Vonnegut is the author of over 200 published works including novels, articles, stories, collections, plays and exactly 1 poem. He is perhaps the most well known for Slaughterhouse Five (1969) a satirical novel about WWII experiences, the Dresden Fire Bombings, the Battle of the Bulge and the Vietnam War. Vonnegut served in WWII as a private and was captured during the Battle of the Bulge and held as a prisoner of war. While being held captive he also witnesssed the Dresden Fire Bombins in Germany. When Vonnegut returned home he received a Purple Heart for what he described as a, "ludicrously negligible wound", after suffering a case of frostbite.
Vonnegut used irony, satire and comedic cynacism to frame discussions around war, life experiences and humanity. One of his great influences was Mark Twain, whom his son is named after. Vonnegut also had a fondness for science fiction on which many of his stories are based.
In addition to being a successful writer, Vonnegut dabbled in the arts, more seriously later in life, although he did illustrate his own novels. Vonnegut was a professor and taught literature as well as writing courses at various colleges including; University of Iowa, University of Albany, Harvard University and the City College of New York where he was a Distinguished Professor. His resume also includes public relations for General Electric in Schenectady, New York after returning home from war. While working for General Electric he was an active volunteer fire-fighter in Glenville, New York where he lived. Another one of his many occupations was as manager of the first Saab dealership in the United States in Barnstable, Massachusetts.
At the time of his death, Vonnegut owned homes in Manahattan and Sagaponack on Long Island, both in New York where he permanently moved to in 1970. He was married to photographer Jill Krementz. Throughout his life he raised seven children. Three children from his previous marriage as well as one daughter from Jill Krementz. He also raised his sister's three children after she lost her battle with cancer.
A man of many talents, Vonnegut's long career earned him a place in American Literature as one of the great modern writers. When news of his death was learned, friend and fans left flowers, notes and other memorabilia at his Manhattan town house. Vonnegut lived on 48th street between 2nd and 3rd aves, the block was also home to writer, E.B. White. Vonnegut was a visible character in the neighborhood and there had been talk of dedicating his favorite bench in his honor.
While Vonnegut may no longer be able to sit on his favorite bench and enjoy his favorite pastime, smoking unfiltered Pall Mall cigarettes, his literature and legacy live on.
In the infamous words of Billy Pilgrim, "And so it goes".