Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.
2007 Hoosier German - American of the Year
(November 11, 1922 – April 11, 2007)
The "One Book, One City" campaign of 2007 has been part of "The Year of Kurt Vonnegut," a community-wide celebration of the life, literature and heritage of Indianapolis' native son. Yearlong programs included book talks, lectures, films, art exhibits, concerts and architectural tours.
"What if everyone read a book by Kurt Vonnegut?" In March, citizens' comments and recommendations led to "Indy's 5" final Vonnegut titles for consideration as "Indy's Choice." Slaughterhouse-Five, one of 25 books written by Vonnegut, was finally chosen for this year's "One Book, One City" theme. The other works were Cat's 'Cradle; A Man Without a Country; Palm Sunday and The Sirens of Titan.
INDY'S CHOICE FOR 2007: SLAUGHTERHOUSE-FIVE
Vonnegut classic selected for this year's
"One Book, One City" community reading experience
by Jon Barnes, IMCPL Communications Specialist
At the age of 23, Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. was a World War II POW in Dresden during the February 13, 1945 allied bombing of that city which left 130,000 people dead and the city leveled. Vonnegut uses this event as a starting point in his 1969 bestselling novel, Slaughterhouse-Five (FIC YON), chosen as this year's "One Book, One City" selection by IMCPL and the City of Indianapolis. Regarded as a classic, as well as one of his most popular works, Slaughterhouse-Five is the story of a disoriented and ill-trained American soldier, Billy Pilgrim, who is taken prisoner by the Germans and lives through the Dresden bombing, paralleling Vonnegut's experience.
The title of the book refers to the German name of the slaughterhouse where Billy and other prisoners are employed in the production of a vitamin supplement for pregnant women. As with other Vonnegut books, Slaughterhouse-Five uses an alternate title, The Children's Crusade, referring to Vonnegut's first chapter explanation of the Children's Crusade of the 13th century, in which children were sold as slaves. Vonnegut views war as comparable to child slavery.
Source: "Reading in Indianapolis," Indianapolis-Marion County Public
Library, May 2007