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God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater

3.95  ·  Rating details ·  57,939 ratings  ·  1,949 reviews
Second only to Slaughterhouse-Five of Vonnegut's canon in its prominence and influence, God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater (1965) presents Eliot Rosewater, an itinerant, semi-crazed millionaire wandering the country in search of heritage and philanthropic outcome, introducing the science fiction writer Kilgore Trout to the world and Vonnegut to the collegiate audience which woul ...more
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Published (first published 1965)
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Jul 20, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
One of the more outright funny novels by Vonnegut, God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater is a scathing social satire about greed, hypocrisy and good, though misshapen intentions. One of the most starkly telling scenes for me is near the end when Elliot has taken up tennis and lost all the weight, and it is as though he has awakened from a long sleep.

First published in 1965, Vonnegut shares the story of Eliot Rosewater, an heir to a rich estate who is restless and looks to find his way amid various philan
“The problem is this: how to love people who have no use?”

The question raised by the legendary fictitious author Kilgore Trout, in the face of a reality that deals with the ever increasing sophistication of machines, is of more urgency now than in 1965, when Vonnegut wrote this short masterpiece, almost prophetically announcing the world as we know it. It deals with the issues of wealth distribution, guilt, family patterns, inequality, greed, mental health, uselessness and heartlessness, while
Sep 06, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read this, very excitingly, to record a podcast episode with AS King. There were so many laugh out loud lines, or profound lines, that I actually ended up reading 80% of this book out loud to my boyfriend. I loved the main character and I think I'll be thinking about the money river for the rest of my life.
Aug 19, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: american
Secrets of the Money River

Vonnegut knew stuff about corporate life that most folk don't. Namely that 1) no one owns the corporation and 2) that the essence of the corporation is the separation of control (dominium in legalese) and benefit (usufructus). The corporation is essentially and magnificently useless. It is an arrangement that would have driven Roman lawyers insane, mainly because they equated control and benefit: if you got the use of something, you owned it. Breaking the link between c
J.L.   Sutton
Oct 26, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Kurt Vonnegut’s God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater or Pearls Before Swine looks at a man with nearly unlimited money, Eliot Rosewater, who wants to help the poor but more often seems out of touch, eccentric or downright insane.

Image result for pearls before swine vonnegut

There is a cartoon strip with this novel’s subtitle, Pearls Before Swine. Like Vonnegut’s own writing, this comic strip offers dark humor, crazy characters and lots of social commentary. I’m not positive Stephan Pastis, the creator, took the name of his comic strip from Vonnegu
Jan 28, 2020 rated it really liked it
I always seemed to have done things the way I wanted to when I was a kid.

Being mildly autistic, I learned things a lot differently than other kids - sometimes with none of it, especially math, sinking in!

I thought differently (but I was really half-dreaming).

I played piano differently (but I thundered downward on the keys, instead of flexibly moving my fingers Into them).

And I laughed hysterically (but usually with glee, especially at teenaged deranged cartoons like Rocky and Bullwinkle).

Dan Schwent
The Rosewater Foundation has more money than God. When Eliot Rosewater, the current head, starts making people nervous with all his talk of redistributing wealth, Norman Mushari decides to put Eliot's sanity to test in court and reaches out to the Rhode Island branch of the Rosewater family.

Kurt Vonnegut takes on capitalism and socialism in God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater, the fourth book of his I've read. I'm still not sure how I feel about the esteemed Mr. Vonnegut. I think his writing is excepti
Jul 22, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: the-list
Once I realized and accepted the fact that I will never completely understand what Kurt Vonnegut writes, it became a lot easier for me to read his books. My first attempt at reading his work - Cat's Cradle resulted in me staring at the page, mentally shouting at Kurt Vonnegut, "What are you even TALKING about?" Reading Slaughter-House Five went slightly better, and by the time I read Mr. Rosewater, I was completely at peace with Vonnegut's "maybe this all has deep meaning and maybe I'm just pull ...more
May 24, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2014
"Hello, babies. Welcome to Earth.
It's hot in the summer and cold in the winter.
It's round and wet and crowded.
At the outside, babies, you've got about a hundred years here.
There's only one rule that I know of, babies—
God damn it, you've got to be kind."

