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God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater [Kindle Edition]

Kurt Vonnegut
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)

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Book Description

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 would soon make him a cult writer.

Trout, modeled according to Vonnegut on the science fiction writer Theodore Sturgeon (with whom Vonnegut had an occasional relationship) is a desperate, impoverished but visionary hack writer who functions for Eliot Rosewater as both conscience and horrid example. Rosewater, seeking to put his inheritance to some meaningful use (his father was an entrepreneur), tries to do good within the context of almost illimitable cynicism and corruption.

It is in this novel that Rosewater wanders into a science fiction conference--an actual annual event in Milford, Pennsylvania--and at the motel delivers his famous monologue evoked by science fiction writers and critics for almost half a century: "None of you can write for sour apples... but you're the only people trying to come to terms with the really terrific things which are happening today." Money does not drive Mr. Rosewater (or the corrupt lawyer who tries to shape the Rosewater fortune) so much as outrage at the human condition.

The novel was adapted for a 1979 Alan Menken musical.


Kurt Vonnegut (1922-2007) is one of the most beloved American writers of the twentieth century. Vonnegut's audience increased steadily since his first five pieces in the 1950s and grew from there. His 1968 novel Slaughterhouse-Five has become a canonic war novel with Joseph Heller's Catch-22 to form the truest and darkest of what came from World War II.

Vonnegut began his career as a science fiction writer, and his early novels--Player Piano and The Sirens of Titan--were categorized as such even as they appealed to an audience far beyond the reach of the category. In the 1960s, Vonnegut became closely associated with the Baby Boomer generation, a writer on that side, so to speak.

Now that Vonnegut's work has been studied as a large body of work, it has been more deeply understood and unified. There is a consistency to his satirical insight, humor and anger which makes his work so synergistic. It seems clear that the more of Vonnegut's work you read, the more it resonates and the more you wish to read. Scholars believe that Vonnegut's reputation (like Mark Twain's) will grow steadily through the decades as his work continues to increase in relevance and new connections are formed, new insights made.


Author Kurt Vonnegut is considered by most to be one of the most important writers of the twentieth century. His books Slaughterhouse-Five (named after Vonnegut's World War II POW experience) and Cat's Cradle are considered among his top works. RosettaBooks offers here a complete range of Vonnegut's work, including his first novel (Player Piano, 1952) for readers familiar with Vonnegut's work as well as newcomers."

Product Description


Vonnegut faces up to the less glamorous phenomenon of human mediocrity in this sharp, hilarious, boundlessly humane story. It taught me about compassion and a few things about writing good dialogue (Michel Faber Glasgow Herald )

Rumbustious stuff... There may be greater novelists than Vonnegut, but there can be a few, if any, with as much good humour and generosity (Guardian )

Filled with irony and black humour and a woozy bonhomie (Sunday Times )

Wild hilarity (Sunday Telegraph )

Extremely funny (Observer )

Book Description

The story of a man who reacts to past tragedy, family greed and fabulous wealth by promptly going insane

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 975 KB
  • Print Length: 290 pages
  • Publisher: RosettaBooks (21 Aug. 2011)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #63,205 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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More About the Author

Kurt Vonnegut was a writer, lecturer and painter. He was born in Indianapolis in 1922 and studied biochemistry at Cornell University. During WWII, as a prisoner of war in Germany, he witnessed the destruction of Dresden by Allied bombers, an experience which inspired Slaughterhouse Five. First published in 1950, he went on to write fourteen novels, four plays, and three short story collections, in addition to countless works of short fiction and nonfiction. He died in 2007.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars If you only read one book by Vonnegut... 16 May 2003
This is Vonnegut's best book. (Ignore all the hype surrounding "Slaughterhouse Five", and you won't be disappointed.) There are more quotable lines here than in anything except Hamlet. It will make you laugh a lot - and cry too, very possibly. More than thirty years after I first read it, I still keep coming back. And I know parts of it by heart (without necessarily being word perfect!) It begins "A sum of money is a leading character in this story about human beings, just as a sum of honey might be a leading character in a story about bees..."
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
By Sera69
This is a sharp but loving portrait, full of character and humour, of an imperfect America.

The story sees Eliot Rosewater squandering the profits on his fortune and slimy lawyer Norman Mushari wheedling to transfer those funds to Rosewater's impoverished rustic cousins (whilst inveigling a hefty commission for doing so!) To do this he must prove Eliot is insane, but when you have 87 million dollars, what is lunacy?

God Bless You, Mr Rosewater is a wonderful concise little story with a wry eye for the eccentricities of the super rich and a knowing wink to the delinquencies if the dirt poor, ending with a requisite twist that is beguiling and satisfying, and throughout retains the depth and intelligence of great literature.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Biting satire on inheritance and mediocrity 1 Oct. 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This is in my opinion one of the better Kurt Vonnegut books, where he brings all the insight and razor sharp criticism of the (modern) US society to bear like Duerrenmatt does for Switzerland (Meine Schweiz.: Ein Lesebuch) or Ryu Murakami does for Japan (but without the latter's violence). The book is focused on an inherited fortune, the people living off it and those wanting by all means to acquire it.

