The Writer’s Crusade

Journalist Tom Roston outlines the story behind Kurt Vonnegut’s masterpiece, Slaughterhouse-Five, and the wartime trauma that inspired it.

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Review of ‘The Writer’s Crusade’

When it appeared in 1969, Slaughterhouse-Five turned Kurt Vonnegut—until then an admired, if pigeonholed writer—into a bestselling celebrity overnight. The novel, which drew on Vonnegut’s wartime experiences as an American soldier during the Battle of the Bulge and, most saliently, the Allied firebombing of Dresden, which occurred while he was held there as a POW,…

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