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About the Suggestion

A Man Without a Country by Kurt Vonnegut, nominated by nominated by Josh Wells, Faculty, Anthropology & Elizabeth Bennion, Faculty, Political Science.

"An important feature in many political cultures, and certainly in American politics, is to entertain absurdity and humor as relief valves for the people as well as to broach ideas that dare not be aired in seriousness. Of course what one faction considers appropriately absurd and bitingly hilarious may be positively anathema to another. As such, Indiana's native son, Kurt Vonnegut, can provide a unique and timely example of a political and social commentator who filled the last half of the 20th century and the early 21st century with strange, scathing, and sometimes scandalous works. Vonnegut's book, A Man Without a Country, offers the reader a wide cross-section of the author's social and political commentary from near the end of his career, including war, religion, economics, political figures, and humanism. It is unlikely that a reader could encounter Vonnegut without developing a strong opinion (or at least a sentiment) on a touchy topic of the day.

Instructors may find one or more chapters quickly digestible for courses along with other materials, or use the book in its entirety as a quick but thought-provoking read. The foundation of the Kurt Vonnegut Memorial Library in Indianapolis, and the installation of a traveling exhibition from the KVML at the Indiana University South Bend Schurz Library will help students to learn more about the important contribution of Indiana to Kurt Vonnegut's work ("All my jokes are Indianapolis.  All my attitudes are Indianapolis.  My adenoids are Indianapolis.  If I ever severed myself from Indianapolis, I would be out of business.  What people like about me is Indianapolis.” —Kurt Vonnegut, 1986)"

Reviews:

Klinkowitz, Jerome. "Vonnegut's Beatitudes." American Book Review 27.3 (2006): 10-11. Academic Search Premier. Web. 19 July 2012. (requires IUSB login off-campus)

Bethune, Brian. "The Laughing Prophet." Maclean's 118.43 (2005): 92. Academic Search Premier. Web. 19 July 2012. (requires IUSB login off-campus)

Jacqueline, Blais. "Vonnegut, on politics, presidents and librarians." USA Today n.d.: Academic Search Premier. Web. 19 July 2012. (requires IUSB login off-campus)

Last Reviewed: 03/2014