFs

"Kurt is up in heaven now."

If you've read A Man Without a Country, you'll know I'm fulfilling a wish Kurt Vonnegut made in this book.

If you haven't read it, let me explain.

At a memorial service for the great science fiction writer Isaac Asimov, Kurt opened his tribute with the quip, "Isaac is up in heaven now". 

This of course elicited many chuckles. Mr. Asimov was atheist and probably no one in this room of humanists believed in an afterlife, whether it be heaven, hell, reincarnation, or floating around haunting people and inspiring movies in which Whoopi Goldberg has to help a deceased Patrick Swayze reunite with his grieving love Demi Moore.

Cute Couple GIF - Cute Couple Pottery GIFs

Recalling the laughter he evoked with his joke, Kurt wrote, "If I should ever die, God forbid, I hope you will say, 'Kurt is up in heaven now.' That's my favorite joke". 

And so there it is, Mr. Vonnegut. I have fulfilled your pre-dying wish.  You can thank me when I too get to heaven.

Sarcastic Laugh GIF - Sarcastic Laugh Funny GIFs

Thank you. Thank you very much.

If you enjoy this sort of dry humor, you will appreciate this book. Mr. Vonnegut displays his gift of sarcasm throughout, which brought about many chuckles from me.

A Man Without a Country is a collection of essays Mr. Vonnegut wrote a couple years before he died. He deliberates on many things - art, technology, American "patriotism", socialism, sex, politics, and more.

It was interesting to note the criticism Mr. Vonnegut had of Bush, Cheney, and Co., and of their travesty of a war. His biting assessment makes one wonder what he would have had to say about the current administration had he lived long enough to see Agent Orange take control of the White House. His critique of the Bush administration seems almost excessive, when many of us actually feel nostalgia for the days when we had that goofy, grinning puppet in the Oval Office rather than the nefarious and dangerous fool who is there today.

Sadly, Mr. Vonnegut is no longer with us. If he is looking down from some heaven, we can only wonder what he would say about the current fiasco. Will someone please get Whoopi/Oda Mae Brown out of isolation? I'd love to hear Kurt's thoughts.

I leave you with a few quotes from the book:

"The America I loved still exists at the front desks of our public libraries."

To so-called patriots:
"They don’t hate us for our purported liberty and justice for all. They hate us now for our arrogance."

On those in power:. "They aren’t really interested in saving lives. What matters to them is being listened to.... If there’s anything they hate, it’s a wise human."  (And this was said during the Bush years. Again, imagine what he would have had to say today!)

On climate change:  "It seems to me as if everyone is living as members of Alcoholics Anonymous do, day by day. And a few more days will be enough. I know of very few people who are dreaming of a world for their grandchildren."

On humanism:  "We humanists try to behave as decently, as fairly, and as honorably as we can without any expectation of rewards or punishments in an afterlife."

On hypocrites:. "For some reason, the most vocal Christians among us never mention the Beatitudes. But, often with tears in their eyes, they demand that the Ten Commandments be posted in public buildings.... 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!"

We lost this brilliant man too soon.
Profile Image for Darwin8u.
1,559 reviews8,668 followers
December 15, 2016
"As long as there is a lower class. I am in it.
As long as there is a criminal element, I'm of it.
As long as there is a soul in prison, I am not free."

-- Eugene Debs, Quoted in Kurt Vonnegut, A Man Without a Country


We use humor to dull the pain. We use drugs too, but humor often costs less and last longer. I think one of the reasons I've been so drawn to Vonnegut the last couple weeks is our recent election. Vonnegut almost seems to be a Rosetta Stone for our times. He wrote this, his last book, in 2005. The subtitle of the book was A Memoir Of Life In George W Bush's America. It is both amazing and frightening to think that Dubya's America seems now, 11-years later, so tame and restrained compared to the circus that is slouching slowly towards DC.

Vonnegut, when I was young as impressionable made me unafraid to call myself a humanist (in my religious milieu a humanist is a dirty word... like socialist and feminist). His voice is often the voice I hear in response to news columns that are dumb, politicians that are corrupt, or corporations that seem unrepentant about their growing bottom line.

