"You understand, of course, that everything I say is horseshit" -- Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. -- so damn disarming how can you not like the fella? He wants so much to please: "But it's a useful, comforting sort of horseshit, you see?" He has a good word for everyone -- from the inventor of napalm to Madame Blavatsky, from a Cape Cod mass murderer to Louis-Ferdinand Celine. He even thinks a social evening with an old schoolmate and her husband Melvin Laird might not be unpleasant. The only person he seems to have any kind of real grudge against is Richard M. Nixon, and then, not because the President is "evil," but because "he dislikes us." Those made-up words in the title come from Cat's Cradle and define aspects of the sense of community among men that inspires Vonnegut to write this "horseshit." Vonnegut thinks these 25 short pieces (essays, speeches at colleges and so-called learned societes, reviews, one play, a fictitious Playboy interview) can be collected under the rubric of "New Journalism" which is to fiction, he suggests, as noise is to melody. He sounds off on science fiction writers, writing seminars, Maharishi, moon shots, Hesse, Biafra, torture, Vietnam, Hunter Thompson, and also blows his own horn now and again. Naturally. He is one of our most politicized writers. Vonnegut: "There may be some hope for mankind." So it goes.