In 1969, Kurt Vonnegut, Jr., was not especially well known or commercially successful, despite having already published five novels and two short story collections. The publication of Slaughterhouse-Five in that year marked Vonnegut's artistic and commercial breakthrough. Based on Vonnegut's own experiences as a World War II prisoner who witnessed the Allied firebombing of Dresden, Germany, Slaughterhouse-Five is the story of Billy Pilgrim, a man who has come ‘‘unstuck in time.’’ Without any forewarning, he finds himself suddenly transported to other points in time in his own past or future. In chronicling the extraordinary events that happen to Billy, from witnessing the Dresden firebombing to being kidnapped by aliens, Slaughterhouse-Five summarizes many of the themes of Vonnegut's work. These include the dangers of unchecked technology, the limitations of human action in a seemingly random and meaningless universe, and the need for people, adrift in an indifferent world, to treat one another with kindness and decency. Almost thirty years after its initial publication, Slaughterhouse-Five remains Vonnegut's most discussed and widely admired novel.