Like Mark Twain, Vonnegut appeals to the young and the sweaty masses while simultaneously ribbing them ever so gently. Hell, in that way Vonnegut and Twain were a bit like Jesus. I wonder what Vonnegut would think about that comparison? I wonder what Jesus would have thought? Perhaps, it is a bit early, but maybe a kid born in the last couple years will do for Vonnegut what Paul did for Jesus. Maybe in 200+ years there will be a Church where the Blues gets played and on certain Sundays people take turns reading from 'A Man Without a Country" and talking about the time when Vonnegut emerged "unstuck from time" from that tomb in Dresden.

F#%k and Amen.
Profile Image for Jon Nakapalau.
4,818 reviews649 followers
March 8, 2023
Kurt Vonnegut - the 'wise' uncle who tells stories that get you ready for life - one minute you are laughing...then BAM! - you are hit in the gut with philosophical punch. Great 'overview' of where we are at today. Really made me think of all the increasing polarization that is happening in politics all over the world - hauntingly timely.
Profile Image for seak.
429 reviews474 followers
May 31, 2012
I think it's a rule that you have to quote Vonnegut if you review his work. I've been bad about it in the past, but this book is essentially just a quotable book. What better time to start. :)

Some of my favorite quotes from A Man Without a Country:

"Here is a lesson in creative writing. First rule: Do not use semicolons. They are transvestite hermaphrodites representing absolutely nothing. All they do is show you've been to college."

"There is a tragic flaw in our precious Constitution, and I don't' know what can be done to fix it. This is it: Only nut cases want to be president."

"If you actually are an educated, thinking person, you will not be welcome in Washington DC." (About Bush I'm sure, but really applies in general)

"We are here on Earth to fart around. Don't let anybody tell you any different."

"You know, the truth can be really powerful stuff. You're not expecting it."

"We have to continually be jumping off cliffs and developing our wings on the way down."

This is one of my favorites that I come back to often. It's both humorous, but a very good and real summation of the arts and why it's important to keep creating:

"If you want to really hurt your 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 possibly can. You will get an enormous reward. You will have created something." (emphasis added)
Profile Image for Fereshteh.
250 reviews566 followers
February 3, 2016
من کورت ونه گات را دوست دارم
و با این حال با عرض شرمندگی هنووووز "سلاخ خانه ی شماره پنج" ش رو نخوندم
پ.ن: بالاخره خوندمش

این اثر، داستان نیست. گونه ای از بازگویی خاطرات نویسنده س به سبک غیرمعمول خاص خودش ولی بیشتر از خاطرات، طرزفکر ونه گات رو راجع به خیلی چیزها عیان می کنه. ونه گات مثل یه بابابزرگ پیر طناز دوست داشتنی تا دلتون بخواد به جون جرج بوش غر میزنه و به عنوان کهنه سربازی در جنگ جهانی دوم، سیاست های جنگ طلبانه و سلطه گرانه و دروغگوی امریکا رو زیر سوال می بره
( کتاب سال 2005 منتشر شد که همزمان با بحبوحه ی حمله ی امریکا به عراق برای یافتن سلاح های کشتارجمعی! بود)

انسان ها رو تا دلتون بخواد سرزنش می کنه که در فاصله ی زمانی کمتر از صدوپنجاه سال بعد از اختراع خودرو و هواپیما و ...، زمین تنها سیاره ی ممکن برای حیات و محیط زیست رو این طور به گند کشیدند. از تکنولوژی متنفره و در فصلی مبتکرانه لذت بیرون رفتن برای ارسال یک بسته پستی، راه همیشگی خودش، رو با انجام کار مشابه بوسیله ی کامپیوتر مقایسه می کنه و انصافن هم چیز خوشمزه ای در اومده

کتاب ، یک بخش جالب هم داره کلاس تخیلی آموزش داستان نویسی ونه گات که سیر داستانی کتاب های مختلف رو با رسم نمودار نشون میده
بخش نامه های مردم و جوابی که ونه گات براشون فرستاده بود هم خوب بود.در پایان هر قسمت، نویسنده جملات قصاری از بوکونون آورده.همون مدعی پیامبری و پیشگویی جهان در رمان گهواره ی گربه که کار جالبی بود

خلاصه این که هرچند ونه گات ادعا می کنه پیر شده و قدرت طنازیش رو از دست داده ولی این کتاب هنوز هم می تونه شما رو به فکر ببره و بخندونه
Profile Image for Madeleine.
Author 2 books854 followers
May 30, 2013
And if I should ever die, God forbid, I hope you will say "Kurt is up in heaven now." That's my favorite joke.

