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Mother Night

Mother Night Mother Night is a daring challenge to our moral sense American Howard W Campbell Jr a spy during World War II is now on trial in Israel as a Nazi war criminal But is he really guilty In this brillia

Mother Night is a daring challenge to our moral sense American Howard W Campbell, Jr a spy during World War II, is now on trial in Israel as a Nazi war criminal But is he really guilty In this brilliant book rife with true gallows humor, Vonnegut turns black and white into a chilling shade of gray with a verdict that will haunt us all.

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    462 Kurt Vonnegut

About Author

  1. Kurt Vonnegut says:
    Kurt Vonnegut, Junior was an American novelist, satirist, and most recently, graphic artist He was recognized as New York State Author for 2001 2003 He was born in Indianapolis, later the setting for many of his novels He attended Cornell University from 1941 to 1943, where he wrote a column for the student newspaper, the Cornell Daily Sun Vonnegut trained as a chemist and worked as a journalist before joining the U.S Army and serving in World War II After the war, he attended University of Chicago as a graduate student in anthropology and also worked as a police reporter at the City News Bureau of Chicago He left Chicago to work in Schenectady, New York in public relations for General Electric He attributed his unadorned writing style to his reporting work His experiences as an advance scout in the Battle of the Bulge, and in particular his witnessing of the bombing of Dresden, Germany whilst a prisoner of war, would inform much of his work This event would also form the core of his most famous work, Slaughterhouse Five, the book which would make him a millionaire This acerbic 200 page book is what most people mean when they describe a work as Vonnegutian in scope Vonnegut was a self proclaimed humanist and socialist influenced by the style of Indiana s own Eugene V Debs and a lifelong supporter of the American Civil Liberties Union.The novelist is known for works blending satire, black comedy and science fiction, such as Slaughterhouse Five 1969 , Cat s Cradle 1963 , and Breakfast of Champions 1973

Comment 584 on “Mother Night

  1. Kemper says:
    The thing I love best about Kurt Vonnegut is that he was both the ultimate cynic and the ultimate humanist What better character for him to create to embody those views than a Nazi with good intentions Howard W Campbell Jr was an American citizen who grew up in Germany and became a prominent Nazi thanks to his virulent anti Semitic propaganda However, Howard had actually been recruited before the war began to be an American spy who provided vital intelligence to the Allies via codes hidden in hi [...]

  2. Manny says:
    Vastly underrated piece of black comedy, about a World War 2 double agent whose cover is a Nazi propagandist in the style of Lord Haw Haw Vonnegut says in the preface that this is the only one of his books where he knows what the moral is You are what you pretend to be, so be careful about who you pretend to be For my money, Vonnegut s second best book, runningCat s Cradle very close.It s not just me the great Doris Lessing also wrote once that she couldn t quite understand why this book wasn t [...]

  3. Amanda says:
    When most people think of Kurt Vonnegut, the novels Slaughterhouse Five and Cat s Cradle immediately come to mind It s a shame that people aren t familiar with Mother Night, a novel in which Vonnegut explores the nature of moral ambiguity and what high minded ideals we sacrifice on the altar of war It s a skillful blend of Vonnegut s trademark dark humor and philosophical musings about human morality as observed through the lens of war To put it simply, this is some good stuff.Sitting in an Isr [...]

  4. Jason says:
    This is the best Vonnegut I ve read so far American Nazi Howard W Campbell, Jr is awaiting trial on war crimes A traitor to the American people, Campbell is responsible for the deliberate spread of damaging propaganda throughout Germany and its occupied territories during World War II He is an evil, dangerous man who is undoubtedly guilty of high treason.Or is he As the account of Campbell s life in Germany unfolds, much is revealed about his motives, the benign sequence of events leading to his [...]

  5. BlackOxford says:
    Spotting Fake NewsFake news did not arise with Donald Trump s tweets Propagandists of the Left and the Right have used it since before there was a Left and Right America has always had a fascist edge 19th century Nativists, Know Nothings, Klansmen, Red Shirts, White Leaguers, and Constitutional Unionists invented fake news long before the John Birch Society, Glenn Beck, Lou Dobbs or the alt Right of Steve Bannon claimed that mass media routinely hide the truth about immigrants, Jews, and Blacks [...]

  6. Luca Ambrosino says:
    English Mother Night ItalianoProbably Vonnegut will never be one of my favourite writers However, I must say that Mother Night is a good novel Howard W Campbell Junior is an American playwright emigrated to Germany of the Third Reich, become the symbol as well as the radio personality of Nazi propaganda Campbell Junior brings us his memories from an Israeli jail, waiting to be tried for crimes against humanity.The tragicomic story that comes out gives us totally grotesque characters, motivated b [...]

