Author Kurt Vonnegut is often perceived as one of the greatest post-apocalyptic authors of the 20th century. His stories take from his life experiences, carrying a melancholy feeling that transcends his writing, taking the reader into the story. The son of third generation German immigrants, he was born in 1922 in Indianapolis, where his great grandfather had founded Vonnegut Hardware Company. Vonnegut's father and grandfather had both attended MIT before become architects at their company. His brother discovered the process of stimulating precipitation that is, having the ability to make it rain indoors. After Vonnegut graduated high school in 1940, he moved on to Cornell, where he enlisted in the US Army, who transferred him to the University of Tennessee to study mechanical engineering. .
While on leave in 1944, he discovered his mother had committed suicide on Mother's Day. In December of the same year, he was taken as a POW in Dresden, briefly serving as the leader of the prisoners because he spoke German. However, once he told the German soldiers what he would do once the Russians saved them, his position was revoked. While a POW, Vonnegut witnessed the firebombing, which was; along with the nickname the guards gave their camp, the basis for "Slaughterhouse-Five." .
In May 1945, the Red Army liberated Vonnegut's camp. When he returned to the states, he was awarded a Purple Heart for what Vonnegut described as a "ludicrously negligible wound,"" which he later explained was a bout of frostbite. Kurt Vonnegut submitted what would become "Cat's Cradle" as his master's thesis to the University of Chicago, who accepted it and he was awarded his Masters in anthropology. While in Chicago, he worked for the City News Bureau. He eventually left Chicago to work PR for General Electric, before moving on to Sports Illustrated in the fifties. In 1957, while living on Cape Cod, he started one of the first Saab dealerships in the US.