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Monday, August 27, 2007

Slaughterhouse 5


"Billy survived, but he was a dazed wanderer far behind the new German lines. Three other wanderers, not quite so dazed, allowed Billy to tag along. Two of them were scouts, and one was an antitank gunner. They were without food or maps. Avoiding Germans, they were delivering themselves into rural silences ever more profound. They ate snow!"

This is my second attempt at this book, which I just couldn't get started on a few years back. It astonishes me how much I love it now and I just started. Maybe there is a right mood or mind set needed for reading a book, maybe I have grown...I really hope it is the latter:)

It is a book about ... many things really, but centers around the firebombing of Dresden, Germany. I love the idea of an anti-war book, in the time frame of WW II, where the focus is the bombing of a German city. That's just brilliant.

"February 13/14 1945: Holocaust over Dresden, known as the Florence of the North. Dresden was a hospital city for wounded soldiers. Not one military unit, not one anti-aircraft battery was deployed in the city. Together with the 600.000 refugees from Breslau, Dresden was filled with nearly 1.2 million people. Churchill had asked for "suggestions how to blaze 600.000 refugees". He wasn't interested how to target military installations 60 miles outside of Dresden. More than 700.000 phosphorus bombs were dropped on 1.2 million people. One bomb for every 2 people. The temperature in the centre of the city reached 1600 o centigrade. More than 260.000 bodies and residues of bodies were counted. But those who perished in the centre of the city can't be traced. Approximately 500.000 children, women, the elderly, wounded soldiers and the animals of the zoo were slaughtered in one night." ...more here!

Now excuse me, I am still in chapter two. I keep re-reading passages dozens of times, plus the book has only 9 chapters. You are tempted now, aren't you?

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27 Comments:

At 13:42, Blogger Doug said...

welcome to the monkey house. Please do not feed the Tralfamadorians. I read Slaughterhouse 5 in 1982, I think. The great thing about books is everything happens at the same time.

 
At 15:08, Blogger ariel said...

oh what they did to Dresden then. for a long time I thought there were no words to tell what's happened there. then I read that book.

 
At 16:14, Blogger tsduff said...

Your picture says more than a thousand words could. wow. I read that book in high school, and it was difficult then. I should try it again, like you, and perhaps it would be more meaningful.

 
At 17:23, Blogger I Dive At Night said...

I've only read one of his works before. But given that this one is (1) biographical, (2) historical, and (3,4,5) recommended by the penguin, I'll add it to my list.

First I have to finish my latest Pratchet, then Harry.

 
At 17:42, Blogger TLP said...

Yes. I'm tempted. I have never read any of his books. I'm totally ashamed to admit it.

 
At 19:09, Anonymous neva said...

heavy/somber reading, my sweet friend. that said, this particular book serves to provide an interesting perspective to that amazing/touching Holocaust Memorial we "visited" in Boston, doesn't it? hard to imagine such an act of destruction in light of the souls lost so senselessly during the Nazi regime. i had no idea -- i still have trouble comprehending the decision to drop the "Bombs" on Nagasaki and Hiroshima, sounds like this event was designed to thwart future acts of aggression from Russians, too. terrifying. and hideously tragic. apparently this is a book i, too, need to read -- considering it involves a chapter in World History i find fascinating, i may have to remedy that situation, soon.

 
At 19:30, Blogger Minka said...

Doug, that is indeed the good thing about books. I knew you like Vonnegut , so it made my decision for a second read easier!

ariel, I always knew about Dresden, but as a German...we don't really wanna complain about anything happening in WWII and we certainly shouldn't. Still, lots of lives were lost, people damaged...it is sad when two to three people get to speak for millions and speak the wrong thing at that.

terry, I love that picture so much. It says it all for me, mostly that we are one human race...and not superior to any living creature, despite what we think.

Morgan, what book by Pratchett are you reading now?

Tlp, that was my reasoning and with him passing away and the legacy he left behind, I felt it was my duty to research a bit.

Neva, it is an interesting part in history from so many angles. I like the angle of human behavior under pressure...definitely worth a read!

 
At 22:56, Blogger I Dive At Night said...

Eric. And I still don't know why it's called that. Each day I'm torn between practicing Dutch with the local paper or reading something I enjoy.

