He survived the bombing of Dresden in 1945 (by taking shelter in a slaughterhouse) and a suicide attempt in 1984 before time a favorite target of his tar-black humor finally caught up with him. Both cynical and sentimental, furious and full of good-fellowship, Vonnegut combined a defiantly idiosyncratic temperament with a universal approachability. He distilled the dissatisfaction of his entire species in the cauldron of his boiling brain. "We are what we pretend to be," he warned in the intro to his novel Mother Night, "so we must be careful about what we pretend to be."
Person of the Year 2007
His final year as Russia's President has been his most successful yet. At home, he secured his political future. Abroad, he expanded his outsizeif not always benigninfluence on global affairs