Tom Roston - "The Writer's Crusade"

Friday, October 15, 2021 - 6:30pm - 7:30pm
Event Presenter/Author: 
Tom Roston

Join us for a conversation with Tom Roston on his book, Writer's Crusade: Kurt Vonnegut and the Many Lives of Slaughterhouse-Five, and pre-order your copy of the book today!

Presented in partnership with American Writers Museum

Virtual Event

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About the book: Kurt Vonnegut was twenty years old when he enlisted in the United States Army. Less than two years later, he was captured by the Germans in the single deadliest US engagement of the war, the Battle of the Bulge. He was taken to a POW camp, then transferred to a work camp near Dresden, and held in a slaughterhouse called Schlachthof Fünf where he survived the horrific firebombing that killed thousands and destroyed the city.

To the millions of fans of Vonnegut's great novel Slaughterhouse-Fivethese details are familiar. They're told by the book's author/narrator, and experienced by his enduring character Billy Pilgrim, a war veteran who "has come unstuck in time." Writing during the tumultuous days of the Vietnam conflict, with the novel, Vonnegut had, after more than two decades of struggle, taken trauma and created a work of art, one that still resonates today.

In The Writer's Crusadeauthor Tom Roston examines the connection between Vonnegut's life and Slaughterhouse-Five. Did Vonnegut suffer from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder? Did Billy Pilgrim? Roston probes Vonnegut's work, his personal history, and discarded drafts of the novel, as well as original interviews with the writer's family, friends, scholars, psychologists, and other novelists including Karl Marlantes, Kevin Powers, and Tim O'Brien. The Writer's Crusade is a literary and biographical journey that asks fundamental questions about trauma, creativity, and the power of storytelling.

About the author: Tom Roston has been writing and editing stories about culture, food and life in New York City for more than 20 years. He has profiled a long list of dynamic subjects, from documentarian Ken Burns to actor Tom Cruise, from chef Jose Andres to Judge Judy. He drove across Montana with Viggo Mortensen, got tattoos (not matching) with Angelina Jolie in Montreal, drank whiskey with Jane Goodall and translated Khmer words into English for Kurt Vonnegut. In The Quantum Prophets, he sought to uncover what lies beneath the intellectual battle between Richard Dawkins and Deepak Chopra. In I Lost It at the Video Store: A Filmmakers’ Oral History of a Vanished Era, he constructed a narrative chronicle of a creative movement from interviews with filmmakers such as Quentin Tarantino, Kevin Smith, Darren Aronofsky, David O. Russell and Allison Anders. Roston started out at The Nation and Vanity Fair, and worked for ten years at Premiere. His writing has appeared in The New York Times, Food Republic, Fast Company and Salon, among other publications. In addition to being a freelance journalist, he worked as a writing consultant to the City of New York for many years. He lives in Brooklyn, where he mostly avoids writing about himself in the third person.

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