And So It Goes: Kurt Vonnegut: A Life

Front Cover
Henry Holt and Company, Nov 8, 2011 - Biography & Autobiography - 528 pages

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.


What people are saying - Write a review

User ratings

5 stars
4 stars
3 stars
2 stars
1 star

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - rmckeown - LibraryThing

Back in the 60s, everyone read Kurt Vonnegut – for his humor, his satire, his snarky comments, and his off-beat and quirky style. I tried Cat’s Cradle and Slaughterhouse 5. I rated both “Meh ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - hardlyhardy - LibraryThing

"What a biographer is looking for is patterns of behavior." Charles J. Shields, "And So It Goes: Kurt Vonnegut: A Life" That may be true, but it is the exceptions to those patterns, the ... Read full review


Out of Print and Scared to Death
You Were an Accident 19221940
One of the Biggest Fools on the Hill 19401943
To War in the Bridal Suite 19431945
Folk Society and the House of Magic 19451947
Stop Being Such a Hardheaded Realist 19481951
The Dead Engineer 19511958
Goodbye and Goodbye and Goodbye 19691971
Cultural Bureaucrat 19711974
Ripped Off 19751979
Looking for Mr Vonnegut 19801984
Dear Celebrity 19841991
Waiting to Die 19922007
VonnegutLieber Family History

Cooped Up with All These Kids 19581965
A Community of Writers 19651967
The Big KaBOOM 19671969

Other editions - View all

Common terms and phrases

About the author (2011)

Charles J. Shields is the author of And So It Goes: Kurt Vonnegut: A Life, Mockingbird: A Portrait of Harper Lee, the highly acclaimed, bestselling biography of Harper Lee, and I Am Scout: The Biography of Harper Lee (Henry Holt Books for Young Readers). He grew up in the Midwest and taught in a rural school in central Illinois for several years. He has been a reporter for public radio, a journalist, and the author of nonfiction books for young people. He and his wife live near Charlottesville, Virginia.

Bibliographic information