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God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater

3.95  ·  Rating details ·  63,325 ratings  ·  2,277 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
Paperback, 288 pages
Published September 8th 1998 by Dial Press (first published 1965)
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Average rating 3.95  · 
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Lisa
“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
...more
Lyn
Jul 20, 2011 rated it really liked it
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
...more
Ariel
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. ...more
Fergus
Jan 28, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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).

So,
...more
J.L.   Sutton
Oct 26, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
“Hello, babies. Welcome to Earth. It’s hot in the summer and cold in the winter...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.”

Image result for pearls before swine vonnegut

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. There is a cartoon strip with this novel’s subtit
...more
BlackOxford
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
...more
Steven Godin

I do love a good rant in a novel. And although this work might feel light on plot, it contained some really funny bellowing speeches that made up for it - a good few on behalf of Senitor Rosewater - whose son Eliot, the forty-three-year-old protagonist, is quite literally driven insane - or should that be oversane - by his quest for equality. Heir to a multi-million dollar fortune, he renounces his life of being a playboy and heads from the eastcoast to the run-down midwest town where his ancest
...more
Dan
Dec 12, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2016, 2016-books
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
...more
Madeline
Jul 22, 2008 rated it really liked it
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
Darwin8u
May 24, 2012 rated it really liked it
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

description

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
...more
Jenna ❤ ❀  ❤
Sep 28, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: satire, fiction
Another winner from Vonnegut. This one is very funny, more so than perhaps any others I've read of his. Well worth reading for his insights on corporate and personal greed but also because it's fun.

Favourite quotes:

The sound "must have scared Charley Warmergram half out of his secretary".

"E pluribus unum is surely an ironic motto to inscribe on the currency of this Utopia gone bust, for every grotesquely rich American represents property, privileges, and pleasures that have been denied the many.
...more
Leonard Gaya
Dec 11, 2020 rated it liked it
When, in the beginning, the Father created Man and Woman, he took a good look at everything that he had made and declared that, indeed, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning. He then left these hairless talking apes to graze for a time in his luxury garden. But when he realised they were discussing the merits of their naked bodies and eating up his orchard, thus leaving next to nothing for his divine apfelstrudels, he scratched his beard and reconsidered. The hairless ape ...more
Brian
Feb 09, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
"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
...more
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
...more
Melki
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
...more
Chris Spaight
Jul 17, 2014 rated it it was amazing
A funny exploration of capitalism and definitions of sanity.
Gabrielle
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
...more
Manny
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. ...more
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
...more
Brett C
Feb 08, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: kurt-vonnegut
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
...more
Nick
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 is a plot, but it's less important than the ideas Vonnegut is presenting. It's a polemic about wealth – the timeline doesn't matter so much.

There's more to Eliot Rosewater here th
...more
Wanda Pedersen
Do not give what is holy to the dogs; nor cast your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you in pieces. (Matthew 7:6)

Kurt Vonnegut was ahead of his time. How many people in 1965 were concerned about the gap between rich and poor? The drawbacks of capitalism? Or the environment? As he said elsewhere, we were rolling drunk on petroleum at this point in history. All these ideas were just getting started, shaking up the status quo. Here in the early 21st ce
...more
Girish
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
...more
Dusty Myers
Oct 23, 2008 rated it did not like it
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
...more
Ashley
I did not expect to love this book so much, but it really hit me pretty hard. I liked Sirens of Titan by Vonnegut just fine, it was fun, and I really liked Slaughterhouse-Five, but I didn't connect to it emotionally like I did God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater. Near the beginning of the book, there's a moment when Eliot Rosewater is thinking about Vonnegut's stand-in writer character, Kilgore Trout, who is Eliot's favorite author (see quote below, which also applies to sci-fi and fantasy writers in g ...more
Carrie
Jan 28, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: cynical idealists
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Shaun
Sep 25, 2013 rated it liked it
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
...more
Danger
Mar 28, 2011 rated it really liked it
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
...more
Nada Elshabrawy
Mar 21, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audio, english, kindle
God Bless you Mr.Vonnegut.
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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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“Thus did a handful of rapacious citizens come to control all that was worth controlling in America. Thus was the savage and stupid and entirely inappropriate and unnecessary and humorless American class system created. Honest, industrious, peaceful citizens were classed as bloodsuckers, if they asked to be paid a living wage. And they saw that praise was reserved henceforth for those who devised means of getting paid enormously for committing crimes against which no laws had been passed. Thus the American dream turned belly up, turned green, bobbed to the scummy surface of cupidity unlimited, filled with gas, went bang in the noonday sun.” 249 likes
“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.” 223 likes
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