Synopses & Reviews
The first and only collection of unpublished works by Kurt Vonnegut since his deathaa fitting tribute to the author, and an essential contribution to the discussion of war, peace, and humanityas tendency toward violence.
Armageddon in Retrospect is a collection of twelve new and unpublished writings on war and peace. Imbued with Vonnegutas trademark rueful humor, the pieces range from a visceral nonfiction recollection of the destruction of Dresden during World War IIaan essay that is as timely today as it was thenato a painfully funny short story about three Army privates and their fantasies of the perfect first meal upon returning home from war, to a darker, more poignant story about the impossibility of shielding our children from the temptations of violence. Also included are Vonnegutas last speech as well as an assortment of his artwork, and an introduction by the authoras son, Mark Vonnegut. Armageddon in Retrospect says as much about the times in which we live as it does about the genius of the writer.
"When Kurt Vonnegut died in April 2007, the world lost a wry commentator on the human condition. Thanks to this collection of unpublished fiction and nonfiction, Vonnegut's voice returns full force. Introduced by his son, these writings dwell on war and peace, especially the firebombing of Dresden, Germany. The volume opens with a poignant 1945 letter from Pfc. Kurt Vonnegut Jr. to his father in Indianapolis, presenting a vivid portrait of his harrowing escape from that city. The fiction, full of his characteristic humor, includes stories about time travel and the impossibility of peace in the world ('Great Day') and, in the title piece, a kind of mock Paradise Lost, Dr. Lucifer Mephisto teaches his charges about the insidious nature of evil and the impossibility of good ever triumphing. In his final speech, Vonnegut lets go some of his zingers (jazz is 'safe sex of the highest order') and does what he always did best, tell the truth through jokes: 'And how should we behave during the Apocalypse? We should be unusually kind to one another, certainly. But we should also stop being so serious. Jokes help a lot. And get a dog, if you don't already have one.' So it goes." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Not the best introduction to Vonnegut, but certainly fascinating for his countless fans." Booklist
"Readers of Vonnegut's books won't find any surprises here, but because he is at his sardonic best when working in short form, they won't be let down by his humor and poignancy, either. Recommended." Library Journal
"This new collection...shows him at his best and worst. The satiric parables seem obvious and strained, but when he creates characters who suffer and question the world around them, he's at his best." Providence Journal
The New York Times bestseller-a "gripping" posthumous collection of previously unpublished work by Kurt Vonnegut on the subject of war.
A fitting tribute to a literary legend and a profoundly humane humorist, Armageddon in Retrospect is a collection of twelve previously unpublished writings on war and peace. Imbued with Vonnegut's trademark rueful humor and outraged moral sense, the pieces range from a letter written by Vonnegut to his family in 1945, informing them that he'd been taken prisoner by the Germans, to his last speech, delivered after his death by his son Mark, who provides a warmly personal introduction to the collection. Taken together, these pieces provide fresh insight into Vonnegut's enduring literary genius and reinforce his ongoing moral relevance in today's world.
About the Author
Kurt Vonnegut, one of the most acclaimed American writers of the past century, died in New York City on April 11, 2007. He was the New York Times bestselling author of fourteen novels, including such literary classics as Slaughterhouse-Five, Cat’s Cradle and God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater. Penguin Group (USA) was fortunate to publish several of Mr. Vonnegut’s books, including the novels Timequake and Hocus Pocus as well as a collection of short fiction, Bagombo Snuff Box.