In a country that gets its feathers ruffled beyond all rational allowance should one commit the hell-worthy trespass of bidding someone else of unknown spiritual beliefs an all-encompassing, meant-to-convey-well-wishings-without-presumption "Happy holidays" and thus betray one's role as a covert hippie cog in the heathen machine that's making a religious majority feel increasingly insecure about its apex-predator status, we have been blessed with the bastion of razor-sharp wit and level-headed wisdom of Kurt Vonnegut, Jr., a man who knew that "[h]umor is a way of holding off how awful life can be, to protect yourself" and has offered shelter through laughter, however sardonic it may get, to anyone who's sought either full-on refuge or just a few hours of necessary escapism behind the shield of his words.

Ever since I picked up and tore through Slaughterhouse-Five much to my surprised delight, Vonnegut has held a special place in my terminally uncool, fiercely enthusiastic bookworm heart. I was not expecting masterfully balanced humor and heartbreak and a tale that positively trounced my initially wary approach in a matter of pages -- and KV has left me absolutely dazzled if not downright delighted time after time, book after book. I usually help myself to a few of his works every year, ever mindful that I don't want to gobble them up too quickly and be left with nothing until more posthumous releases make their way to publication (though it's not like Vonnegut was stingy with his output). I've been craving his words and particular perspective a bit more keenly than usual after having felt his influence practically radiate off the pages of George Saunders's own variations on black humor; this, rather than a novel, turned out to be exactly what I'd wanted.

What I got with this collection was what one back-cover blurb so correctly asserted to be "like sitting down on the couch for a long chat with an old friend." A Man Without a Country, published two years before Vonnegut's death, during what seemed an especially hopeless stretch of Dubbya's ill-gotten presidential stronghold, is nothing but a mosaic of the writer comprising a parade of varied but interlocking short essays. And even though it features the proclamation that Mr. Vonnegut had lost hope in humanity toward the end of his life, so much of what he put forth in these collected essays contradicted such an uncharacteristic statement from one of the most cautiously optimistic and darkly hilarious writers I've ever had the good fortune to know through his brainchildren.

This all-too-short collection -- equal parts biography, writing guide (complete with hand-drawn plot diagrams!) and celebration of creativity, no matter how ham-fisted, an On Writing of Kurt's own -- served as a spot-on capstone for the literary legacy he left behind, as Vonnegut intended it to be his last published work. Far from the cranky, doddering old man he could have become, the insights here betray the good-hearted core of an archly lucid humanist who has seen (and, indeed, lived through as a WWII soldier and POW) the worst his fellow Earthlings can do to each other but still sees a glimmer of hope for their future. He knows we've trashed the Good Mother and her finite resources all in the name of greed and getting from A to B in record time, that we've used our scientific advances for chiefly devastating effects rather than giant leaps toward good, that politicians are paving the way for a bleaker, more selfish way of life but zeros in on the saintly individuals ("By saints I mean people who behaved decently in a strikingly indecent society," he says) who've made the most of their stay on this hurdling blue marble to the betterment of their tiny but significant microcosm. There is hope in these unsung minor heroes and Vonnegut gives a voice to their songs, as there's no hope for the human species but for a few remarkable creatures who do everything they can to benefit whomever they can with whatever they've got.

Between a sci-fi moniker (a label not of the author's choosing, as discussed herein alongside his vaguely Luddite inklings) stemming from his seemingly outlandish visions of the future and his satirical but not caustically so lampooning of all the things wrong with our current society that very well could be handily laying the foundation for such oncoming terrors if we don't address the problems immediately, Vonnegut has left a giant, blinking neon sign pointing toward a better tomorrow for all who are brave and willing enough to downsize their egos to follow his lead. He's like the impatient but understanding grandfather we all so desperately need to point out our failings but follows up the well-meaning criticism with a cookie and hug, whose high standards but well-earned belly laugh make one want to live up to the good-of-us-all standards he has so thoughtfully set up for those who dare to take a gander at the blueprints.

