And So It Goes

Kurt Vonnegut: A Life

By Charles J. Shields
(Henry Holt & Company, Hardcover, 9780805086935, 513pp.)

Publication Date: November 8, 2011

List Price: $30.00*
* Individual store prices may vary.
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Selected by Indie Booksellers for the November 2011 Indie Next List
“Shields' authorized portrayal of one of America's most beloved authors sheds light on the man behind the curtain. Readers for the first time gain insight into the progression of Vonnegut's works, from market-minded science fiction to artful literature. With a varied pace, spending just the right amount of time on each subject and detail, Shields effortlessly lays out Vonnegut's history as a story, an entertaining read complete with conversational asides. It is no wonder that Vonnegut himself chose Shields to expose his life to the masses.”
-- Nick Hodge, Read Between the Lynes, Inc., Woodstock


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
A former English teacher who taught Harper Lee's novel for years, Charles J. Shields has a BA in English and an MA in American history from the University of Illinois, where he was a James Scholar. The author of many widely praised books for young people, he spent four years researching "Mockingbird" in Alabama, New York, and Kansas, speaking to hundreds of Lee's neighbors, friends, classmates, and culling facts from the archives of Truman Capote and other collections, as well as papers from the Monroe County (Alabama) courthouse and historical museum. He lives in central Virginia with his wife.
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