A Man Without a Country

Version: Abridged
Author: Kurt Vonnegut
Narrator: Norman Dietz
Genres: Fiction & Literature, Literature, Essays & Memoirs, Essays & Anthologies
Publisher: Recorded Books
Published In: October 2005
# of Units: 2 CDs
Length: 2 hours, 30 minutes
Ratings:
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Overview

One of the greatest minds in American writing, Kurt Vonnegut has left an indelible impression on literature with such inventive novels as Cat's Cradle, Slaughterhouse-Five and Breakfast of Champions. Now this iconic figure shares his often hilarious and always insightful reflections on America, art, politics and life in general. No matter the subject, Vonnegut will have you considering perspectives you may never have regarded. On the creative process: "If you want to really hurt your parents ... the least you can do is go into the arts. I'm not kidding." On politics: "No, I am not going to run for President, although I do know that a sentence, if it is to be complete, must have both a subject and a verb." On nature: "Evolution is so creative. That's how we got giraffes." On modern cultural attitudes: "Do you think Arabs are dumb? They gave us our numbers. Try doing long division with Roman numerals." and on the fate of humankind: "The good Earth--we could have saved it, but we were too damn cheap and lazy." A Man without a Country showcases Vonnegut at his wittiest, most acerbic, and most concerned. Beyond the humor and biting satire is an appeal to all readers to give careful thought to the world around them and the people they share it with.

Reviews (3)

Some cheese with that wine

Written by danny from Hamlin, WV on July 19th, 2010

  • Book Rating: 2/5

Kurt is a great writer. I have become lost in his books BUT this is the rantings of a GUILTY man who hates himself. I understand he saw Germany bombed and has experiences that I do not but his unfounded anti-war claims are painful to listen to. He claims war only makes the rich, richer a baseless claim that has been spouted by the great unwashed masses for decades. He is a classic self hating americain. His radical left wing views on the enviroment that is based on unproven science is just polical fodder. Worse then all he is a self hating human being. On the flip side his crap is well written and almost bearable to my Americain loving, Proud to be a Human, Gas driven, God fearing @ss.

Cynisism can do more harm than good...

Written by Anonymous on July 26th, 2006

  • Book Rating: 2/5

Not to insult Mr. Vonnegut's writing ability, nor his lively sense of humor, but I found this book too cynical for my taste. If listening to a disgruntled 80+ year old is your cup of tea then more power to you, but personally, I think it takes less effort to be cynical and more effort to be progressive, forward thinking, and creative. For all the complaining that Mr. Vonnegut does, I at least expected some insights or recommendations as to what could be done better or changed. In this way, I think cynisism can often do more harm than good because it can destroy hope and create unnecessary doubt. If you are looking for an enlightening read, I would look elsewhere, this book is simply a medium for an old man to vent.

A Man Without A Country

Written by Paula Stober on May 6th, 2006

  • Book Rating: 5/5

An excellent bit of written wrath. Vonnegut has vented his spleen on Bush and his administration, lack of a US health care system and many other aspects of today's life. Funny and sharp.

Author Details

Author Details

Vonnegut, Kurt

Writer, novelist. Born on November 11, 1922, in Indianapolis, Indiana. Kurt Vonnegut is considered one of the most influential American novelists of the twentieth century. He blended literature with science fiction and humor, the absurd with pointed social commentary. Vonnegut created his own unique world in each of his novels and filled them with unusual characters, such as the alien race known as the Tralfamadorians in Slaughterhouse-Five (1969).


After studying at Cornell University from 1940 to 1942, Kurt Vonnegut enlisted the U.S. Army. He was sent by the army to what is now Carnegie Mellon University to study engineering in 1943. The next year, he served in Europe and fought in the Battle of the Bulge. After this battle, Vonnegut was captured and became a prisoner of war. He was in Dresden, Germany, during the Allied firebombing of the city, and saw the complete devastation caused by it. Vonnegut himself only escaped harm because he, along with other POWs, was working in an underground meat locker making vitamins.


Soon after his return from the war, Kurt Vonnegut married his high school girlfriend, Jane Marie Cox. The couple had three children. He worked several jobs before his writing career took off, including newspaper reporter, teacher, and public relations employee for General Electric. The Vonneguts also adopted his sister’s three children after her death in 1958.

Showing his talent for satire, his first novel, Player Piano, took on corporate culture and was published in 1952. More novels followed, including The Sirens of Titan (1959), Mother Night (1961), and Cat’s Cradle (1963). War remained a recurring element in his work and one of his best-known works, Slaughterhouse-Five, draws some of its dramatic power from his own experiences. The narrator, Billy Pilgrim, is a young soldier who becomes a prisoner of war and works in an underground meat locker, not unlike Vonnegut, but with a notable exception. Pilgrim begins to experience his life out of sequence and revisits different times repeatedly. He also has encounters with the Tralfamadorians. This exploration of the human condition mixed with the fantastical struck a cord with readers, giving Vonnegut his first best-selling novel.


Emerging a new literary voice, Kurt Vonnegut became known for his unusual writing style—long sentences and little punctuation—as well as his humanist point of view. He continued writing short stories and novels, including Breakfast of Champions (1973), Jailbird (1979), and Deadeye Dick (1982). Vonnegut even made himself the subject of Palm Sunday: An Autobiographical Collage (1981).
Despite his success, Kurt Vonnegut wrestled with his own personal demons. Having struggled with depression on and off for years, he attempted to take his own life in 1984. Whatever challenges he faced personally, Vonnegut became a literary icon with a devoted following. He counted writers such as Joseph Heller, another WWII veteran, as his friends.

His last novel was Timequake (1997), which became a best seller despite receiving mixed reviews. Kurt Vonnegut chose to spend his later years working on nonfiction. His last book was A Man Without a Country, a collection of biographical essays. In it, he expressed his views on politics and art as well as shed more light on his own life.


Kurt Vonnegut died on April 12, 2007, at the age of 84 as a result of head injuries sustained in a fall at his home in New York a few weeks earlier. He is survived by his second wife, photographer Jill Krementz, and their adopted daughter Lily as well as his six children from his first marriage.