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  1. 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 i [...]

  2. 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 wa [...]

  3. When most people think of Kurt Vonnegut, the novels Slaughterhouse-Five and Cat's Cradle immediately come to mind. It's a shame that more 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 [...]

  4. 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 leadi [...]

  5. 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 Bl [...]

  6. 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, m [...]

  7. 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 s [...]

  8. 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 [...]

  9. 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 duri [...]

  10. 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 [...]

  11. 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 Von [...]

  12. 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, [...]

  13. "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 thr [...]

  14. “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 h [...]

  15. 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, [...]

  16. 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 [...]

  17. 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 (th [...]

  18. 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 i [...]

  19. 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 [...]

  20. 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 [...]

  21. "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, j [...]

  22. “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 [...]

  23. شب مادر پنجمین تجربه ونه گات خوانیم بود. به خاطر فضای جنگ جهانی دومی که داره کمی یادآور "سلاخ خانه شماره پنج" هداستان با همون طنز همیشگی و لحن سرخوشانه ونه گات روایت میشه ولی تو این کتاب، برخلاف سه اثر فیکشن قبلی که از ونه گات خوندم از نشانه های آخرالزمانی یا علمی تخیلی اثری نیس [...]

  24. 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 propaga [...]

  25. 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, th [...]

  26. 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 bu [...]

  27. 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 s [...]

  28. 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 liter [...]

  29. 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.

  30. 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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