Armageddon in Retrospect: And Other New and Unpublished Writings on War and Peace

Armageddon in Retrospect: And Other New and Unpublished Writings on War and Peace❮KINDLE❯ ❄ Armageddon in Retrospect: And Other New and Unpublished Writings on War and Peace ❁ Author Kurt Vonnegut Jr. – Oaklandjobs.co.uk To be published on the first anniversary of Kurt Vonnegut s death, Armageddon in Retrospect is a collection of twelve new and unpublished writings on war and peace, imbued with Vonnegut s trademark ru Retrospect: And Kindle Ñ To be published on the first anniversary of Kurt Vonnegut s death, Armageddon in Retrospect is a collection of twelve new and unpublished writings on war and peace, imbued with Vonnegut s trademark rueful humor. War is a funny thing That s what Vonnegut would have us believe He is right He also realizes that there is nothing funny about war It s a conflicting juxtaposition and yet it is true Armageddon in Retrospect sat in the to be read pile for a good long while I haven t read much Vonnegut since school, when probably about 9 out of 10 Vonnegut readers read his work, but I do enjoy reading him Nonetheless, I dreaded this The title alone told me it would be dreary and the title, for the most pa War is a funny thing That s what Vonnegut would have us believe He is right He also realizes that there is nothing funny about war It s a conflicting juxtaposition and yet it is true Armageddon in Retrospect sat in the to be read pile for a good long while I haven t read much Vonnegut since school, when probably about 9 out of 10 Vonnegut readers read his work, but I do enjoy reading him Nonetheless, I dreaded this The title alone told me it would be dreary and the title, for the most part, didn t lie That s not to say Vonnegut doesn t bring the funny He almost always does, however, most of the stories compiled herein are about war, often about his experiences in Dresden The bombing of Dresden in WWII was tragic As much as Vonnegut tries to spin some bitter sweet humor off of this topic, the bitterness always remains in the sour undercurrent.Starting with an interesting intro from his son, there s a speech, a letter from young Vonnegut to his family and about a dozen short stories About half of those stories are about a captured prisoner or a people under a conquering army s subjugation Apparently this was the sum of the author s wartime experience Making sense of it all, coming to grips with this new reality and that of his own country s disregard for innocent life comprises much of the subject matter It is essentially Slaughter House Five played out again in variation One story, The Unicorn Trap steps well outside of the WWII setting, sending us back to peasant life in 1067 England However, it s the same old, same old, this time with the Normans as conquerors Armageddon in Retrospect was the first thing published after his death and that always rings morbid The overall mood brings my rating down to 3 stars, but Vonnegut s superb writing and humor save the day, as usual, and so I ll go with 4 stars I often wonder how readers who did not come of age in the sixties view Kurt Vonnegut I did, and he was iconic How many times since then I have reread Cat s Cradle and Slaughterhouse Five with the same enjoyment I did when they were first published Vonnegut s novels are deceptive one has the feeling that one is reading something light, flippant, and ultimately insubstantial only to find the plots and characters remain with one for years afterward.I approached this short collection of his unpu I often wonder how readers who did not come of age in the sixties view Kurt Vonnegut I did, and he was iconic How many times since then I have reread Cat s Cradle and Slaughterhouse Five with the same enjoyment I did when they were first published Vonnegut s novels are deceptive one has the feeling that one is reading something light, flippant, and ultimately insubstantial only to find the plots and characters remain with one for years afterward.I approached this short collection of his unpublished now published posthumously with some trepidation So often such works were withheld from publication by an author for good reason, or he was unable to get them published, and in either case they can be disappointing I did not, however, find that to be true with these short stories I found them to be most compelling and well written Most grew out of Vonnegut s WWII experiences, but that isn t true of them all Several continue to haunt me There s a great introduction by Vonnegut s son the book is read by Rip Torn, a favorite actor of mine It s pretty interesting The point of Sirens , as put forth by David in 18, seems to have been echoed by Vonnegut s son in a completely unrelated chat between the two shortly before Kurt s death It s worth reading, if only for the intro.The first story was a speech he gave in 2007 that seems to have set the tone The stories so far are OK, but Vonnegut s Dresden horror stories made up mo There s a great introduction by Vonnegut s son the book is read by Rip Torn, a favorite actor of mine It s pretty interesting The point of Sirens , as put forth by David in 18, seems to have been echoed by Vonnegut s son in a completely unrelated chat between the two shortly before Kurt s death It s worth