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God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater: A Novel Paperback – September 8, 1998


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Dial Press Trade Paperback (September 8, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0385333471
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385333474
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.7 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (162 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #41,884 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

“[Vonnegut] at his wildest best.”—The New York Times Book Review

“A brilliantly funny satire on almost everything.”—Conrad Aiken

“[Vonnegut was] our finest black humorist. . . . We laugh in self-defense.”—The Atlantic Monthly

From the Inside Flap

God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater is a comic masterpice.  Eliot Rosewater, drunk, volunteer fireman, and president of the fabulously rich Rosewater foundation, is about to attempt a noble experiment with human nature... with a little help from writer Kilgore Trout.  The result is Vonnegut's funniest satire, an etched-in-acid portrayal of the greed, hypocrisy, and follies of the flesh we are all heir to. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

More About the Author

Kurt Vonnegut was born in Indianapolis in 1922. He studied at the universities of Chicago and Tennessee and later began to write short stories for magazines. His first novel, Player Piano, was published in 1951 and since then he has written many novels, among them: The Sirens of Titan (1959), Mother Night (1961), Cat's Cradle (1963), God Bless You Mr Rosewater (1964), Welcome to the Monkey House; a collection of short stories (1968), Breakfast of Champions (1973), Slapstick, or Lonesome No More (1976), Jailbird (1979), Deadeye Dick (1982), Galapagos (1985), Bluebeard (1988) and Hocus Pocus (1990). During the Second World War he was held prisoner in Germany and was present at the bombing of Dresden, an experience which provided the setting for his most famous work to date, Slaughterhouse Five (1969). He has also published a volume of autobiography entitled Palm Sunday (1981) and a collection of essays and speeches, Fates Worse Than Death (1991).

Customer Reviews

I've read a few books by Vonnegut and this one might be my favorite.
Amazon Customer
The writing still comes across as fresh, and the social commentary is surprisingly topical for us today.
Amazon Customer
Even if they say "God bless you, Mr. Rosewater" ironically egotistically.
Sam King

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

80 of 83 people found the following review helpful By OAKSHAMAN VINE VOICE on July 30, 2004
Format: Paperback
Eliot Rosewater was the scion of an extremely wealthy family- his grandfather had even married a Rockefeller. Eliot stood to inherit control of the vast family fortune through the Rosewater Foundation (a legal entity constructed to shield that fortune from taxation.) But then Eliot went off to WW2 to become a highly decorated Captain of combat infantry. He served with men from all walks of life. Oh yes, he also accidentally bayoneted a 14-year old non-combatant, and afterwards tried to throw himself under a truck. After this he was never the same, much to his rich and powerful family's distress. While he did come back to graduate from Harvard Law and assume control of the foundation, he started behaving...irrationally. He started to actually use the money to HELP people! He also started drinking, wandering, and visiting volunteer firehouses- among other eccentricities.

Eventually, he ended up in Rosewater, Indiana- a depressed backwater that his family had long ago used up and abandoned to found the beginnings of their fortune. He found the people there to be without pride, without hope, without work. So he opened up an office over the liquor store in order to help anyone who needed his help. The sign on the door said simply, "Rosewater Foundation: How Can We Help You?" So Eliot Rosewater, philanthropist, poet, volunteer fireman, Harvard graduate, and drunk proceeded to help any and all that came to him for help.

Needless to say his family could not allow such insanity to continue. Why even Eliot's psychoanalyst came to the conclusion that Eliot was a pervert. The nature of his perversion being the fact that he had channeled all his psychic energy into bringing Utopia to earth for all those in need. What could be more abnormal in modern, capitalist society?
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63 of 67 people found the following review helpful By Michael Battaglia on September 12, 2002
Format: Paperback
There was something in Vonnegut's first rush of books that is lacking in his later novels. Although I enjoy his later books and for the life of me I can't say what this mystery quality is, whatever it is it tends to elevate even his minor books into affairs that are far more memorable than they tend to be. Maybe because the themes and images he's using here were new to him and he was still comparitively young . . . I don't know. It's not for me to say. This novel has a simple premise and a simple plot and moves unsurprisingly from point A to point B and yet I still have an incredibly enjoyable experience reading it, even though I finished it basically on my lunch break over the course of maybe an hour and a half. The premise then is that Eliot Rosewater has a lot of love to give to the world and spends most of his time doing very nice things for people who are almost pathetic enough to not deserve it, simply because he was born rich and feels he has a lot to give to the world. A lawyer, meanwhile wishes to prove that he is insane and has it in him to make quite the case. The book basically waffles back and forth between the lives of the various people Eliot helps, the comically depressing lives of some of these people, a little Rosewater family history and the lawyer's attempt to gather information on Eliot's apparent insanity. All of these pieces don't cohere into the great whole that his absolute best books (like Slaughterhouse-Five) do, but the pieces themselves are great fun and Vonnegut's humanity has never been as apparent here. It doesn't have the grim central event like the bombing of Dresden to put everything in context but somehow he manages to make the book moving and hilarious at the same time.Read more ›
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22 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Jon Dranoff on December 2, 1999
Format: Paperback
Just as most of Vonnegut's novels follow a single character through a series of semi-plausible episodes, so does 'God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater'. However, unlike the others, this story does not rely on science fiction. Rather, it focuses on one man's struggle to affirm his sense of self against great odds. Seems like an appropriate theme in a society increasingly concerned with style and ignorant of substance.
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Format: Paperback
Now that I have been writing book reviews on almost everything I read, I feel compelled to write at least a few words on this incredible novel of Kurt Vonnegut's - of which thousands of reviews have been written already.

I kept having to check the publishing information to make sure that it was written 46 years ago and not 46 minutes ago. Some of the concepts are so prescient as to seem almost spooky. (Or perhaps that means they are timeless...but caught up in today's crazy political spectrum, I am going with the prophetic angle.)

"Thus did a handful of rapacious citizens come to control all that was worth controlling in America. Thus was the savage and stupid and entirely inappropriate and unnecessary and humorless American class system created. Honest, industrious, peaceful citizens were classed as bloodsuckers, if they asked to be paid a living wage. And they saw that praise was reserved henceforth for those who devised means of getting paid enormously for committing crimes against which no laws had been passed. Thus the American dream turned belly up..." Can anyone say Wisconsin in 2011?

And, "An even more instructive motto, in the light of history made by the Noah Rosewaters, might be: Grab much too much, or you'll get nothing at all."

I tore through this book, amazed not only by Vonnegut's amazing social commentary, but also by the small pauses of quiet beauty he describes, scenes of a country that was and might not be much longer. "That's such an American sound, you know? School out and the flag down? Such a sad American sound. You should hear it sometime when the sun's gone down, and a light evening wind comes up, and it's suppertime all over the world." So descriptive...I can see and feel the scene exactly.
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