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A Man Without a Country: A Memoir of Life in George W. Bush's America [Hardcover]

Kurt Vonnegut
3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
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Book Description

6 Feb 2006
"A Man Without A Country" is Kurt Vonnegut's hilariously funny and razor-sharp look at life, art, politics, himself and the condition of the soul of America today. Written over the last five years in the form of a loose memoir, with the examples of Mark Twain, Jesus Christ, Abraham Lincoln, and a saintly doctor named Ignaz Semmelweis powerfully in mind, "A Man without a Country" is an intimate and tender communication from one individual to his fellow humans - sometimes kidding, at other times despairing, always searching. It is illustrated throughout with Vonnegut's trademark artwork.

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing PLC; First Edition edition (6 Feb 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0747584060
  • ISBN-13: 978-0747584063
  • Product Dimensions: 20.8 x 15.2 x 2.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 497,364 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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.

Product Description


'Thank God, Kurt Vonnegut has broken his promise that he will never write another book. In this wondrous assemblage of mini-memoirs, we discover his family's legacy and his obstinate, unfashionable humanism' Studs Terkel 'Vonnegut's A MAN WITHOUT A COUNTRY is pure late Twain, darkly funny, never less than enraged at corruption and greed, and overflowing with compassion for the powerless. We've never needed him more' Russell Banks 'The verve for life amid stunningly depressing news, and that backhanded, refreshingly brutal, but infinitely whimsical way of viewing the world around him, continues to stand out in every odd word Vonnegut puts to paper.' The Onion 'Like his literary ancestor Mark Twain, his crankiness is good-humoured and sharp-witted, and aimed at well-defended soft spots of hypocrisy and arrogance.' New York Times Book Review

From the Publisher

Timely and passionate book by the bestselling writer: The nearest Vonnegut
may ever come to writing an autobiography --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Expressions of grief 29 Dec 2005
By Stephen A. Haines HALL OF FAME
If exile from one's homeland is grievous, then having your country pulled out from under you must be infinitely worse. Kurt Vonnegut expresses his strong feelings of betrayal at what the USA has become in his lifetime. He's angry and resentful, and every page in this little book seethes with his wrath. He has spent many years describing the warts his society exhibited, hoping his country would take heed of his words and excise the faults. It's almost as if nobody read his books, or at least take his criticisms seriously. Now, in advanced years, he is at his most direct in fulminating at the foibles of his countrymen. He hopes it isn't too late for the USA to return to the values it, and he, once cherished.

Vonnegut's mentor, Mark Twain, expressed the same sadness and remorse over the same people. That might suggest things haven't really gotten worse. Vonnegut, however, recognises that his country today exercises vastly more influence in the world, both physically and morally than that of Twain's day. "In case you haven't noticed" he cries, elections are stolen in the USA, its unelected leaders have dehumanized millions, "so I'm a man without a country". He fears things will go beyond this condition to apply the same standards to the entire planet. He foresees an epitaph for "the good Earth - we could have saved it, but we were to damn cheap and lazy."

The phrase "bitter old man" is certain to occur to readers of this collection. That judgement, of course, flies in the face of the voice of a man who's watched the course of the USA in a long lifetime. His most famous work, "Slaughterhouse Five", subtitled "The Children's Crusade" was a humanist's cry for increased awareness among his readers.
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Still as sharp as ever 14 Feb 2006
By A Customer
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Great to see that Vonnegut is still as wise and as cutting as ever in this latest (hopefully not last...at 83 we still don't to lose him!) outing. Although some of the ground (and a few of the anecdotes) may be familiar to diehard fans, his razor wit and observation couple with this outrage at the evils of the world and you can't help but be uplifted. What a spirit, what a guy!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
By Eileen Shaw TOP 1000 REVIEWER
Old men often get progressively more conservative the older they get, but Kurt Vonnegut was never that kind of old man. A socialist in a country which venerates and promotes the interests of capitalism beyond all other principles, he has long been a lonely voice standing up for what he believes. He's one of the greatest of a very short list of American anti-authoritarianists. His best novels are undoubtedly Slaughterhouse 5 and Cat's Cradle. It was on the basis of the anthropological content of Cat's Cradle that Vonnegut was awarded a degree by the University of Chicago in 1971. He died at the age of 83 in 2007, following a fall at his Manhattan home.

This set of writings is a kind of brief touchstone for many of his central concerns. The only problem is that they are brief and often retain the levity and wit at the expense of the passion of the principles behind them. If this book was all you knew of Kurt Vonnegut you'd probably think he was just a carping lightweight. The substance of the man doesn't come through. But read it anyway, because it's fun, it's also angry in places, and it contains a lot of feeling if you look beyond the throw-away quirkiness. RIP Kurt. Your like will not be easily found.
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19 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Too old to care how controversial he is. 26 April 2006
I love this book, and I have immense respect for Mr.V. I've read most of his books. He has turned me on to lots of ideas, Humanism being the main one.

In this round up of thoughts, he points out some very uncomfortable truths about the world we live in and our ignorance and he does this with frank bare-faced honesty, a man not long for this world he has so much to say to us, he has seen and been through so many things. He was in Dresden when the British bombed it, and the horror of it practically drove him mad, I believe his wife/mother drank Draino and killed herself, most of his friends are dead, he invented a religon and created Kigore Trout. When you read him, each sentence is loaded with thought and wit, he's like a full bodied wine.

I look forward to his next book.
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26 of 31 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Vonnegut is a legend 1 Feb 2006
if you haven't read vonnegut's novels then read them. all of them. now. (my personal fave is Breakfast of Champions). the man is a subversive genius with an astonishing imagination and a unique way with words.
if you have read his novels, then you will no doubt be in love with this guy. if so, then this book is a must-read. simple as that.
(p.s - anyone that doesn't like him must be either illiterate or a republican. so you might as well just ignore the bad reviews.)
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good 11 Jun 2011
By Dwrbach
Good collection of essays from a renowned writer that did provide good autobiographical insight not only into the man but into how he pursues his craft. Good service from Amazon. Recommended.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Awesome. 1 Feb 2012
By Jack H
I read this in a few hours in one sitting. The man was a genius when it came to exposing the society he lived in and sticking up for the ordinary folk. I've enjoyed everything he has written, highly recommend all his work.
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23 of 29 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Looks Promising 25 Jan 2006
After reading the extract in the Guardian, this looks like it might a good swansong for Mr Vonnegut. Some of the material might have appeared elsewhere, but hey, its a new Kurt Vonnegut book.
(I don't know what the Californian guys problem is. Possibly a disgruntled Bush fan...)
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