Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
It is the story of Howard W. Campbell Jr., a United States spy posing as a radio propagandist for the Nazi regime during World War II. After the war, his work as a propagandist is largely forgotten and his work for the US remains secret; as such, he lives in isolation in New York City, until he surrenders voluntarily to Israel for trial. Throughout the book, Campbell grapples with the possibility that he was inadvertently more useful to the Nazis than to the US.
The moral of this story, as pointed out by Vonnegut himself in the introduction, is also the source of his most famous quote: "We are what we pretend to be, so we must be careful about what we pretend to be."
It is a compassionate novel (for Vonnegut), while retaining some of his normal satirical flavor. The book is truly "Vonnegutian."
According to a 1996 online interview Vonnegut said Weide "has been a friend for 15 years so I had a very good idea of what he would do and how well he understood the book. So I was right to trust him"; when asked about the degree of artistic influence Vonnegut had had over the film, Vonnegut said "Almost none. Except my friendship with Weide — I would have kicked him in the balls if he did a bad job."
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