  7. Ɗắɳ2.☊ says:
    What the this surely wasn t penned by Kurt Vonnegut, right Where s that bizarre sci fi slant Where are those Tralfamadorians, or that confusing, time shifting narrative We aren t seriously stuck in time for the entire story here What about all those absurd characters No Kilgore Trout, Dwayne Hoover, or Billy Pilgrim Ah but some of these guys are pretty odd, and I couldn t help but notice a few references to Schenectady, New York That s all rather curious, but I m still not entirely convinced.I [...]

  8. Lyn says:
    In Stanley Kubrik s film, Full Metal Jacket, one of the most highlighted scenes is where the protagonist is asked to explain the peace symbol and Born to Kill slogan on his helmet His response I think I was trying to suggest something about the duality of man Cannot help but wonder if the writer for Full Metal Jacket had been thinking of Mother Night when he wrote that line One of the darker novels in Vonnegut s collection, but still with the humor and blithely irreverent tone that is his tradem [...]

  9. Jason Koivu says:
    I m going to make an unpopular statement right now This is the best of Kurt Vonnegut s novels Okay Cat s Cradle and Slaughterhouse Five fans, fling your dung at me, I understand The characters, setting, plot, all of it comes together in a well wrapped tale in which a man fights the truth of his own identity under the pressing weight of the author s imposed moral law that states you are what you pretend to be In Mother Night, the story of an American spy working undercover within Germany during W [...]

  10. Madeleine says:
    As much as I enjoyed reading Kurt Vonnegut expound upon Kurt Vonnegut in A Man Without a Country not that long ago, it didn t quite satisfy the craving I ve had for his fiction Sure, there is something to be said for watching a favorite author turn his fine tuned gallows humor on himself and the society in which he both lives and has lived but sometimes I just want to be told a story, damnit Before launching into the novel proper, Vonnegut introduces Mother Night as the only story of his with a [...]

  11. Algernon says:
    Future civilizations better civilizations than this one are going to judge all men by the extent to which they ve been artists You and I, if some future archeologist finds our works miraculously preserved in some city dump, will be judged by the quality of our creations Nothing else about us will matter.Mother Nightis one of the author s favorites, so according to the above quote extracted from the book, it is how he would want to be judged by posterity I believe I read somewhere than Vonnegut d [...]

  12. Barry Pierce says:
    I ve always considered Vonnegut to be one of my favourite writers but I keep forgetting to read his books.Mother Night is quite a different novel from what you d expect with Vonnegut There is no mind bending science fiction or metafictional madness Instead we have the story of Howard W Campbell Jr an American accused of being a Nazi due to his radio broadcasts from Germany during the war He was actually a US counter spy leaking Nazi secrets to the US but that little caveat is not well known, so [...]

  13. Melki says:
    You are the only man I ever heard of, Mengel said to me this morning, who has a bad conscience about what he did in the war Everybody else, no matter what side he was on, no matter what he did, is sure a good man could not have acted in any other way Poor Howard Campbell, Jr an American living in Germany, is recruited to spew on air Nazi propaganda that is laced with coded information for the Allies You ll be volunteering right at the start of the war to be a dead man Even if you live through th [...]

  14. Apatt says:
    This is the only story of mine whose moral I know I don t think it s a marvelous moral I simply happen to know what it is We are what we pretend to be, so we must be careful about what we pretend to be Before I started writing this review I quickly scanned other reviews of this book on just to see if many of them start off with the above iconic quote I did not find one so I went ahead with putting in the quote Probably not that great an idea, that is why nobody want to do it I had no idea what M [...]

  15. Kirstine says:
    Before this, I d never read anything by Kurt Vonnegut From this day forward, consider me a fan It s strange, really, how some books fall into your life at exactly the right time I don t know how it happens If we somehow unconsciously know that this is the book we need and pick it up and let it take us places Perhaps All I know is this particular book came into my life at the most opportune moment I say opportune, because I just recently acquired the skills to really understand this book, or at l [...]

  16. Mel says:
    My sister, a librarian and crazy mad Vonnegut fan when he passed away she actually wrote the eulogy for her town s local newspaper , said to me when she suggested this book, that Mother Night is probably Vonnegut s most underappreciated novel, while Vonnegut himself considered it one of his best His other personal favorites Slaughterhouse 5, and Cat s Cradle She is a librarian with a PhD, so I don t argue literature with her and Vonnegut is her favorite When a reader can claim A favorite author, [...]

  17. Sam Quixote says:
    Opening in 1960, former Nazi Howard W Campbell Jr is sitting in a Jerusalem jail awaiting trial a la Adolf Eichmann did in real life for his part in the Third Reich s crimes as a radio propagandist except he was really an American double agent, sending coded messages to the Allies through his broadcasts But is he a hero for working to defeat Hitler or damned for furthering the Nazis convictions against the Jews in the process Mother Night is the best Kurt Vonnegut novel I ve read though that s n [...]

