After School Bans ‘Slaughterhouse-Five,’ Vonnegut Library Gives Copies for Free

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Even after death, Kurt Vonnegut is circumventing the rules.

When the Republic High School in Missouri banned Kurt Vonnegut’s 1969 novel, Slaughterhouse-Five, two weeks ago, the late author’s memorial library sprung into it action: offering free copies to any of the 150 students who were originally meant to read the book in class.

The book — which deals with war, the World War II bombing of Dresden, fate and society through a science-fiction plot vehicle — was banned for creating “false conceptions of American history and government or that teach principles contrary to Biblical morality and truth,” according to a 2010 complaint in the Republic School District. Although the free copies were offered by the memorial library, the books will be paid for by an anonymous donor, according to a blog post by Julia Whitehead, the executive director of the Vonnegut library in Indianapolis, as reported by the News-Leader.

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“It is shocking and unfortunate that those young adults and citizens would not be considered mature enough to handle the important topics raised by Kurt Vonnegut, a decorated war veteran. Everyone can learn something from his book,” Whitehead wrote in a statement, according to Reuters.

Wesley Scroggins, a Missouri State University professor, wrote the original complaint against the teaching of Slaughterhouse-Five, objecting to several aspects of the science-fiction novel.

“The content ranges from naked men and women in cages together so that others can watch them having sex to God telling people that they better not mess with his loser, bum of a son, named Jesus Christ,” Scroggins wrote.

Scroggins also asked that the Republic school district remove Sarah Ockler’s Twenty Boy Summer. The school board voted unanimously to remove both books from class reading lists and from the high school’s library.

The full name of the Vonnegut book is Slaughterhouse-Five, or The Children’s Crusade: A Duty-Dance with Death.

(MORE: Kurt Vonnegut, 1922-2007)

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