Armageddon in Retrospect: And Other New and Unpublished Writings on War and Peace

Armageddon in Retrospect: And Other New and Unpublished Writings on War and Peace

by Kurt Vonnegut

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Overview

The New York Times bestseller from the author of Slaughterhouse-Five—a “gripping” posthumous collection of Kurt Vonnegut’s previously unpublished work on the subject of war and peace.

A fitting tribute to a literary legend and a profoundly humane humorist, Armageddon in Retrospect is a collection of twelve previously unpublished writings. 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.

Includes an Introduction by Mark Vonnegut

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780425226896
Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date: 04/07/2009
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 240
Sales rank: 596,045
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.20(h) x 0.70(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

Kurt Vonnegut was a master of contemporary American literature. His black humor, satiric voice, and incomparable imagination first captured America’s attention in The Sirens of Titan in 1959 and established him, in the words of The New York Times, as “a true artist” with the publication of Cat’s Cradle in 1963. He was, as Graham Greene declared, “one of the best living American writers.” Mr. Vonnegut passed away in April 2007.

Date of Birth:

November 11, 1922

Date of Death:

April 11, 2007

Place of Birth:

Indianapolis, Indiana

Place of Death:

New York, New York

Education:

Cornell University, 1940-42; Carnegie-Mellon University, 1943; University of Chicago, 1945-47; M.A., 1971

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

"A terrific post-traumatic witnessing."
-Roy Blount, The New York Times Book Review "The dark irony that lies beneath Vonnegut's wry, satiric work is always in the service of the individual...and against the system."
-The Boston Globe

"A voice like his doesn't fade. Vonnegut had a way of making the bleakest thought seem insanely funny."
-The San Diego Union-Tribune