 
At 23:36, Blogger Minka said...

Morgan, it is a parody on Goethe's Faust...since the name "Faust" for a title is copyrighted...Pratchett typed it first, striked it out and wrote some other name instead. Eric is such an anti-climatic name to Faust that it is funny.
At least I always thought that wa sthe reason behind it!

and instead of giving Faust's soul to the devil, we have Eric giving his to teh most inept wizard on the Discworld who he hopes can grant his three , very Faustian, wishes :) Kinda neat,really!

 
At 23:44, Blogger Diesel said...

Vonnegut is fantastic. This is a great, bizarre, depressing book. I really liked Breakfast of Champions and Sirens of Titan too.

 
At 10:53, Blogger ariel said...

any German should feel free to complain of Dresden, very loudly. I don't think anybody would try to deny that it was a completely unnecessary act of revenge toward the end of the war...

 
At 11:13, Blogger Minka said...

Diesel, I sort of have decided on Sirens of Titan for my next one by him.

ariel, thank you!

 
At 12:37, Blogger ariel said...

looksie what I've found! Icelandic people really know what it is all about!

http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/50986/strange_travels_the_penis_museum_of.html

 
At 12:41, Blogger ariel said...

http://www.phallus.is/

sorry if you've already blogged about it! I must have missed it then.

 
At 12:44, Blogger Minka said...

ariel....remember my penis mall post in june, this little snug cabin came up then in the comment section...

now sweetie, what were you googling to begin with? ;)

 
At 12:46, Blogger Theresa said...

I guess I will have to read this book at some point in time, but the summer doesn't seem like the right time for it. I read the Diary of Anne Frank a long time ago and went to see the attic where she was hidden with her family and since then I haven't been able to deal with reading anything else about the Holocaust.

 
At 16:54, Blogger I Dive At Night said...

Theresa, I've gone through the Anne Frank Museum 5 times. I'm trying not to make it 6 as it's no fun to cry all the way through the displays.

Minka, ah yes, I got to the part where Eric summon Rincewind. Nice!

 
At 20:52, Blogger goldennib said...

I may leave that one to you.

 
At 22:38, Blogger Dan said...

Maybe there is a right mood or mind set needed for reading a book, maybe I have grown

There's a Buddhist expression, "When the student is ready the teacher will appear".

Sounds like you're ready for this book.

Thanks for visiting my blog today!

 
At 12:59, Anonymous neva said...

and... on a lighter note:

that's one FINE/FUNNY POST you did for TEH SNARK today, missy!! good to see this heavy-yet-worthwhile reading hasn't caused your sense of humor to disappear. (guessing that won't happen anytime soon!)

oh, and HAPPY First day of School!! make us proud. : )

 
At 14:49, Blogger Minka said...

Theresa, summer? Oh, thatðs right the rest of the world doe snot move according to Icelandic seasons. :)

Morgan, you mentioned! I have read the book, seen documentaries, but I have never been to teh actual place. I can imagine it to be very overwhelming!

goldennib, that is fine, I am glad having it :)

Dan, I enjoyed myself and have seen you around here before, so I was curious when I saw you attached to humor-blogs :)

Neva, I'll do my utmost to make you two proud. I am alreayd ahead in my reading ;) Love you guys!

 
At 20:41, Blogger david mcmahon said...

Very familiar with the Dresden saga. It's a period of history that figures prominently in my next novel, too.

 
At 00:08, Blogger Doug said...

after founding the college that bears his name, he became a congressman from Iowa.

 
At 02:59, Anonymous neva said...

After discovering college "excitement" caused a certain penguin to ignore him, he became a scowling curmudgeon in Southern California...

 
At 03:37, Blogger Kyahgirl said...

hey, isn't that a coincidence! I was just looking at this book as I perused my massive TBR pile yesterday and thought about starting it!
I've never read it but heard its good.

 
At 03:47, Blogger tsduff said...

Whoever said beagles have even one ounce of patience?

 
At 12:03, Blogger Minka said...

David, that sound svery interesting. Hope it is not too depresing!

Doug, good for him. Did a car come with his job?

Neva, Arnold?

laura, we are in the same boat then...front or stern?

terry, the once i know have none, I hope there are exceptions though.

I am working on the trivia, everybody!

 

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