I honestly don't know if the world is a better place since Vonnegut issued his last collection. I know it's a little more witless without him but I also know that, on a much smaller scale, I've been able to improve my staunchly pessimistic regard for my fellow two-legged beasts when I stop judging the whole and admire the day-to-day efforts of those individuals whose good intentions have them railing against the ugliness that could be so easy to submit to if not for their determination to keep fighting the good fight in the stead of greater minds who've fought before. A Man Without a Country is the rally cry for anyone who wants to prove that optimism isn't always a symptom of naïvety, that it's only by objectively understanding the bigger picture and your place in it that you can hold an educated opinion about how much better things can be and how we can slowly but steadily make it there.

God bless you, Mr. Vonnegut (and I hope you would have appreciated the joke, sir).
Profile Image for Dave Schaafsma.
Author 6 books31.3k followers
February 1, 2023
A Man Without a Country is a collection of often very funny and angry essays about the state of the planet (and maybe particularly, the US) published in 2005, when Kurt Vonnegut was 83. Two years later he was dead. Vonnegut holds up Mark Twain as a fellow humorist who found a way to help us laugh through terrible world experiences, though acknowledging that even Twain wrote angrily about things in this country he could not possibly laugh at. Vonnegut writes about the purpose of humor, as a way of dealing with anxiety and fear, and helping people better face these emotions, and the world. He also identifies some things he cannot find a way to laugh much about, such as Bush and the invasion of Iraq. And the fact that Reagan and Bush play a misdirection game in creating anti-drug campaigns, when the drug the planet most craves is oil, which we all know very well is destroying life on this planet.

Vonnegut's political hero was the socialist Eugene Debs, whom he often writes about in these books, knowing political memory is short. But he sees no real hope for thinkers such as Debs to save the world. He thinks the rich, the corporations, the politicians know we are doomed and just don't care. So there is bleak honesty in this book I appreciate.

I miss Vonnegut, and other social satirists such Lenny Bruce and George Carlin, though thankfully, we have their books and appearances preserved on YouTube.
Profile Image for Ali.
51 reviews48 followers
October 7, 2019
که را بیشتر دوست داری، بگو ای مرد راز آلود؟
پدر، مادر، خواهر یا برادرت؟
نه پدری دارم، نه مادری، نه خواهر، نه برادری.
واژه ای به کار بردید که تا امروز برایم گنگ مانده.
نمی دانم جغرافیایش کجاست.
الهه و نامیرا چه دوستش می داشتم.
بیزارم آنگونه که شما از خدایان.
دلبسته چیستی آخر ای بیگانه ی غریب؟
ابرها..ابرهایی که می گذرند، آن بالا، آن بالا...
ابرهای شگفت انگیز
شارل بودلر
Profile Image for Brian.
679 reviews323 followers
February 1, 2016
I have read much of Mr. Vonnegut's work over the years, and one of the things I always admired about him was how practical he was in what he said. He was an avowed socialist, while admitting that socialism has never worked, a professed crank, who saw the best in people, etc. I don't know what happened to that guy, but he was the not the guy who wrote this book.
"A Man without a Country" is so full of bitterness and bile that it clouds over some of the truly remarkable essays in this slim text. The book is formatted as a loosely connected batch of essays, and there are some that are vintage Vonnegut in their style and content. The essays "Here is a lesson in creative writing", and "I have been called a Luddite" being prime examples. They are enjoyable, insightful, and worth rereading and sharing.
But then the book takes a very bitter turn and never comes back from it. It appears that like his literary idol Mark Twain, Vonnegut became very disillusioned and hateful in his late life. What drew me to Vonnegut years ago was a recurring theme that appeared in so many of his works, the idea that we each have a duty to treat others respectfully and with kindness. Vonnegut himself even said in earlier works that "he never wrote heroes or villains". He knew that judgment was best left to others. But this book is hateful towards those whose political or philosophical views differ from Vonnegut. It is like seeing a person that you greatly admired being exposed as a fraud. Vonnegut (in this book, which is nonfiction) is mean spirited, and all of the things he spent so much time earlier in his life begging us all not to be.
Simply put, it makes me sad.
I have now read this text twice, about three years apart, and I won't waste the time (with the exceptions mentioned above) again. It depresses me, and distorts the view of Vonnegut I would rather maintain in my mind. Read his earlier works, especially the lovely "God Bless You Mr. Rosewater" and skip this one.
Profile Image for Steven Godin.
2,314 reviews2,190 followers
October 29, 2021

