A Man Without a Country

by Kurt Vonnegut

Other authorsDaniel Simon (Editor)
Hardcover, 2005

Call number




Seven Stories Press (2005), Edition: First Edition, 160 pages


In a collection of brief autobiographical essays, the renowned novelist offers his views on art, politics, and everyday life in America. A Man Without a Country is Kurt Vonnegut's hilariously funny and razor-sharp look at life "If I die-God forbid-I would like to go to heaven to ask somebody in charge up there, Hey, what was the good news and what was the bad news?"), art ("To practice any art, no matter how well or badly, is a way to make your soul grow. So do it."), politics ("I asked former Yankees pitcher Jim Bouton what he thought of our great victory over Iraq and he said, Mohammed Ali versus Mr. Rogers."), and the condition of the soul of America today ("What has happened to us?"). Gleaned from short essays and speeches composed over the last five years and plentifully illustrated with artwork by the author in full color throughout, A Man Without a Country gives us Vonnegut both speaking out with indignation and writing tenderly to his fellow Americans, sometimes joking, at other times hopeless, always searching.… (more)

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LibraryThing member wortklauberlein
If he wasn't famous, this book would probably have no audience. Though perhaps my harshness is due to 1. listening to an over-emoted audio version dripping with a sardonic tone and/or 2. reading this too long after the world events he writes about. But really, meh.
LibraryThing member MOSF
This is basically an amalgamation of brief rants by Mr. Vonnegut. It reads like the writings of a 16 year old socialist who denounces the world's evils with half-baked arguments. Not too funny and and rather witless, I'm disappointed, as I have enjoyed some of his novels.
LibraryThing member 5hrdrive
More relevant today than when it was first written. God Bless You, Kurt Vonnegut, the world needs you back!
LibraryThing member kerowackie
Not really an autobio, but a quick read of his thoughts on the world at age 83. Recommended reading for anyone who was turned on by his wit, sarcasm and plain truth from the 60s on. Still a wise liberal after all these years.
LibraryThing member dczapka
While some of the material in this book sounds familiar (certain sections appeared in print before in God Bless You, Dr. Kevorkian), the unmistakable voice of Vonnegut comes through in a most unusual but welcome way here.

There's a comfort in this book, a combination of vitality and vulnerability,
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as if the by-this-point grizzled octagenarian was not trying to veil anything behind fiction but merely telling you what was on his mind. Because of this, the book has both a very stream-of-consciousness sensation and a clear sense of purpose and organization -- as if Vonnegut himself has become this set of ideas that he can project with ease.

Sure, certain parts may come off a bit heavy-handed and obvious, but the nonfiction mode and his age allow him to get away with it. And even when he admits that he's past being funny, he's hilarious -- and he's most hilarious when he's being deadly serious.

As a final punctuation mark to one of the finest American literary careers, there's nothing more appropriate this, a text that feels like a close, personal conversation with a well-known friend.
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LibraryThing member urhockey22
Not the greatest thing Vonnegut ever wrote, but it is concise, direct, and has some sharp sarcastic humor. You can hear the anger, sadness, and desperation. It is worth the couple of hours read and doe sa good job of condensing the feelings of many disgruntled Americans into an articulate plea to
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their fellow citizens.
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LibraryThing member KurtWombat
I believe everyone should read Kurt Vonnegut. I also believe that if you read him at only one time in your life, it should be when you are young. Most of the Vonnegut I have read was before or well before I was 30. His various novels, especially my favorite SLAUGHTERHOUSE FIVE, detail the worst of
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what the world might offer but also the best of how we can handle it. However fantastic the goings on, the strength of our humanity will be what gets us through. This is largely why he was so popular among college kids in the sixties who were tossing off the time worn structures of religion and politics and embracing humanism. I took his books as a tuning fork setting the tone for how I perceived the world: hard but not without hope. What fascinated me about this collection of Vonnegut materials (mostly worth reading) is that it seemingly unconsciously reveals what happens to old humanists. When you consider humanity responsible for all that is wicked and wonderful in the world, you have no safety net other than your own contentment with what you have done. And part of getting older and older and old is evaluating the paths you have chosen that determine that contentment. This book indicates this isn't always a restful process. Vonnegut's humor and humanity still twinkle but also at times a gloom is cast that can be quite unsettling--as if hope had escaped Vonnegut. In my 50's now, I pride myself on still hearing that tone I picked up from Vonnegut years ago. Sometimes I have to strain to hear it or seek a quiet place from which to listen--but it is still there. That is not always evident for Vonnegut himself in this book. Maybe this explains the title better than anything else. In the end we are our own countries, our own world, our own responsibility. As we live, we learn but knowledge should not be the enemy of hope--but it certainly has a habit of wounding it.