  18. Oriana says:
    God, this book is so devastating Vonnegut is so chameleonic, or something, how the lightness of his prose brilliantly belies the darkness of his themes, but oh my god, I can t even think how to express how sad this one made me Everything is so sharply focused, every word is so perfectly, harrowingly placed The loops and recursions and double agents and plots within plots all perfect All awful All honed for maximum pathos and horror without becoming maudlin or overdramatic I feel punched in the g [...]

  19. Szplug says:
    Right up front Kurt Vonnegut explains the moral of this short novel We are what we pretend to be, so we must be careful what we pretend to be We then are shuffled rapidly through a cast of post war men and women wearing masks, decked out to publicly play an adopted role, whilst concealing their true feelings and being underneath The champion dissembler is Howard W Campbell Jr a former deep cover American operative in the heart of Nazi Germany, who so brilliantly espoused propaganda and spat veno [...]

  20. StevenGodin says:
    Howard W Campbell Jr, a name that will now live long in the memory, for while behind bars in an Israeli prison awaiting trial for crimes against humanity during the second world war he sets out his memoirs, and so unfolds a remarkable story Living in Berlin with his German wife he writes and spreads Nazi propaganda over the airwaves all the while being a spy for the U.S military, and after the war is holed up in an apartment in New York But with his name now recognized as a war criminal, and man [...]

  21. Meike says:
    We are what we pretend to be, so we must be careful what we pretend to be Howard W Campbell, Jr is one of the most important propagandists of the Third Reich, and he is an American spy While sending coded messages to the U.S during WW II, he is also contributing to the German war machine Mother Night is the memoir this fictional character writes in a Jerusalem prison, while awaiting trial for war crimes.This is an equally dark and funny metafictional novel, full of clever ideas, puns, jokes, sat [...]

  22. Caro M. says:
    We are who we pretend to be, so we must be careful about what we pretend to be Howard W Campbell, Jr the protagonist of the story, is a perfect example of someone who tried to do as the Romans do in Germany at the inhuman time of Third Reich and World War II and to get rid of his own conscience, yet got completely outplayed by it It s absolutely impossible not to laugh at his attempts to please everyone and agree with everything his life brought upon him At the same time his awareness of his own [...]


  23. Brad says:
    It s been a long, long time since I read Mr Vonnegut I remember his satire being funny I didn t laugh this time around Maybe it was just me, but Mother Night was deadly serious Guilt Not the state of being physically guilty of committing a negative action, a crime if you prefer, but the feeling of guilt that festers in one s soul for a lifetime That s the guilt, that Raskalnikovian guilt, that interested me in Mother Night I liked Howard J Campbell Jr Joseph Goebbels best radio propagandist, cre [...]

  24. MJ Nicholls says:
    As a deliberate contrast to Jonathan Littell s 1000 page monster The Kindly Ones, I re read this early Vonnegut masterpiece The 1997 Robert B Weide adaptationwith Nick Nolte is one of my favourite movies, and where the novel is structured in typical nonlinear fashion, the movie embellishes and adds colour to the novel in its linear form The two mediums compliment each other perfectly, so if you haven t seen the film version, do it soon And if you haven t read this brilliant novella, the confessi [...]

  25. Stuart says:
    Like many other reviewers, I think this is one of Vonnegut s best works, on par with Cat s Cradle and Slaughterhouse Five, perhaps even better It is a straight up story, without any SF or surreal elements, and what it has to say about morality amid the atrocities of war is not comfortable to swallow In every way, it s black gallows humor of the highest order, and only Kurt Vonnegut could deliver it with such pathos and wisdom.Who is Howard W Campbell, Jr Well, he was born in the US but moved to [...]

  26. Dan says:
    This is one of my favorite books I picked this book up and read it through in one sitting I couldn t put it down I was so engaged.This book presents the moral dilemma of Howard W Campbell Jr an American who became a Nazi propagandist However, he only became a Nazi propagandist because he was spying for the USA Yet, he was a really good propagandist His dilemma is this Does the good of spying for America obviate and out weigh the evils he did by making propaganda for the Nazis or do his sins and [...]

  27. Edward says:
    I have a soft spot for Kurt Vonnegut Slaughterhouse Five was my entry point or perhaps re entry point after a very long hiatus into literature I read it just over a year ago, and I loved Vonnegut s straightforward, witty and cynical style But really, it was the way that he combined so many strange and unique elements in such an original way to express something very powerful, that so captivated me The book was unlike anything I had read before, and it hinted at the great potential of literature [...]

  28. Jonathan says:
    Oh KV no one can write the messy, unpalatable Truth of us like you The only sane response to the great weight of sadness, which must come with any understanding of our species, is the sorrowful smile of your prose.

  29. Hadrian says:
    Dark and biting, with the blackest of humor Vonnegut is one of the very few humorists out there who leaves you sadder than when you started But I mean that as a compliment He s one of the best.Words fail me He really as is great as people say.

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