reading, if only for the intro.The first story was a speech he gave in 2007 that seems to have set the tone The stories so far are OK, but Vonnegut s Dresden horror stories made up most got a bit old He s very anti war continually points out it s stupid horrible There were a few 5 star stories that really put a face on the horrors of war perfectly, but most wandered about in a rather long winded manner which didn t do the point any favors The title story came last had a couple of good or amusing points, but was a disappointment overall Overall, typical Vonnegut worth reading especially if you ve liked his other works Quoting the author And now please note that I have raised my right hand And that means that I m not kidding, that whatever I say next I believe to be true So here it goes The most spiritually splendid American phenomenon of my lifetime wasn t our contribution to the defeat of the Nazis, in which I played such a large part, or Ronald Reagan s overthrow of Godless Communism, in Russia at least.The most spiritually splendid American phenomenon of my lifetime is how African American citizens hav Quoting the author And now please note that I have raised my right hand And that means that I m not kidding, that whatever I say next I believe to be true So here it goes The most spiritually splendid American phenomenon of my lifetime wasn t our contribution to the defeat of the Nazis, in which I played such a large part, or Ronald Reagan s overthrow of Godless Communism, in Russia at least.The most spiritually splendid American phenomenon of my lifetime is how African American citizens have maintained their dignity and self respect, despite their having been treated by white Americans, both in and out of government, and simply because of their skin color, as though they were contemptible and loathsome, and even diseased Quoting the author again If this isn t nice, I don t know what is Vonnegut s harrowing essay on the Dresden bombing, Wailing Shall Be in All Streets, is the highlight and centerpiece of this collection, and one of the best works of anti war art I ve read something like the literary equivalent of Francisco Goya s Disasters of War series This previously unpublished work is undated, but has the immediacy and urgency of an open wound Dresden was the last major German city to escape bombing because there was nothing combative about it it was a city of hospit Vonnegut s harrowing essay on the Dresden bombing, Wailing Shall Be in All Streets, is the highlight and centerpiece of this collection, and one of the best works of anti war art I ve read something like the literary equivalent of Francisco Goya s Disasters of War series This previously unpublished work is undated, but has the immediacy and urgency of an open wound Dresden was the last major German city to escape bombing because there was nothing combative about it it was a city of hospitals and refugees Vonnegut, who hated his Nazi captors, nonetheless loved the city for its rich cultural past and pacific part in the war In February 1945, American bombers reduced this treasure to crushed stone and embers disemboweled her with high explosives and cremated her with incendiaries Vonnegut goes on to write It is with some regret that I here besmirch the nobility of our airmen, but boys, you killed an appalling lot of women and children We had to exhume their bodies and carry them to mass funeral pyres in the parks so I know 4.75 Stars There is a stillness to the way KV writes A stillness that lingers, fades. only to then return right when you least suspect it It s this stillness that grabs me most of all The sheer versatility of it, when broken down, especially in a collection such as these, is quite staggering and can be razor sharp or feather soft, for it is a weapon the author uses with deft touch, but always fatal in its aim of reader seduction.Not only is the aforementioned stillness used to perfection, 4.75 Stars There is a stillness to the way KV writes A stillness that lingers, fades. only to then return right when you least suspect it It s this stillness that grabs me most of all The sheer versatility of it, when broken down, especially in a collection such as these, is quite staggering and can be razor sharp or feather soft, for it is a weapon the author uses with deft touch, but always fatal in its aim of reader seduction.Not only is the aforementioned stillness used to perfection, but it even permeates the speech that has been included here to great effect , in fact itspungent than that, it s scent lurks around every anecdote I have read most of these twice some thrice, but I m still taken aback by how striking each paragraph is, sentence by sentence the ease in which tone, expression, Subtly nuance is portrayed can be quite infuriating The horror of war is no foible entity, it s grippingly dark no one bereft of frontline experience can possibly ever even begin to align oneself with that if a soldier in combat, but when you read stories like these, that include such real life horrors as the British citizen targeted air raids of Dresden. You do feel as tough you have come mightily close.This is the beauty gift we are given by authors from the top echelon of literature, such as Vonnegut Never trust my rating on a Vonnegut I love this man. After