The Brothers Vonnegut, by Ginger Strand, is a fascinating study of Kurt Vonnegut’s career in public relations for General Electric (GE) in the late 1940’s. Yet equally important is the story of Bernard Vonnegut, Kurt’s older brother, an accomplished scientist specializing in weather phenomenon. Author Ginger Strand shared her thoughts with The Daily Vonnegut.
Q: What inspired you to write this book?
A: Surprisingly, while I liked what I had read, I wasn’t a lifelong Kurt Vonnegut fan. I came to this story via Bernie. I was reading about New York City’s 1950 drought, in which the city cloud seeded the Catskill Mountains in an attempt to fill their reservoirs. That story was fascinating enough, but when I learned that the person who invented the method New York City used was Bernard Vonnegut, brother to Kurt, I got interested. I remembered how Kurt had been caught in the firebombing of Dresden during World War II, and had only survived because he was in a slaughterhouse basement. This lyrical pair of images—one brother hiding underground to avoid fire and death from the sky, the other brother in the air trying to coax water and life from the sky—stuck with me.
For the complete interview, click here.