Dresden firebombing Archive


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By way of introduction at readings, I often start with a poem about my hometown. “For those of you who don’t know me,” I say, “I’m from Schenectady, New York, and I think it is the greatest small city in the world.” I wait a beat before the punchline:

Big Picture, Small Picture: Context for Kurt Vonnegut’s Slaughterhouse-Five

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Kurt Vonnegut's Slaughterhouse-Five, published March 31, 1969, follows anti-hero Billy Pilgrim, inspired by Edward Crone Jr., as he survives the Battle of the Bulge, German internment, and the Dresden firebombing, finally settling into a comfortable life as an optometrist in upstate New York.