Cat's Cradle
Cat's Cradle is the fourth novel by American writer Kurt Vonnegut
Kurt Vonnegut
Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. was a 20th century American writer. His works such as Cat's Cradle , Slaughterhouse-Five and Breakfast of Champions blend satire, gallows humor and science fiction. He was known for his humanist beliefs and was honorary president of the American Humanist Association.-Early...

, first published in 1963. It explores issues of science, technology, and religion, satirizing the arms race
Arms race
The term arms race, in its original usage, describes a competition between two or more parties for the best armed forces. Each party competes to produce larger numbers of weapons, greater armies, or superior military technology in a technological escalation...

 and many other targets along the way. After turning down his original thesis, in 1971 the University of Chicago
University of Chicago
The University of Chicago is a private research university in Chicago, Illinois, USA. It was founded by the American Baptist Education Society with a donation from oil magnate and philanthropist John D. Rockefeller and incorporated in 1890...

 awarded Vonnegut his Master's degree in anthropology
Anthropology is the study of humanity. It has origins in the humanities, the natural sciences, and the social sciences. The term "anthropology" is from the Greek anthrōpos , "man", understood to mean mankind or humanity, and -logia , "discourse" or "study", and was first used in 1501 by German...

 for Cat's Cradle.

The title of the book derives from the string game "cat's cradle." Early in the book it is learned that Felix Hoenikker (a fictional co-inventor of the atom bomb) was playing cat's cradle when the bomb was dropped, and the game is later referenced by his son, Newton Hoenikker.
After World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

, Kurt Vonnegut worked in the public relations department for the General Electric
General Electric
General Electric Company , or GE, is an American multinational conglomerate corporation incorporated in Schenectady, New York and headquartered in Fairfield, Connecticut, United States...

 research company.

Nothing in this book is true."Live by the foma that make you brave and kind and healthy and happy." — The Books of Bokonon 1:5Harmless untruths


All of the true things that I am about to tell you are shameless lies.

first sentence of the Book of Bokonon; chapter 4

"Ah, God," says Bokonon, "what an ugly city every city is."

chapter 13

Round and round and round we spin,With feet of lead and wings of tin...

chapter 24

As Bokonon says: "Peculiar travel suggestions are dancing lessons from God."

chapter 31

Busy, busy, busy, is what we Bokononists whisper whenever we think of how complicated and unpredictable the machinery of life really is.

chapter 32

Pay no attention to Caesar. Caesar doesn’t have the slightest idea what’s really going on.

chapter 46

It was the belief of Bokonon that good societies could be built only by pitting good against evil, and by keeping tension between the two high at all times.

chapter 47