While pondering this review I kept thinking of the Coen Brothers and in particular their movie THE BIG LEBOWSKI. I would like to think that among the last thoughts of Kurt Vonnegut was something as reassuring as "The Dude Abides". If you don't know what that means watch the movie. If then you still don't know what it means, watch it again. So it goes.
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LibraryThing member carolcarter
I read Kurt Vonnegut's latest book A Man Without A Country yesterday after finishing the two reviewed below (it is very short). In his inimitable Vonnegutian (sic) way he has captured the despair of all the American citizens who have been paying attention the last six years. Vonnegut reminds me
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somewhat of George Carlin, another favorite author and the coiner of the moniker "Big Silver Douche Bag", referring to Barbara Bush. The more that woman opens her mouth, the more she earns it. Vonnegut's book comes with what he loosely calls drawings. If you have read any of his work you will know what I mean. At 82 years old and a veteran, as well as a POW, of World War II, he has more right than most to be dismayed but he will make you laugh at the same time.
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LibraryThing member joeltallman
I love Kurt Vonnegut, as my book collection will attest, but this collection of essays is way uneven in interest and quality.
LibraryThing member Lindsayg
Like so many of us, I was thinking about Mr. Vonnegut when he passed away recently. Somebody described this as the closest he came to writing an autobiography. It's really nothing like an autobiography, in my opinion, it's more like a rant. I got the feeling he had a lot of very strong opinions
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that he felt like had to get off his chest, and he does that very well, and briefly here. I enjoyed it. I'm not quite as convinced as he was that we're all going to hell in a handbasket, but I do agree with him on a lot of things.
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LibraryThing member defrog
As many have said, it’s part essay collection, part ramblings of a grumpy old man. But as I’ve also said in the past, Vonnegut’s throwaways are more entertaining and full of more wisdom than the best achievements of others. Even when I don’t agree with some of his points (such as KV’s
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defense of Ludditism), he’s still funny.
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LibraryThing member marysargent
A short book of Vonnegut's musings on his life and life in general. After reading his first book, Player Piano, written 53 years ago, and not terribly good, it was a pleasure to read this and remember what he was like when he was good. Some really funny bits. And some dark despair. He gets a bit
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repetitive as the book goes on, but I feel such affection for him that I forgive.
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LibraryThing member RavenousReaders
“We're all a little puzzled about what to do next but we'll think of something.”

Mark Vonnegut
May 7, 2007

After learning of Vonnegut's death, fans of his writing knew exactly what to do next—read Vonnegut. Whether you turn to Slaughterhouse Five or this latest collection of essays, we read
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Vonnegut to pay homage—and for a good laugh.

A recurring line throughout the essays:
“If I should ever die, God forbid….”

God forbid, indeed.

Reviewed by: Sandy
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LibraryThing member Mike129
My rating might be a little high as I am a pretty big Vonnegut fan.
LibraryThing member disneypope
Fun read. KV's swipe at the pluperfect mess our government, nation, and world is in all critiqued with KV style.
LibraryThing member midlevelbureaucrat
Took less than a morning to read, and it's already one of my favorite books of the year! Full of opinion, rants, KV articulates my frustrations and passions of this era better than any other I've read recently.
LibraryThing member tsutsik
An attempt to an autobiography. I think Vonnegut didn't have enough strength left in him to write a real story of his life. As it stands now the book is a collection of oneliners and sweeping statements. This makes sometimes shallow reading, although lots of his statements make you think. Many of
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them very dark: ''We have squandered our planet's resources, including air and water, as though there were no tomorrow, so there isn't going to be one.'' Sometimes a bit more optimistic: ''What you can become is the miracle you were born to be through the work that you do.''
If you haven't read anything from Vonnegut I would suggest you read some of his other books first (my personal recommendations: 'Slaughterhouse 5' and 'Galapagos'),before you turn to this book, which presupposes some familiarity with his novels.
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LibraryThing member TanyaTomato
Author is certainly pessimistic about the outcome of the human race. But in the meantime appreciate happiness when you have it. Not a story but his own perspectives.
LibraryThing member KayCliff
The octogenarian Vonnegut reflects on the nature of humour, the arts, the greatest books, the greatest Americans, religion, family, technology (abominated), war, humankind ... all fascinating to read, of course, from such a pen. There is no index -- but how could there be? Vonnegut's own dictum in
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his novel, Cat's Cradle, is, `never index your own book'. And how could such
very personal musings be given over to another hand to index?
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LibraryThing member aznstarlette
My kind of humour. I read this book in three hours; the book is quite simple, really, but definitely a great read! Classic Vonnegut.
LibraryThing member Justjenniferreading
I watched a PBS interview with Kurt Vonnegut and they were talking about this book. I found him to be a very interesting and satirical man. I had never heard of him before and was intrigued by watching him.

There were many times throughout the book that I thought to myself "that is exactly what I
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was thinking." I liked that he was not afraid to say what he felt and I got the feeling that he didn't care who heard him.

This book lead me into my quest for reading all Kurt Vonnegut I can get my hands on. I am looking forward to reading much more in the future.
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LibraryThing member Mieux
A quick read, but a treasure. Not a bad book for those who have never read anything by the author before. Very quickly, you get a sense of who Kurt is, what he believes in, and the humorous stance he has taken in order to get "through this thing, whatever it is."
LibraryThing member cithen
Quite funny throughout. It's a short, but satisfying read, really only a few hours. Very curt, but poignant discussions on a variety of topics ranging from politics to the meaning of life. Some repetition occurs, but only a few times, that's the worst I have to say about it. I'm glad someone left
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it behind in the hotel courtyard.
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LibraryThing member plaeski
I picked this up on a whim at the library and I couldn't have chosen a better read.

Vonnegut was a man that not only wrote about the bombing of Dresden in Slaughterhouse Five, but actually lived through it himself. Using that experience as a lens, he expresses his views on our current conflicts in
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the middle east. As you can imagine, he takes a hard line stance against warmongering and the glorification of killing. It's not a new perspective, but one that carries some weight while being incredibly interesting to read.

Along side said essays are his interesting musing on life and the human condition. I often find myself searching for meaning in life and welcome any new perspectives, regardless of how pessimistic they may be.

A very enjoyable read that I will be recommending to those that haven't already read it.
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LibraryThing member kvesser
Excellent political commentary; autobiographical and humorous. Essential Vonnegut.




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