― Kurt Vonnegut, God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater


I've only got two big rules with my two babies (one boy, one girl): # 1 be happy, # 2 be kind. Everything else is negotable. It appears that Kurt Vonnegut independently arrived at the same conclusio
Ian "Marvin" Graye
Rude, but Not Construed

A satire on American society, capitalism, and religious and sexual hypocrisy, Vonnegut’s ensemble includes Eliot Rosewater (a less unfortunate Jay Gatsby/F. Scott Fitzgerald who lives long enough to be charitable with his family’s trust funds), his father Senator Lister Rosewater (a male incarnation of Ayn Rand, whose "Atlas Shrugged" was published eight years before and "The Virtue of Selfishness" the year before this novel) and science fiction novelist Kilgore
Feb 09, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater" is indeed, as many reviewers have said, Mr. Vonnegut's most blatantly socialistic book. However, it is also quite obviously his most Christian. The text's protagonist, Eliot Rosewater, is nothing short of a benign Jesus figure. Numerous biblical references throughout the text are used as corollaries to Eliot's life and the plethora of those references make Vonnegut's point pretty obvious for the reader.
This text is less plot driven than many of Vonnegut's other wor
Chris Spaigjht
Jul 17, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A funny exploration of capitalism and definitions of sanity.
Sep 24, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: humorous-fiction
"Corporations are people, my friend."
Mitt Romney, former Presidential hopeful and owner of a car elevator

The Rosewater Corporation was dedicated to prudence and profit, to balance sheets. Their main enterprise was the churning of stocks and bonds of other corporations. Their secret motto? Grab too much, or you'll get nothing at all.

They are also in charge of the capital of the charitable and cultural Rosewater Foundation.

Norman Mushari, a recent hire at a DC law firm (He had an enormous ass whic
The company I work for has a department called « corporate giving », and I can’t help but find that hilarious. These people’s job basically consists of working with a set budget for donation purposes, but they are also constantly looking for the way to get the best return on their charity. “If we sponsor event X, our name will be on their website, printed on a big banner and in the program, we get to invite clients to wine and dine them, and then we can network with the other guests, exchange bu ...more
Susan Budd
This is “a really good science-fiction book ... about money” (23), even though it’s not really a science-fiction book. The science-fiction is supplied by Kilgore Trout, who tells the same story as his creator.

In Oh Say Can You Smell? a dictator solves the problem of odors by eliminating noses. In God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater, the wealthy solve the problem of poverty by eliminating conscience.

And if that doesn’t work, they can borrow a page from 2BRO2B and build purple-roofed Ethical Suicide Pa
Jul 24, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The sentiments behind this book are pretty clear. It's hard to believe this is nearly half a century old, because it still feels stingingly relevant in a world of austerity, Tea Party Republicanism and millionaire presidential candidates.

The plot (such as it is) flops around sloppily, but that's Vonnegut for you.

There's more to Eliot Rosewater here than the character as presented in Slaughterhouse Five. In that other book, Rosewater comes across as a cynic, supplying meaningless platitudes. In t
Sep 20, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
My favorite bits are the two pornographic novels-within-the-novel, Garvey Ulm's Get With Child a Mandrake Root and Kilgore Trout's Venus on the Half-Shell, both marvelously suggested by illustrative paragraphs. Philip José Farmer was tasteless enough actually to write the second book. I suppose we can at least be glad that he didn't get around to writing the first one as well.
Brett C
Feb 08, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: dark-humor
I enjoyed reading this peculiar story. Kurt Vonnegut has such a unique approach to storytelling. His stories are infused with black humor, thought provoking themes, and a one-of-a-kind rhetoric.

I liked the main character Eliot Rosewater and his selfless endeavors. Throughout he provided much by acting as both financial and emotional support to total strangers. There is a lot to be said of someone like this.

The story dealt with humanity, mental illness/alcoholism, and conflicting greed/giving. K
Dec 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"The problem is this: How to love people who have no use?
In time, almost all men and women will become worthless as producers of goods, food, services, and more machines, as sources of practical ideas in the areas of economics, engineering, and probably medicine, too. So - if we can't find reasons and methods for treasuring human beings because they are -human beings- then we might as well, as has so often been suggested, rub them out."

