Numerous scholarly works have examined Vonnegut's writing and humor. was born on November 11, 1922, in Indianapolis, Indiana.
He was the youngest of three children of Kurt Vonnegut Sr. His older siblings were Bernard (born 1914) and Alice (born 1917).
Vonnegut was descended from German immigrants who settled in the United States in the mid-19th century; his patrilineal great-grandfather, Clemens Vonnegut of Westphalia, Germany, settled in Indianapolis and founded the Vonnegut Hardware Company.
Kurt's father, and his father before him, Bernard, were architects; the architecture firm under Kurt Sr.
designed such buildings as Das Deutsche Haus (now called "The Athenæum"), the Indiana headquarters of the Bell Telephone Company, and the Fletcher Trust Building.
Both of Vonnegut's parents were fluent German speakers, but the ill feeling toward Germany during and after World War I caused them to abandon German culture in order to show their American patriotism.
The book's anti-war sentiment resonated with its readers amidst the ongoing Vietnam War and its reviews were generally positive.
After its release, Slaughterhouse-Five went to the top of The New York Times Best Seller list, thrusting Vonnegut into fame.
After his death, he was hailed as a morbidly comical commentator on the society in which he lived and as one of the most important contemporary writers.
Vonnegut's son Mark published a compilation of his father's unpublished compositions, titled Armageddon in Retrospect.