The highest treason in the USA is to say Americans
are not loved, no matter where they are, no matter what
they are doing there.

Whilst his novels can be enjoyed by pretty much anybody, I think some of his non-fiction, especially here in these short autobiographical essays, with themes such as warmongering presidential administrations and corrupt profiteering, will cut deeper with Americans. But still, he is always such a pleasure to read, can be real funny, but always with that deeper, more serious message within, and it's no different here. And to think, had he been the oldest sibling of three he might not have graced up with his literary presence and slick comical satire at all.

"the youngest child in any family is always a jokemaker, because a joke is the only way he can enter into an adult conversation."
Profile Image for Chris Dietzel.
Author 26 books399 followers
March 26, 2020
I rarely read a book twice--there are just too many books to read in this world and not enough time to read them all. This is one of my exceptions, though, and I loved it even more the second time than the first. Vonnegut is incredibly interesting, down-to-earth, and funny as he goes on rants about America, people in general, and all the things he's seen during his life. Highly recommended for anyone who has ever read and enjoyed a book by Vonnegut, but also highly recommended for anyone who wants to see what living through something like the Dresden bombings does to your outlook on life.

Update: I just read this for the third time. Like Vonnegut, I feel like a man without a country. I wouldn't be surprised if I re-read this every four years to coincide with the election cycle, as I don't understand how people keep voting for the same nonsense election after election to ensure nothing ever changes. The fact that Vonnegut also didn't feel like he fit in with the country he once knew makes me wish he was still around so I could give him a hug.
Profile Image for Paria:D.
46 reviews21 followers
March 2, 2017
مرد بي وطن
در كنار رمان هاي گوناگون، گاهي خواندن چنين كتاب هايي كه حاصل يك عمر تجربه ي مردي دنياديده است،بد نيست. مثل اين است كه به پاي حرف هاي پيرمردي بنشيني و اجازه بدهي هرچه ميخواهد از اين دنيا گله كند بلكه آرام شود. هميشه شنيدن ديدگاه سالخوردگان درباره ي حقيقت زندگي، جذاب است.
كورت ونه گات، اين آخر عمري خود را مردي بي وطن مي نامد. او بسيار شاكي است از سياست جنگ جوي آمريكا، مصرف بي رويه ي نفت، به گند كشيدن طبيعت و جو فضاي زمين، جنگ هاي پي در پي بر سر قدرت، سلاح هسته اي، نابغه هايي كه به جرگه ي كثيف دولت ميپيوندند و... حال در سنين پيري، در سرزميني كه برايش جنگيده احساس غربت ميكند.احساس بي وطني. حق هم دارد.

نويسنده وصيت ميكند كه اگر خداي ناكرده روزي مردم اين را روي سنگ قبرم بنويسيد:
"تنها دليل او
براي اثبات وجود خداوند
موسيقي بود."
البته ميگويد چيزي كه به زنده بودنش ارزش مي بخشد، سواي از موسيقي، قديساني است كه ملاقات كرده است و منظورش از قديس كسي است كه در اين جامعه ي فوق العاده ناشايست، به طرز شايسته اي رفتار ميكند.

طبق نظر ونه گات، اين طنزپرداز قهار، فكاهي راهي است براي مقاومت در برابر مشقات زندگي براي در امان ماندن از آن ها؛ اما آخر سر هم به ستوه مي آيي. ستوه از اين زندگي فلاكت بار. از اين روست كه اين روزها فكاهي، ناياب و كمدي پردازان هم جدي شده اند و كمتر خبري از شوخي و طنز است.