You have mental instability, sleazy lawyers, parodies of the moneyed classes and generally an indictment of both inheritance as a mechanism and the mediocrity it often (though by no means always) breeds. Yet it is not a one sided tirade against the rich or an uncritical endorsement of those financially less fortunate - mediocrity is addressed irrespective of what social strata the subjects are from.

The book is also a typical Vonnegut in its writing style, which may well make it a love it or hate it piece of work. It has plenty of quotable lines, is funny as well as somewhat chilling in its occassional prescience, and it definitely draws you in, in spite of the wealth of disparate characters and nothing so conventional as a linear storyline.

I found the book similar in style to the author's Breakfast Of Champions (Vintage Classics) and am sure that everyone who liked that one cannot go wrong here. It certainly requires being able to take a critical look at oneself to truly enjoy but is definitely well worth it.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Humorous and insightful 20 May 2011
After reading Slaughterhouse 5 I became interested in other books by the same author and was lucky to stumble onto this book. It has a lot of the same elements from the previously mentioned book, but is also quite different, and I can say that it was an enjoyable read. Apart from a lot of joking and ridiculous humor there is also a good amount of insight into certain types of people and ongoing problems in society today. It reminded me a bit of Joseph Heller, but it wasn't as funny as Catch-22, for example. I thought the ending left a bit to be desired, and I wish he would have elaborated more on certain storylines, but I would say that this is definitely worth reading if you like the style.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Quiet Masterpiece 5 Oct. 1999
By A Customer
Vonnegut is less appreciated than he should be, that goes without saying. This is not one of his most famous books, but in its quiet modest way is nevertheless a masterpiece. Terrifying in its depiction of an America at odds with itself, desperately trying to (re)discover the true values of love, family and caring for one another... Read it! Then join the Volunteer Fire Department.... :)
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
This is not so much a novel as such, as a satire or a fable. That is to say: it's not a book concerned with coherent plotting, character development, or with bringing to life a concreted picture of an imagined world. But it is a very effective attack on unearned wealth in 1960s USA - whether in the person of the half-eccentric, half-mad, central figure of Eliot Rosewater (obsessed with local fire brigades and a man who spends much of his life in institutions, when not doing good in the world by giving away money) or the less likeable figures of his father, the lawyer who decides to prove him mad, or the other rich people in the book. Unexpected turns abound, including quotations from the work of an imaginary science fiction author, Kilgore Trout, and a history of the fire-bombing of Dresden, paving the way for Vonnegut's next book, Slaughterhouse Five. Vonnegut has a point - and he makes it very convincingly and in considerable style. Just don't expect the normal rewards of a novel!
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4.0 out of 5 stars Short, precise and bloody funny 9 Jun. 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Another great, satirical romp by the mighty Kurt Vonnegut. If, like me, your starting point for KV was Slaughterhouse 5 and you're on a mission to read as much of his output as possible, this is a must. If this is your starting point, it's still a must.

Its short page count is stuffed full of Vonnegut's typical quirky characters, razor-sharp wit and deft prose. A darkly humorous swipe at High Society and the wealth gap that works just as well today as it did, no doubt, at time of writing.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Another great read from Vonnegut
Kurt Vonnegut never fails to deliver for me. Its quirky but its Kurt
Published 7 months ago by Nanook of the North
4.0 out of 5 stars Vonnegut at his very best
It was a treat to read this eccentric and intriguing satire on modern American attitudes to what would, centuries ago, have been considered saintly behaviour by a sensitive and... Read more
Published 12 months ago by Sam Simmonds
4.0 out of 5 stars Good read
Having read other books by Kurt Vonnegut , this I was looking forward to and didn't disappoint. The story was good and moved along at a good pace compared to slaughter house 5 this... Read more
Published 16 months ago by Amazon Customer
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting but not gripping
This kept my interest, but wasn't particularly memorable. I bought it after reading Slaughterhouse Five and may return to it once I've read more Vonnegut.
Published 17 months ago by Algy Lacey
5.0 out of 5 stars God Bless Kurt Vonnegut
If you have never read anything by Kurt Vonnegut you are missing a wonderful and funny writer with great humour and warmth who casts a satirical eye over the achievements of... Read more
Published 18 months ago by M. G.
5.0 out of 5 stars More brilliant Vonnegut
Once again, Vonnegut has succeeded in discussing a serious and pervading issue while making me laugh and keeping me entertained the whole time.
Published on 13 Jan. 2013 by Seb
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best
In my opinion, Vonnegut's second best behind Cats Cradles. A humanitarian masterpiece I guess? Eliot Rosewater is certainly one of the most charming protagonists in modern American... Read more
Published on 11 Sept. 2012 by Dan
2.0 out of 5 stars eccentric, naive, and often rather dull
After greatly enjoying some Vonnegut sci-fi, I was perhaps looking for the wrong thing with this book. Read more
Published on 14 May 2011 by rob crawford
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