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A Man Without a Country

4.07  ·  Rating details ·  40,760 ratings  ·  2,629 reviews
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 hi ...more
Paperback, 160 pages
Published January 16th 2007 by Random House Trade Paperbacks (first published 2005)
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John I guess courtesy doesn't prevail after all.

Just think of it as a literary Parthian shot, before he went up to Heaven.…more
I guess courtesy doesn't prevail after all.

Just think of it as a literary Parthian shot, before he went up to Heaven.(less)

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Jul 06, 2008 rated it it was amazing
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 h
J.L.   Sutton
Dec 12, 2013 rated it really liked it
“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
Ahmad Sharabiani
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 deci
Mar 15, 2012 rated it really liked it
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
May 14, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Jenna by: Kev Chaloner
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 floatin
Dec 14, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: 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
Feb 24, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2010
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'
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 insecu
Chris Dietzel
Apr 30, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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 wan ...more
Caro the Helmet Lady
Dec 15, 2016 rated it really liked it
"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 t
Jon Nakapalau
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. ...more
Christopher Howard
Apr 29, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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, perha ...more
Jun 16, 2013 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Vonnegut fans
Recommended to Samadrita by: Madeleine
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. ...more
Jason Koivu
Jan 14, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: humor
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. ...more
"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 opti
MJ Nicholls
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, a ...more
Apr 30, 2011 rated it it was amazing
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 ...more
Feb 01, 2016 rated it did not like it
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. Th
Dec 13, 2016 rated it really liked it
واخ واخ واخ، من چي كار كنم از دست تو خب...
نميتونم پنج بدم بهش متاسفانه، فاقد المان هاي پنج-بگير بود...
ولي منظورم چهار و نيمه، حتي شايد چهار و شش دهم!

“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.”
Michael Jandrok
May 08, 2017 rated it really liked it
I have always found that reading Vonnegut is like a balm for the soul in troubled times. And my, aren't these troubled times? Vonnegut always had a handle on the utter horror of existence, dealing with it by way of satire and high comedy. A WWII veteran, a prisoner of war who witnessed firsthand the devastation of the firebombing of Dresden, Vonnegut hits right from the heart. That was always his genius, and I appreciate his balancing act a lot more as I have grown older.

This particular tome wa
Jeanette (Ms. Feisty)
Another good reads reviewer said that Kurt Vonnegut's death was such a great loss because "nobody thinks the way he did." So true, and such an understatement. There's just no other mind that works anything like his. Of course, every mind is unique, but most of us are depressingly ordinary, myself included. Sigh...

This book is an odd compilation of the meandering thoughts, observations and reminiscences of Vonnegut at the age of 82. There are some 2 star WTF moments where you have to make allowan
May 13, 2017 rated it really liked it
Sheesh, I haven't read Vonnegut in forever. It's a wonderful trip down memory lane to reconnect with his writing. This is a short collection, basically full of his musings and thoughts (often relating to contemporary issues of the times, written mid-2000s, so lots of focus on Bush/Cheney regime. Most of these musings absolutely still applicable to current political state/policies imo). My goodness if Vonnegut had been around for this... well I doubt he would have been surprised, I'll tell you th ...more
Nov 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A collection of essays by Vonnegut, reflecting on topics ranging from humor to war to sex. I felt sad reading it, as he passed away not long after this book came out ( 2007 ). And when it comes to Vonnegut, you can't help but quote the man and here's one of my favorites from this book: "How do humanists feel about Jesus? I say of Jesus, as all humanists do,'If what he said is good, and so much of it is good, and so much of it is absolutely beautiful, what does it matter if he was God or not?' Bu ...more
Feb 04, 2016 rated it it was amazing
First, I would just like to thank Kurt Vonnegut for living. His works have made my life so much more enjoyable.

Second, we really should appreciate life a little more. Whenever we're having a beautiful moment, we should say, "If this isn't nice, I don't know what is." We don't know how long our planet or humankind will be around, so embrace every beautiful moment.

Third, humans suck. We pillaged our only home, this beautiful planet, for "progress." Hogwash. But at the same time, the saints who fig
Dec 15, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Kurt Vonnegut fans
Shelves: non-fiction
This is the most human of Vonnegut's works--written when he was 82, shortly before he died. It's a thin volume that can be read in one sitting--and it gives new insight into this humanist writer who loved his country and the world so much that he spent most of his life FURIOUS at how stupid people could be. Each short essay begins with a quotation from Vonnegut, and the plot diagrams in chap. 3 on "creative writing" are hilarious. But this thin volume is full of anger as well as humor--Vonnegut' ...more
Nov 03, 2012 rated it liked it
I am a fan of Vonnegut's literary work, but this is a bit different. It's more a collection of rants and snippets of memoirs about literature, life, and politics. Of course his point of view is interesting and funny, but if you are looking for something more literary I suggest trying Galapagos or Slaughterhouse 5.

That being said, Vonnegut articulates clever and poignant diatribes about how humans are turning the world to crap, how our zest for technology is actually hurting us, and society's gen
Feb 03, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: murph, dave, hilary, alex... everyone!
It took me a LONG time to be ready to read this book after my favorite author died. It would be the last Vonnegut to read, how could I say goodbye?! But finally, as my little children slept peacefully last week, I took it up. I was not disappointed--not that I expected to be--and I command you all to read it too! Now!

I am in love with Kurt Vonnegut, and I will always regret that I never got to tell him that, may he rest in peace. And may the streets of heaven be lined in unfiltered Pall Malls.
Jul 07, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
According to Vonnegut most of the leaders of our world are nothing more than "persuasive guessers." In fact, "our leaders are sick of all the solid information that's been dumped on humanity by research and scholarship and investigative reporting." This book was published in 2007, and this statement seems to be even truer today. Many of our outlets for news seem to cater to our need to remain amused rather than informed.

Indeed, we live in a time where so much information is available we could be
Stephanie *Eff your feelings*
Jun 12, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: lit, humor
what a smart man. I liked this book very much, wish he was still around to write more.
Nov 02, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 1audio, 2non-fiction
"We are here on Earth to fart around. Don't let anybody tell you any different." pretty much sums up this book which reads more like an essay per chapter on Vonnegut's take on life at 82. Kind of fun, but his humor & opinions have palled for me. The idea that a typewriter is better than a word processor is ludicrous, so his argument for being a luddite wasn't funny, just sad. I'm not a city slicker, so the thought of spending time in line at a news stand & post office rather than just sending an ...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

Articles featuring this book

The word “essays” may bring up memories of tedious composition classes, but today’s collections are anything but dull. Whether it’s...
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“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.”
“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.” 4050 likes
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