two somewhat disappointing books, I finally picked up a book I ve had since at least my birthday My experience with Kurt Vonnegut remains slimmer than I d like, with most of it locked away in adolescent memories now slipping beyond the horizon of my mind So it feels a little odd to be reading Armageddon in Retrospect, theoretically his last work unless his estate publishesunpublished tidbits , already But I did, and I don t regret it Clap me in irons if you must I m at a loss fo After two somewhat disappointing books, I finally picked up a book I ve had since at least my birthday My experience with Kurt Vonnegut remains slimmer than I d like, with most of it locked away in adolescent memories now slipping beyond the horizon of my mind So it feels a little odd to be reading Armageddon in Retrospect, theoretically his last work unless his estate publishesunpublished tidbits , already But I did, and I don t regret it Clap me in irons if you must I m at a loss for what to say, though For people who have read Vonnegut and know what to expect, there is nothing much to add This is a bunch of stories written by Vonnegut They have that classic Vonnegut feel for language simple in syntax yet fiendish in semantics Most of them have something to do with war, with World War II, with the bombing of Dresden at every level Vonnegut examines the assumptions and rationalizations we attempt to internalize about the morality of conducting war Even the stories that areremoved from this setting, such as The Unicorn Trap or Armageddon in Retrospect are very much about the horrors that humans perpetrate in the name of the greater good.The highlight of this collection for most people will be Vonnegut s final speech, which he finished but could not deliver before his death Because I am so young and came to Vonnegut so late in his career, this speech, as one of the first if not the only non fiction work of Vonnegut s that I ve read, greatly affected me It let me see how the humour and his sardonic spin on things is not just something that saturates his fiction His speech is peppered with jokes including one about a man who was smuggling wheelbarrows, which I found hilarious and absurd asides All the while, this humour is working towards aserious end.Sometimes we laugh because, if we don t, we d have to cry I think that s kind of what Vonnegut is doing He has seen so much that he is not afraid to point out the bad and the good, particularly when it comes to an entity like the United States of America Vonnegut can critique something while still loving it this is an ability I feel is on the decline today, when the average level of political rhetoric involves the slinging of epithets about being anti American or intellectually elitist or, heaven forfend, a science loving atheist That s the brilliance of Vonnegut he may at times be irreverent, but his is a classy form of irreverence, the type that wipes its shoes on the map before busting into your home and breaking into The Galaxy Song So Vonnegut s speech, as well as this book in general, provide a nice summary of why his writing is so powerful His is a voice that speaks not for a generation or for a people or for a school of thought but merely out of a conviction that all humans deserve a healthy dose of dignity and levity.By far my favourite story, however, has to be The Commandant s Desk It is told from the point of view of a Czech cabinetmaker whose village has just passed from Russian hands to American ones He considers this at first to be a cause for celebration and hope the Russians were cruel masters, as bad as the Nazis, and he had been planning a little surprise for the Russian commandant, who had requested a grandiose desk But, in the not so surprising Vonnegut twist, the American commandant turns out to be just as unsympathetic and unstintingly oppressive The story finally comes full circle with a second twist, which results in a reveal of what the cabinetmaker had been planning all along In the end, Vonnegut reminds of the dangers of romanticizing the nobility of soldiers of any nationality or the justness of occupying another land.Vonnegut s writing continues to have a timeless quality to it His stories have ideas and themes that apply just as much to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan as they do to World War II or Vietnam Illustrations are interspersed between each story, and two in particular colourful doodles on sticky notes caught my eye The first reads Darwin gave cachet of science to war and genocide and the second, In the U.S.A it s winners vs losers, and the fix is on The latter is very easy to interpret in light of the Occupy Wall Street movement The former seems to be an indictment of the survival of the fittest justifications for things like Aryan supremacy or eugenics, though it goes beyond that thanks to evolutionary theory, there s now a scientific rationale for making war, because only the strong should survive Anyway, I just enjoyed these illustrations too.Not much else to say about this book For those who are less experienced with Vonnegut or new to him entirely, Armageddon in Retrospect might be harder to grok I m sure I will getout of it when I revisit it after having continued my survey of his oeuvre Confirmed Vonnegut fans will