Slaughterhouse-Five By Kurt Vonnegut


By Kurt Vonnegut

  • Release Date: 1970-02-15
  • Genre: Literary
Score: 4.5
From 1,204 Ratings


A special fiftieth anniversary edition of Kurt Vonnegut’s masterpiece, “a desperate, painfully honest attempt to confront the monstrous crimes of the twentieth century” (Time), featuring a new introduction by Kevin Powers, author of the National Book Award finalist The Yellow Birds
Selected by the Modern Library as one of the 100 best novels of all time
Slaughterhouse-Five, an American classic, is one of the world’s great antiwar books. Centering on the infamous World War II firebombing of Dresden, the novel is the result of what Kurt Vonnegut described as a twenty-three-year struggle to write a book about what he had witnessed as an American prisoner of war. It combines historical fiction, science fiction, autobiography, and satire in an account of the life of Billy Pilgrim, a barber’s son turned draftee turned optometrist turned alien abductee. As Vonnegut had, Billy experiences the destruction of Dresden as a POW. Unlike Vonnegut, he experiences time travel, or coming “unstuck in time.”

An instant bestseller, Slaughterhouse-Five made Kurt Vonnegut a cult hero in American literature, a reputation that only strengthened over time, despite his being banned and censored by some libraries and schools for content and language. But it was precisely those elements of Vonnegut’s writing—the political edginess, the genre-bending inventiveness, the frank violence, the transgressive wit—that have inspired generations of readers not just to look differently at the world around them but to find the confidence to say something about it. Authors as wide-ranging as Norman Mailer, John Irving, Michael Crichton, Tim O’Brien, Margaret Atwood, Elizabeth Strout, David Sedaris, Jennifer Egan, and J. K. Rowling have all found inspiration in Vonnegut’s words. Jonathan Safran Foer has described Vonnegut as “the kind of writer who made people—young people especially—want to write.” George Saunders has declared Vonnegut to be “the great, urgent, passionate American writer of our century, who offers us . . . a model of the kind of compassionate thinking that might yet save us from ourselves.”

Fifty years after its initial publication at the height of the Vietnam War, Vonnegut's portrayal of political disillusionment, PTSD, and postwar anxiety feels as relevant, darkly humorous, and profoundly affecting as ever, an enduring beacon through our own era’s uncertainties.

“Poignant and hilarious, threaded with compassion and, behind everything, the cataract of a thundering moral statement.”—The Boston Globe


  • Love this book!

    By dominy7
    I must have read this book 10 or more times when I was in school, even though the school’s “they” removed it from the library. Kurt Vonnegut Jr. is one of my favorite authors, and I am quite pleased that Apple has enabled me to own a copy of this book! ❤️
  • Should be Required Reading

    By Josey86
    This book is wonderfully philosophical. It gets you thinking. The writing style, with all the different moments of the story jumbled together is really playful and imaginative. It’s a heavy topic - war, death, life - but Vonnegut manages to do it in a playful way. I highly recommend this book to both Vonnegut fans and soon-to-be Vonnegut fans.
  • Amazing book

    By 5c0tt
    If you lived through war, I think this best describes what you feel when you come back. It sounds confusing unless you think about how to deal with injustice. So it goes
  • Classic

    By Epona@11111
    One of the best!!!
  • KV, Jr. The Extraordinary

    By JJMcPet
    Thank you. XO, jp
  • Second Time Reading

    By Jerry!!(67&
    Work of art. I am no literary critic nor expert. Whether you are looking for comedy, post-war sentiment or a great story, you will find something you love. Written artistically the format blends with the content, prose, and story narrative. But you don't have to have a B.A. in English to appreciate this novel. All you need is an open mind and 3 hours.
  • Tragic and beautiful.

    By jessebrunmeier
    I have a friend that teaches math and algebra at a high school. He suggested I read some of Kurt Vonnegut’s work. I’m a laborer at a factory and I suggest that you read some of Kurt Vonnegut’s work. I’m proud to own this book in it’s digital format, as well as in paperback and audiobook. Well worth the read, not for the faint of heart or for those with weak stomachs.
  • Vonnegut's Best

    By Dwardeng
    An insane blend of Science Fiction, War and comedy. You won't want to put it down.
  • "...and so it goes."

    By RJVanRiper
    The title is Mr. Vonnegut's famous phrase that came after a specific type of event within the book. I suggest that the savvy ninth grade reader, or adult read this book. It will help you understand hardship. It is interesting to see posttraumatic stress disorder described so relevantly before the term was coined or used in the DSM (diagnostics and statistics manual). Read it twice because you will miss things that you will enjoy finding again.
  • Unique and a classic. Hilarious and will give you goosebumps

    By Jed Wiant
    A stunner, that's for sure.