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February 13th, 2005

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11:02 am - Slaughterhouse 5
Today is the sixtieth anniversary of the bombing of Dresden. I live in Coventry, an ancient city which was similarly flattened by WW2 bombing. I am a massive fan of Kurt Vonnegut. Slaughterhouse 5 takes as its spring-off point the bombing of Dresden, which KV experienced at first hand. It is a very powerful anti-war story.

Innocently, Vonnegut took much of his information on Dresden from David Irving, an historian who has since been widely discredited as a Holocaust-denier and Nazi apologist. Many of Irving's claims on Dresden have been discredited (for instance he overestimated casualties by tens of thousands, and downplayed the tactical significance of the factories that were bombed).

Does this innocent error discredit Vonnegut's book? No way. Mass slaughter is a reality, and the emotional response to it is real. The political games played around that slaughter by those with axes to grind make no difference to the power of the book. A discussion of Irving, Dresden and war crimes on Crooked Timber.

(3 comments | Leave a comment)


[User Picture]
Date:February 13th, 2005 10:21 am (UTC)
Perhaps a good time to point of The Fog Of War is available from Play for £8.
[User Picture]
Date:February 13th, 2005 11:05 am (UTC)
Is it any good? I just thought spending a couple of hours in the company of a guy like that would be painful - but no?
[User Picture]
Date:February 13th, 2005 12:07 pm (UTC)
I dunno, I've not seen it. It is one of the films I periodically check to see whether it has gone sub-tenner. The catalyst this time being the anniversary of Dresden.

However the reviews very much made me want to see it, as did this post here.

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