The Village Voice, in a less than positive review, called Vonnegut a "radical Andy Rooney." Vonnegut's curmudgeonly commentary is certainly more pointed than the often whimsical, lighthearted approach Rooney takes. Vonnegut would have been the little boy telling us the Emperor has no clothes. He says Americans are "now as feared and hated all over the world as Nazis once were." I've tried to get my mind around this statement, but I am having a difficult time. Nazis were not, and still are not, hated all over the world. While Americans may be hated and feared (officially and unofficially) in many quarters, there is certainly an equal amount of comfort and love directed toward us. Travel and you will hear repeatedly, "I love the American people, but I have problems with the government." Perhaps Vonnegut employs hyperbole and his notoriously sardonic wit to speak a truth many are not willing to hear in order to question our governmental policies.
Are these, then, just the rantings of an old man no longer in step with the world? No. Thankfully, Kurt Vonnegut was never in step with the world. He looked where we looked and saw a different vision. He remains a master of American literature, and A Man Without a Country shows us just how exceptional his powers of observation and his ability to convey them to us remain.