like it There s nothing here that is sensational or eye opening no secret unpublished gem lurks between these pages But it is yet another set of compelling thoughts on the relationship between absurdity and necessity that always seems to arises in discussions of war I finished Armageddon in Retrospect a few weeks ago It was really good I often wonder about works published posthumously, particularly when the works had been kicking around for a while before the author died.Did the author want them to be published Is there a reason they weren t published while they were alive I graduated from Law School just over one year ago, and it seems that in every different area of law there is a seminal case, the first that you read for the first day of class beca I finished Armageddon in Retrospect a few weeks ago It was really good I often wonder about works published posthumously, particularly when the works had been kicking around for a while before the author died.Did the author want them to be published Is there a reason they weren t published while they were alive I graduated from Law School just over one year ago, and it seems that in every different area of law there is a seminal case, the first that you read for the first day of class because it is the first in the book In my Trusts and Estates class, there was a case about Franz Kafka s will The will called for the burning of Kafka s papers upon his death, but the administrator of his estate Brod, I believe refused to burn them, and instead had them published If memory serves, not only could Brod not bear to burn the papers, he was convinced that the world needed to see them Though it s hard to argue with Brod s reasoning or blame him for his actions, it still makes one wonder.Which brings be back to Armageddon in Retrospect Whenever I am reading or watching or otherwise experience art that has been published after the artist s death, I can t help but look for, and perhaps create, a suicide note quality to the work This is particularly true, like I mentioned, if the work had been around for a while but, for whatever reason, was not published Armageddon in Retrospect is interesting not only because of the stories that it includes, but also the original visual artwork produced by Vonnegut The stories and the artwork either explicitly or implicitly orbit around what seems to have been the defining moment of Vonnegut s life, and the subject of his most famous work, Slaughterhouse Five his experiences as a prisoner of war in Dresden, Germany during World War II, where he was held before, during, and after the Allied Forces firebombed and destroyed the city This central theme makes what might have seemed a random collection of stories purposeful and related On the last page of the book, there is a quote that sums up the book and, arguably, the Vonnegut library quite well 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 As with any significant work of art, this book is both timeless and timely, dealing with universal themes that seem uniquely applicable to our day I highly recommend this book I love this book because it offers so much it s a buffet of essays, artistic sketches and short stories by a writer who managed to stay relevant and fresh into his late 80 s Some may be skeptical of the quality of work because the book was collected and published posthumously, but there s no need to fear that this is just another paycheck for the publisher Most of the contents stand up with the rest of Vonnegut s work, which is to say, he paints pictures here with words of a humorous, horrib I love this book because it offers so much it s a buffet of essays, artistic sketches and short stories by a writer who managed to stay relevant and fresh into his late 80 s Some may be skeptical of the quality of work because the book was collected and published posthumously, but there s no need to fear that this is just another paycheck for the publisher Most of the contents stand up with the rest of Vonnegut s work, which is to say, he paints pictures here with words of a humorous, horrible world, that is equal parts tragedy and irony The book opens with an piece by Vonnegut s son, and it s interesting to hear from someone so close to a literary giant talk about his father s processes, troubles, and idiosynchracies as a writer, husband, and father Of the collected tales within, the time traveling tale Great Day, and the self titled devil hunting Armageddon are probably my least favorite, with Spoils, Guns Before Butter and Happy Birthday topping my list Perhaps the best piece, aside from the introduction is At Clowes Hall an adress that Voneggut would have delivered had he not passed away The speech was delivered by his son, and probably would have made a better end to the title, rather than the awkward Armageddon because it channels Kurt Vonnegut s voice so well You can practically hear his voice when reading the lines, and the final sentence would have muchweight placed at the back of the book and I thank you for your attention, and I m out of here

Armageddon in Retrospect: And Other New and Unpublished
  • Hardcover
  • 234 pages
  • Armageddon in Retrospect: And Other New and Unpublished Writings on War and Peace
  • Kurt Vonnegut Jr.
  • English
  • 10 February 2017
  • 0399155082