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America owes Kurt Vonnegut a debt of gratitude for infusing its culture with the brilliant insight found in books like Mother Night, Player Piano and Slaughterhouse-5—and for the mordantly funny writings assembled in this collection.
The Nation was one of Vonnegut’s outlets for his political writings. He contributed to the magazine once or twice a year from 1978 to 1998, like a regular donation to the United Way. His politics were consistently on the left, and after fighting in World War II—which, for all its horrors, he considered just—he angrily condemned all of the United States’ subsequent wars of choice.
He wrote in a kind of faux-simpleminded style. He avoided the high seriousness demanded by some critics, who dismissed his body of work as a product of the 1960s counterculture, popular only among shaggy-haired youths with callow taste.
But his best work, as you’ll see, deals with ultimate questions.