And So It Goes: Kurt Vonnegut: A Life

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And So It Goes: Kurt Vonnegut: A Life

by Charles J Shields

Henry Holt and Co. | November 7, 2013 | Hardcover

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A New York Times Notable Book for 2011

A Washington Post Notable Nonfiction Book for 2011

The first authoritative biography of Kurt Vonnegut Jr., a writer who changed the conversation of American literature.

In 2006, Charles Shields reached out to Kurt Vonnegut in a letter, asking for his endorsement for a planned biography. The first response was no ("A most respectful demurring by me for the excellent writer Charles J. Shields, who offered to be my biographer"). Unwilling to take no for an answer, propelled by a passion for his subject, and already deep into his research, Shields wrote again and this time, to his delight, the answer came back: "O.K." For the next year-a year that ended up being Vonnegut''s last-Shields had access to Vonnegut and his letters.

And So It Goes is the culmination of five years of research and writing-the first-ever biography of the life of Kurt Vonnegut. Vonnegut resonates with readers of all generations from the baby boomers who grew up with him to high-school and college students who are discovering his work for the first time. Vonnegut''s concise collection of personal essays, Man Without a Country, published in 2006, spent fifteen weeks on the New York Times bestseller list and has sold more than 300,000 copies to date. The twenty-first century has seen interest in and scholarship about Vonnegut''s works grow even stronger, and this is the first book to examine in full the life of one of the most influential iconoclasts of his time.

Format: Hardcover

Dimensions: 528 pages, 3.75 × 2.56 × 0.67 in

Published: November 7, 2013

Publisher: Henry Holt and Co.

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 0805086935

ISBN - 13: 9780805086935

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– More About This Product –

And So It Goes: Kurt Vonnegut: A Life

by Charles J Shields

Format: Hardcover

Dimensions: 528 pages, 3.75 × 2.56 × 0.67 in

Published: November 7, 2013

Publisher: Henry Holt and Co.

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 0805086935

ISBN - 13: 9780805086935

About the Book

The first authoritative and authorized biography of a writer who changed the conversation of American literature, "And So It Goes" is the culmination of five years of research and writing. The 21st century has seen interest in and scholarship about Vonnegut's works grow even stronger, and this is the first book to examine in full the life of one of the most influential iconoclasts of his time. 528 pp. 50,000 print.

Read from the Book

1: You Were an Accident 1922-1940 The wedding of Kurt Vonneguts parents, Edith Sophia Lieber and Kurt Vonnegut Sr. on November 22, 1913, in Indianapolis, Indiana, was spectacular. Ediths father, Albert, owner of a giant brewery who reveled in his reputation as one of the richest men in the city, threw a gargantuan reception at the Claypool Hotel at the northwest corner of Washington and Illinois streets, reputed to be the finest hotel in the Midwest. There were six hundred guests, and those not chauffeured in automobiles arrived in horse-drawn carriages with jingling brass harnessesan entire generation of rich Edwardians, silk-hatted or covered demurely by parasols, many of whom had been raised in Indianapoliss mansions on Meridian Street.1 Albert Lieber knew what his guests expected and he did not disappoint. There was a sixty-foot bar, choice meats, champagne, and dancing to an orchestra in the ballroom lasting until six in the morning. And to the satisfaction of some guests, there was plenty of gossip to go around, too. The bride had graduated from Miss Shipleys finishing school in Bryn Mawr outside Philadelphia in time to come out for the 1908 season in London. Her first serious suitor, Kenneth Doulton, whose family owned the world famous Royal Doulton Porcelain Works, had proposed. He said his father would buy them a house in Mayfair, hinting that they could live very well if her father would settle a good-sized dowry on her. But she suspected he was an upper-class idler
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From the Publisher

A New York Times Notable Book for 2011

A Washington Post Notable Nonfiction Book for 2011

The first authoritative biography of Kurt Vonnegut Jr., a writer who changed the conversation of American literature.

In 2006, Charles Shields reached out to Kurt Vonnegut in a letter, asking for his endorsement for a planned biography. The first response was no ("A most respectful demurring by me for the excellent writer Charles J. Shields, who offered to be my biographer"). Unwilling to take no for an answer, propelled by a passion for his subject, and already deep into his research, Shields wrote again and this time, to his delight, the answer came back: "O.K." For the next year-a year that ended up being Vonnegut''s last-Shields had access to Vonnegut and his letters.

And So It Goes is the culmination of five years of research and writing-the first-ever biography of the life of Kurt Vonnegut. Vonnegut resonates with readers of all generations from the baby boomers who grew up with him to high-school and college students who are discovering his work for the first time. Vonnegut''s concise collection of personal essays, Man Without a Country, published in 2006, spent fifteen weeks on the New York Times bestseller list and has sold more than 300,000 copies to date. The twenty-first century has seen interest in and scholarship about Vonnegut''s works grow even stronger, and this is the first book to examine in full the life of one of the most influential iconoclasts of his time.

About the Author

Charles J. Shields is the author of And So It Goes: Kurt Vonnegut: A Life, Mockingbird: A Portrait of Harper Lee, the highly acclaimed, bestselling biography of Harper Lee, and I Am Scout: The Biography of Harper Lee (Henry Holt Books for Young Readers). He grew up in the Midwest and taught in a rural school in central Illinois for several years. He has been a reporter for public radio, a journalist, and the author of nonfiction books for young people. He and his wife live near Charlottesville, Virginia.

Editorial Reviews

"An incisive, gossipy page-turner of a biography." –Janet Maslin, The New York Times "An engaging, surprising and empathetic page-turner"— Deirdre Donahue, USA Today "The first truly exacting look into the life of a man who has fascinated so many."— Esquire Magazine "Engaging and well paced, the book fills in the reality behind Vonnegut’s work"—Christen Aragoni, The American Prospect "This first authorized biography probes both Vonnegut’s creative struggles and family life, detailing his transition from ‘the bowery of the book world’ to counterculture icon. Shields delivers a vivid recreation of Vonnegut’s ghastly WWII experiences as a POW during the Dresden firebombing that became the basis for Slaughterhouse-Five . . . . Tragedies and triumphs are contrasted throughout, along with an adroit literary analysis that highlights obscure or overlooked influences on Vonnegut. . . . With access to more than 1,500 letters, Shields conducted hundreds of interviews to produce this engrossing, definitive biography."— PW , Starred Review "This book fills a much-needed gap, since very little seems to be known about the late Kurt Vonnegut, despite his immense popularity over almost five decades. Shields did a thorough job, interviewing Vonnegut and his friends and family, and examining many letters. Vonnegut was one of the most influential authors of the late twentieth century, and this biography is essential reading."—Anis
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