-به نظرت تو آدم با استعدادي هستي؟
+ نه، ولي تمام آثار هنري نشانگر مبارزه هنرمند است عليه محدوديت هاي خودش
Profile Image for Caro the Helmet Lady.
759 reviews341 followers
December 22, 2017
"But I am eighty-two. Thanks a lot, you dirty rats. The last thing I ever wanted was to be alive when the three most powerful people on the whole planet would be named Bush, Dick and Colon.”

Well, I wonder what thoughts mr. Vonnegut would have after last year's elections...

I don't want to review this book in detail - it's good, it's vonnegutian, it's funny and clever, and you should read it yourself, it'll take you a couple of hours, no more. And that was my only problem with this book - it was too short. :)
Profile Image for Nasim Dehghan.
82 reviews31 followers
October 20, 2016
ونه گات فوق العاده بود حسابی عاشقش شدم. تازه این کتاب مجموعه مقالاتش بود. همه نوشته ها رو دوست داشتم ولی می خوام این قسمتش همیشه یادم بمونه:
از همه شما که به سن و سال نوه هایم هستید عذر می خواهم. و خیلی از شماها که این کتاب را می خوانید احتمالا هم سن نوه هایم هستید. آن ها هم درست مثل شما، از طرف دولت و شرکت های دورانِ انفجارِ جمعیت، کلاه گشادی سرشان رفته و دروغ ها شنیده اند. بله، اوضاع این سیاره بدجوری آشفته شده. هرچند، همیشه آشفته بوده. هیچ وقت "روزهای خوش و خرم" به خود ندیده، فقط ایام را گذرانده. و من همیشه به نوه هایم می گویم " به من نگاه نکنید. من تازه به این جا رسیده ام."
کله پوک هایی هستند که می گویند آدم بزرگ نمی شود مگر آن که مثل خودشان از یک مصیبت بزرگ -مثلاً دوران رکود اقتصادی، جنگ جهانی دوم، جنگ ویتنام و این چیزها- جان سالم به در برده باشد. مسئول این داستانِ من درآوردیِ ویرانگر، داستان سراها هستند. بارها و بارها در قصه ها پس از مصیبت های اسف بار، شخصیت داستان سرانجام می گوید "حالا شدم یک زن واقعی. حالا شدم یک مرد واقعی. پایان"
عموی خوبی داشتم،عموی مرحومم آلکس. او برادر کوچیکه ی پدرم بود، بی اولاد و فارغ التحصیل هاروارد و در ایندیاناپولیس فروشنده آبرومند بیمه عمر بود. با معلومات و فهمیده بود. دلخوری عمده اش از آدم ها این بود که می گفت بیشتر مردم وقتی خوشحال اند خودشان حالی شان نیست. برای همین مثلاً وقتی در تابستان زیر درخت سیب لیموناد می نوشیدیم و خوش خوشک از این در و آن در می گفتیم، مثل زنبورعسل وزوز می کردیم، عمو آلکس یک دفعه رشته ی چرت و پرت های خوشایندمان را پاره می کرد و با صدای بلند می گفت "آخه اگه این قشنگ نیست، پس چی قشنگه؟"
حالا من هم همان کار را می کنم، بچه ها و نوه هایم هم همین طور. تروخدا وقتی شاد هستید، لطفاً آن دم را دریابید و به هر شکلی که می توانید، با صدای بلند یا زیر لب یا توی دلتان بگویید "اگه این قشنگ نیست، پس چی قشنگه؟" ک.و
Profile Image for Kevin.
477 reviews71 followers
February 2, 2023
A Man Without a Country (2005) is Vonnegut’s last publication before he died (2007). It is a collection of introspective essays with a somewhat pessimistic eye toward the future of human civilization (if he was this distraught about 2005 imagine how he would have felt about 2016!). This short book might be the closest he ever came to gifting us an autobiography.