After reading a handful of Vonnegut books, I can safely sa
Dusty Myers
Oct 23, 2008 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I had a friend back in Pittsburgh who was incredibly smart and very kind and funny, but had a tendency toward literary snobbishness. (I know: can you imagine such a person?) Once he had something disparaging to say about Kurt Vonnegut, I can't remember exactly what. Some well timed comment that pretty much wrote him off as a hack, and I recall being almost hurt by it, seeing as how Vonnegut wrote so much stuff I loved as a teen.

And I guess that's maybe the rub. I loved Vonnegut as a teen. Sure I
James Tingle
Mar 16, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

I have read six Kurt Vonnegut novels now and I think Cat's Cradle, Player Piano and this one, God Bless You, Mr Rosewater, are the best so far, with this one topping the list. Eliot Rosewater has inherited a load of money and doesn't feel he deserves such riches and lives with a nagging sense of guilt and a hatred of his privileged position in life, that he sees as more of a curse. He starts to drink a lot and wants to give large sums away and volunteers as a firefighter at one point, to further
Nada Elshabrawy
Mar 21, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kindle, english, audio
God Bless you Mr.Vonnegut.
Mar 28, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
2nd time reading this book: Vonnegut’s satire of American aristocracy is as poignant today as I imagine it would’ve been when he wrote it in 1965, perhaps unsurprisingly so, as the type of ‘old money’ ideology he paints in this novel is still the same kind of ‘old money’ ideology that exists today.

Written in the earlier half of his catalog, God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater occasionally drags its feet when considering Vonnegut’s oeuvre in its totality - but that’s only in comparing him against himsel
Jan 28, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: cynical idealists
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sep 25, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2013
3.5 bumped down to 3

I loved the social commentary in God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater and, similar to my experience with Cat's Cradle, found it to be a provocative read. Still, other than agreeing with a number of Vonnegut's insights and enjoying his humor, I didn't find myself the least bit invested in the characters.

Perhaps this is because Vonnegut's writing style is less exemplary story telling and more witty satire that reads like a cautionary tale/parable. So while his thoughts and ideas ar
Jun 30, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: humour, modern-lit
Hilarious. Bonus: one can read it and laugh without the horrified guilt that hangs over the reading of Mother Night because it is only about the bad stuff we do to poor people and basically nice white people are all in agreement that it's okay to live better at the expense of poor people.

I would love to pull bits of this out to show you how funny it is. The scene where Eliot gives money to the poet so that the poet can tell the truth and the poet discovers he has no truth to tell. He only though
Mar 11, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: novels
In the opening sentence of God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater, the narrator informs the reader that "A sum of money is a leading character in this tale about people..." The sum of money is the millions of dollars amassed over generations by the Rosewater family and currently held by the Rosewater Foundation, a charitable organization. Eliot Rosewater, the "Mr. Rosewater" of Vonnegut's title, is the current head of this organization. Much of the plot of the novel involves the efforts on the part of his ...more
It was so much fun to read another book by Vonnegut. I think that's really all I need to say.

It was fun, thought-provoking, and made me laugh.
Becky Carleton
Not my favorite Vonnegut novel, but worth reading for passages like this one:

"Hello, babies. Welcome to Earth. It's hot in the summer and cold in the winter. It's round and wet and crowded. At the outside, babies, you've got about a hundred years here. There's only one rule that I know of, babies-—God damn it, you've got to be kind."

That's what protagonist Eliot Rosewater, a rich philanthropist with PTSD, tells his estranged wife he's going to say at the baptism of two new babies in his communit
Caro the Helmet Lady
Why was I unconsciously imagining Donald Trump's idiotic self-contented smile every time senator Rosewater was mentioned in the book? Must be the zeitgeist.
I am amazed, how fresh and on time this whole Vonnegut's rant on riches feels today. But I'm not surprised. It's Vonnegut after all. Always leaves you laughing and sad. Because... humans?
Half star off - the ending felt a bit forced and whatever-ed. Other than that - excellent.
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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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