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"Slaughterhouse Five" by Kurt Vonnegut

Thursday, September 26: Slaughterhouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut

“Books are sacred to free men for very good reasons.” These words, written to the small town of Drake, North Dakota, by one Kurt Vonnegut, drive the philosophy behind banned books week. They were written in the wake of a mass burning of controversial books by head of the town’s school board, Charles McCarthy. Vonnegut, a WWII veteran, Purple Heart Holder, and acclaimed author, was outraged to see his masterpiece among the flames. Slaughterhouse Five is one of Vonnegut’s defining works, no small feat for one of many novels and short stories penned by the American author. This time-jumping classic deals with the horrors of war, the monsters of the human experience, and the mind-bending paradox of time and space. Centered around Vonnegut’s own harrowing experience at the bombing of Dresden, the story takes a clear anti-war stance, a position that shines through every complicated, philosophical question the plot raises. Vonnegut was so infuriated, in fact, that he wrote a full length letter to McCarthy, condemning the restriction of reading in any truly free community. The letter can be found here in its entirety.

A Tralfamadorian alien wishes you a happy banned book week!

Visit the American Library Association for access to free resources, information on banned books, and a detailed history of censorship in America.

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