“If this isn’t nice, I don’t know what is.”
Profile Image for Christopher Howard.
73 reviews94 followers
April 7, 2018
I find it funny how so many Vonnegut fans are able to gloss over Vonnegut’s flirtations with socialism, love Vonnegut as a writer and person (a Hoosier, ain’t he, dammit?), and yet have revulsive responses to others mentioning, questioning, and engaging with socialism. I know I’m remembering wrongly, but when I think of Vonnegut and his writing patterns, I imaginatively think that he mentions Eugene Victor Debs in the first 15 pages of all of his books. Certainly it happens in one of them, perhaps in a couple.

And now I want to read Marguerite Young’s biography of Debs (which Vonnegut blurbed favorably!)
Profile Image for نیما اکبرخانی.
Author 3 books117 followers
January 2, 2020
خدا رحمتت کنه آقای ونه گوت
اولین کتاب چالش کتاب خوانی امسالم رو عمدا از ونه گوت انتخاب کردم تا بتونم علاوه بر شروع چالش یه صفایی هم بکنم.
این کتاب به نوعی وصیتنامه کورت ونه گوت هست و توش می‌شه از هر دری، سخنی، رو به وضوح دید. کورت ونه گوت به شدت سیاسی بوده و توی این کتاب هم مشهود این رویه رو ادامه داده و از هیچ فرصتی برای بیان دیدگاه های سیاسی خودش صرف نظر نمی کنه. همینطور این کتاب به بیان سایر دیدگاه های او پرداخته و نهایتا جستجوی کوتاه ولی عمیق و درخشان در باب معنای زندگی هم داره. از دستش ندید ، هم با ترجمه علی اصغر بهرامی عالیه و هم حسین شهرابی.
خدا رحمتت کند آقای کورت ونه گوت جونیور عزیز.
Profile Image for Jason Koivu.
Author 7 books1,206 followers
July 13, 2012
As seems to happen often, I became a fan of Vonnegut during college. It's been a few years since then and so to finally hear him writing in his own voice about his own thoughts, as opposed to getting to know him through the eyes of his fictional characters, was very cool. The sarcasm, the dry wit, that cynical-yet-hopeful view of the world...ah yes, if Mark Twain had a 20th Century doppelganger, it was Vonnegut.
Profile Image for Negativni.
148 reviews65 followers
February 23, 2017
“Persuasive guessing has been at the core of leadership for so long, for all of human experience so far, that it is wholly unsurprising that most of the leaders of this planet, in spite of all the information that is suddenly ours, want the guessing to go on.”

Ovu kratku knjigu je Vonegut napisao u osamdeset četvrtoj godini i nevjerovatno je koliko je i tada bio pun života i volje za kritiziranjem.

Svojim prepoznatljivim britkim stilom piše o svemu što mu padne na pamet. Ima tu malo autobiografijskih zapisa, odličnih savjeta o pisanju uz grafikone, gdje je priložio i kratke osvrte na neka od najpoznatijih literarnih djela, ima i politike, pa malo savjeta kako se bolje nositi sa životnim nedaćama, a sve je prožeto njegovim prepoznatljivim humorom zbog kojeg se ova knjižica ne ispušta iz ruku dok se ne pročita.

Iako sam uživao u čitanju petica mi je prevelika ocjena jer mi se čini da je Vonnegut skupio ono što mu se u tom trenutku našlo na stolu i to poslao izdavaču.
Profile Image for صان.
395 reviews232 followers
January 12, 2018
مجموعه‌ای از حرف‌های آقای ونه‌گوت درباره همه چیز.
و البته حرف‌های آقای ونه‌گوت حرف‌های خیلی خوبی هست. و ارزش خوندن داره. طنز هم هست گاهی و تلخ.
قسمتی که فراموش نمی‌کنم‌اش، هیچوقت، موقعیه که درباره مهم بودن زیبایی‌های لحظه‌ای و کوچیک حرف می‌زنه و ماجرای پست کردن‌ کارهاش رو برای ناشرش شرح می‌ده. که چطوری به تمام جزئیات زندگی‌ش توجه می‌کنه و ازشون لذت می‌بره.