Customer Reviews

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Armageddon in Retrospect: And Other New and Unpublished Writings on War and Peace 3.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 43 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The suggestion that some of these stories are not as strong as others is the worst form of nit-picking and critical snobbery. Kurt Vonnegut was [and is] a treasure. Every word he wrote was delivered with the honest intentions of a man who always seemed to be trying to tell us all something more important than what he feared most were prepared to hear. Listen, as you read, to the beating heart and sage wisdom of a true original trying to find hope in the hopeless. Vonnegut's unassuming yet richly detailed rage for truth was far beyond the 'being clever for clever's sake' golden malady that suffocates most critics of modern literature. It's good to have another hug from a dear old friend, the kind we all needed.
harstan More than 1 year ago
This is a terrific collection by one of the great commentators on human condition in the since WW II. As always Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. uses wry humor to rip into those warmongers who always send someone else to die. The anthology contains nonfiction like the letter he sent to his dad in Indianapolis in which the GI Grunt explains he is fortunate to escape the firebombing of Dresden in 1945 and ¿Wailing Shall be In All the Streets¿ where he discuses his POW job of burying the dead in Dresden. The short story fictions are also haunting as the title story advocates that good can never win over evil because good needs evil to exist just like the world can never be at peace for that ¿Great Day' would lead to war the author makes the case that violence is in the human DNA even the very young look to fight. This anthology is a fitting final tribute by the late great author who throughout displays his droll sense of the paradox that makes up the ¿Guns and Butter¿ of life and death on planet earth. --- Harriet Klausner
phoenixcomet on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A collection of short stories published posthumously written about war. Many of the stories are set in WWII, but at least one story is a time-travelling tale in the future, and another is a tale of how 3 men stay hopeful during war dreaming about their first free meal. A number of tales take place during the emancipation of Germany by the Americans in WWII. Excellent, excellent, excellent.
StephenBarkley on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This doesn¿t feel like the posthumous collection it is. These stories are impeccably crafted, and fit perfectly together. That¿s a credit to the skill of the writer: even his non-published works are eminently publishable.I started to read Vonnegut after watching him interact with Jon Stewart on the Daily Show. His dark humor and wise quips were enough for me to take a chance on his writing next time I dropped by the book store.I¿m thankful for his large catalogue of writing¿and I hope there are still some more gems hiding in his files.
heidifk on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is Vonnegut's last work. After reading this, I officially (and sadly) had to say good bye. I savored every page of this book -- from the illustrations to the short stories and speeches. "The Commander's Desk" is my favorite here.
NLspellcheck on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
While the book as a whole goes by in a flash, there are one or two stories that really made me laugh. I still smile thinking of them today. The situations Vonnegut places his characters in seem fantastic, but he gives them real emotion and a down-to-earth appeal. The rest of the stories are quite forgettable, but I'm sure I enjoyed reading them.
fidchivers on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A collection of stories and essays by one of my favorite authors. Most are based on his experiences as a POW in Dresden, and in the time right afterwards. Several seem like attempts to craft his experiences into a story of some sort, and as the stories are undted, you wonder if these were early attempts to get a handle on it all - which he did in Sluaghterhouse Five. Or maybe they were later variations on this major and life-altering experience. Either way, they are very good, but not his best work. Still, it's good to read anything by this great American writer.
francomega on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Very excited to be able to read some unpublished material from my favorite author. Won't replace never getting a new novel from him, but it will do. Mostly short stories--all enjoyable, almost all taking place during WWII. Great quote from one of his classic illustrations: "Where do I get my ideas from? You might as well have asked that of Beethoven. He was goofing around in Germany like everybody else, and all of a sudden this stuff came gushing out of him. It was music. I was goofing around like everybody else in Indiana, and all of a sudden stuff came gushing out. It was disgust with civilization."
twright3 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This book gives a pretty nice look at some of Vonnegut's shorter work and his ability to reveal man's everyday struggles in the horror of war.
love2laf on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Sad, hopeful, thoughtful, and mind blowing. Vonnegut has always been a favourite of mine, but this book is simply amazing. Most especially, the very first piece, a copy of a letter he sent home after he had been missing in action for months. Despite being brought to tears many times, the balance with humour is what makes the writing timeless.
shadowofthewind on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A series of short stories produce by Vonnegut shortly before his death. Some of the stories have been re-written in different versions and all focus on the horrors of war. In particular, Wailing will be in All Streets has the most detailed accounts of the bombing of Dresden and is the predecessor of the book that would become Slaughterhouse Five. I enjoyed Bagombo Snuffbox better even though many of those stories are dated (some were in fantastic story magazines in the 1950s). Many of these stories focus on Vonnegut's experience as a prisoner of war and a witness to the bombing of Dresden. I enjoyed the American Garrison and the Commandant's Desk the best. Some excerpts:(from the introduction)Reading and writing are subversive acts. What they subvert is the fact that things have to be they way they are. That you are alone. That no one has felt the way they have. That the world is far more up for grabs than they realized. That the world is a different place just from reading a damned book. From The Commandant's DeskIt's a tragedy they smashed everything and confiscated the most beautiful furniture in Beda. I smiled and shook my head. "Ah those enemies of capitalism. They had their quarters fixed up like a little Versailles." "We saw the wreckage." said the captain. And then when they couldn't have the treasures anymore, well then no one could have them. I made a motion like a man swinging an axe. And the world becomes a little duller for us all for there being fewer treasures, bourgeois treasures. But for those that can't afford beautiful things love the idea of there being such things somewhere. From the American GarrisonYou asked when the end of hate would come. He said at last, "It comes right now. No more labor battalions, no more stealing, no more smashing. I haven't seen enough to hate...but I'm sure I can hate the people of Beda as bitterly as Major Evans did if they don't start out tomorrow to rebuild this into a decent place for the children.
TheCrow2 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
It's the 'we-swear-these-are-the-last-unpublished-writings-from-Vonnegut' book. Obviously it's a 'rest of' collection, but it doesn't feel like that because of Vonnegut's genius. Unquestionably he was one of the greatest writer of the last century. R.I.P.
AshRyan on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Meh...the title story is hilarious, most of the other stories are just okay, and the non-fiction is crap. So, pretty much what might well be expected of unpublished Vonnegut. The reading by Rip Torn probably helps a bit.
nemoman on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is an uneven collection of writings as are most posthumous collections. Nevertheless the writing is quintessentially Vonnegut. The title reflects the book's loose theme; it contains recollections and stories tied to his wartime experiences in the Battle of the Bulge and as a POW in Dresden during its firebombing. I particularly enjoyed his last written speech delivered at Clowes Hall by his son shortly after Kurt's death. Aptly, his last written words were: "And I thank you for your attention, and I'm out of here."
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