ERIC Number: EJ863682
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2009
Reference Count: 66
The Dark Ages Haven't Ended Yet: Kurt Vonnegut and the Cold War
Ramsey, Paul J.
American Educational History Journal, v36 n1 p89-104 2009
The classic "Slaughterhouse-Five" (1969/1991) and other writings of American novelist, Kurt Vonnegut, Jr., resonate with young people and are sometimes part of the required curriculum in secondary schools, which necessitates an exploration of the ideas and ideals to which youngsters are exposed. This article explores the Atomic Age through this great American writer's body of work. Vonnegut was leery of the kind of society the Cold War was creating in America, a society in which communist scares facilitated a conformist culture. Additionally, he (e.g., 1952/2006, 1968/2006, 2000) feared the Cold War was fueling the rise of a technocratic society in which bureaucrats held an inordinate amount of power and in which technological advancement led to a variety of dangerous and unintended consequences. Vonnegut also posited prescient and powerful statements about the nature and purpose of schooling in a postwar world. Moreover, the American novelist conjectured about the effects of a nuclear detonation in the United States (Vonnegut 1982/ 2006) and, naturally, about the end of humanity through some sort of global tragedy.
Descriptors: Secondary Schools, War, Technological Advancement, Authors, World History, United States History, Power Structure, Political Issues, Weapons, Social History, Social Influences, Role of Education
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Publication Type: Information Analyses; Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Secondary Education
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: United States