A Man Without a Country
A Man Without a Country is Kurt Vonnegut's hilariously funny and razor-sharp look at life ("If I die—God forbid—I would like to go to heaven to ask somebody in charge up there, 'Hey, what was the good news and what was the bad news?"), art ("To practice any art, no matter how well or badly, is a way to make your soul grow. So do it."), politics ("I asked former Yankees pitcher Jim Bouton what he thought of our great victory over Iraq and he said, 'Mohammed Ali versus Mr. Rogers.'), and the condition of the soul of America today ("What has happened to us?).
Based on short essays and speeches composed over the last five years and plentifully illustrated with artwork by the author throughout, A Man Without a Country gives us Vonnegut both speaking out with indignation and writing tenderly to his fellow Americans, sometimes joking, at other times hopeless, always searching.
"During the darkest years of the Bush administration, these essays … were guide and serum to anyone with a feeling that pretty much everyone had lost their minds." —Dave Eggers
"[L]ike his literary ancestor Mark Twain, his crankiness is good-humored and sharp-witted, and aimed at well-defended soft spots of hypocrisy and arrogance … On Nov. 11—the holiday Vonnegut, who was a P.O.W. in Germany in World War II, has always preferred to think of as Armistice Day—he will turn 83, and since he has no expectation of a heavenly perch from which to look down and eavesdrop on his friends, it is best that we appreciate him while he's still around. A Man Without a Country' is a fine place to start, especially since it can lead us back to Mother Night and Slaughterhouse-Five and The Sirens of Titan and the stories collected in Bagombo Snuff Box. In other words, it's like sitting down on the couch for a long chat with an old friend." —New York Times Book Review
"Although A Man Without a Country has its roots in … essays and public statements, it is, at heart, a different type of project, fuller, more integrated, not a collection of loose ends so much as a testament … Certainly, A Man Without a Country is as overtly political a book as Vonnegut has written, a lament for an America that is no longer, in which, the author argues, social justice has been subsumed by war and fear. At the same time, it may be as close as Vonnegut ever comes to a memoir, with its mix of autobiography and social commentary, its reflections on topics as varied as our fossil fuel addiction and longtime heroes like Twain and labor and political leader Eugene V. Debs." —Los Angeles Times
"No other American humorist see-saws from gravity to gobbledygook this effectively, in part because for Vonnegut the two are always connected. Life for him is deadly serious, but the best way to deal with fear is to laugh in its face. A Man Without a Country aptly plays this scenario out in twelve short riffs on topics as diverse as sex and humanism. Each chapter arrives preceded by a silk-screen image of some aphorism by Vonnegut. 'Evolution is so creative,' says one. 'That is how we got giraffes.' Thanks to these gnomic non-sequiturs, A Man Without a Country feels a lot like a 21st-century version of The Little Prince, written for adults by a chain-smoking New Yorker with a habit of goofing off." —Jerusalem Post
"'I used to be funny,' Kurt Vonnegut informs us in A Man Without a Country, 'and perhaps I'm not anymore.' This last bit is untrue, of course. In these essays from the pages of the radical biweekly In These Times, he is very funny as often as he wants to be." —Harper's Magazine
About Kurt Vonnegut
KURT VONNEGUT (1922–2007) was among the few grandmasters of twentieth-century American letters, one without whom the very term American literature would mean much less than it does now. Vonnegut's other books from Seven Stories Press include God Bless You, Dr. Kevorkian, the national hardcover and paperback bestseller A Man Without a Country, and, with Lee Stringer, Like Shaking Hands with God.