و البته اینکه خوشی واقعی، خیلی ساده و زودگذر هست و اگه چشم‌مون رو به‌روش باز نکنیم مثل ماسه از میون انگشتا می‌ریزه پایین و از دست‌اش می‌دیم.
Profile Image for Samadrita.
295 reviews4,512 followers
June 18, 2013
People may find fault with Vonnegut for his know-it-all, been-there-done-that tone in this memoir. People may not even find anything new or insightful in here since every person well-versed with current affairs and the nitty-gritties of international politics has at least a second-hand knowledge of America's present day troubles. But what people are certainly bound to appreciate is Vonnegut's mordant wit and his fine sense of humour.
Profile Image for Milo.
40 reviews116 followers
July 14, 2011
Kurt Vonnegut is a national treasure. Period. It was my intention to expand upon my opinion of Kurt Vonnegut in this review but the above statement alone seems sufficient. I love Kurt Vonnegut. Fuck Fox News. I hate Fox News because they hated Kurt Vonnegut. What did he do wrong? He spoke the truth. He spoke without flourish or innuendo, straightforwardly, about things that are taboo. Fox would rather lie to you and discredit an honest man after his death than risk you going out and reading his books. Well, I say, go out and get yourself an enormous, teetering tower of Kurt Vonnegut books. They'll pull the wool from your eyes. Education, ladies and gentleman, is the only key to a brighter future. Stop watching television, listening to the radio, and giving credence to major media sources. They'll lie to you till you don't know right from left. Instead, I urge you to expand your mind with the only thing us humble citizens still have at our disposal that remains untarnished: books, heaps and heaps of glooooooooooorious books. Good reading to you.
Profile Image for MJ Nicholls.
2,008 reviews4,004 followers
January 21, 2012
Something of a misnomer, this title: “A Memoir of Life in George W. Bush’s America.” Hmm. No. In fact, Kurt’s final book is another collage of pieces taken from public speeches, and various articles commissioned for the publication In These Times. Michael Silverblatt described this book as a “response to a plea”—that plea coming from the editors of Seven Stories Press, who tickled Vonnegut into writing little chunks again. Any fresh writing from an eighty-three-year-old man is hard to come by, and Kurt recycles passages from previous books, most notably Dr. Kevorkian. But who cares? This collection is deftly edited to give Kurt’s words real power through brevity, and a cadence is established throughout, building to a moving climax. Not bad for a man without a country. The excrement has truly hit the air conditioner. (P.S. Portions of this appear in this excellent speech).
Profile Image for Vahid.
296 reviews17 followers
December 24, 2019
کتابی که در عرض چند ساعت خوانده شد!

ونه‌گات طنز پردازی نابغه است.
دیدگاهی چنین استوار و نگاهی چنین عمیق و طنزآمیز در سن ۸۳ سالگی دو سال قبل از مرگ به معجزه بیشتر شبیه است تا به واقعیت!
نگاهی ضد جنگ و دوستدار طبیعت و تا حدودی ضد تکنولوژی دارد.
فوق‌العاده زیبا و خواندنی بود.
این کتاب سلسله مقالاتی است که در یکی از روزنامه‌های آمریکایی چاپ شده در سال ۲۰۰۵
قسمت داستان‌نویسی با رسم منحنی‌های سینوسی و بخش نامه‌های رسیده واقعاً عالی بودند.
Profile Image for Amir .
555 reviews38 followers
November 13, 2014
کتاب مجموعه مقاله‌های ونه‌گات پا به سن گذاشته است در سال‌های حمله به عراق و جنبش‌های ضدجنگ. ونه‌گات با این‌که دیگه چندان به طنز اعتقاد نداره، اما هم‌چنان سعی می‌کنه با قلم نیش و نوش‌دارش برای مخاطب هم‌وطنش از بی‌وطنی بگه. از آمریکای «بوش، دیک، و کالین» که حسابی کلافه‌ش کرده

دو سه تا یادداشت زندگی‌نامه‌ای ابتدای کتاب ارزش خوندن دارن
Profile Image for Steven.
477 reviews1,724 followers
February 9, 2018
"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.

A Man Without a Country also includes one of the best diagrams ever, of Kafka's narrative arc:


It's the first time that I include an image in a Goodreads review. I had to.
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