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Catch-22 by Joseph Heller

Catch-22 (1961)

by Joseph Heller

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Catch-22 (1)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
31,86141943 (4.12)858
  1. 485
    Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut (kiwiflowa, WisePolyphemos)
  2. 176
    A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole (InvisiblerMan)
  3. 80
    Closing Time by Joseph Heller (Anonymous user)
    Anonymous user: Joseph Heller's sequel to "Catch-22" set in the early 1990s.
  4. 124
    Atonement by Ian McEwan (rosylibrarian)
  5. 136
    All Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque (kittycatpurr)
  6. 50
    In Pharaoh's Army: Memories of the Lost War by Tobias Wolff (paulkid)
    paulkid: Me, I think that true stories are the most absurd. For me, "In Pharaoh's Army" may not be as funny as "Catch-22", but it's close and definitely has made me consider my own serious outlook on life a little less, well, seriously. See if you agree.
  7. 62
    The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams (wvlibrarydude)
    wvlibrarydude: Satire and humor that will split your gut. Read if you want to laugh at humanity.
  8. 62
    The Good Soldier Svejk by Jaroslav Hašek (roby72)
  9. 41
    Just One Catch: A Biography of Joseph Heller by Tracy Daugherty (Imprinted)
    Imprinted: This biography includes a lengthy section on the writing and publishing of Catch-22, the tragicomic 1961 novel that originated in Heller’s experience as a World War II bombardier
  10. 41
    One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest by Ken Kesey (gbill)
  11. 30
    King Rat by James Clavell (John_Vaughan)
  12. 52
    Nine Stories by J. D. Salinger (girlunderglass)
    girlunderglass: Both stories about war, plus Heller owes much to Salinger in terms of authorial voice (wit, vernacular language, goddamits, sense of humor)
  13. 31
    The War of Don Emmanuel's Nether Parts by Louis De Bernières (Pedrolina)
    Pedrolina: Both books take on the slightly surreal side to war, but with serious consequences nonetheless.
  14. 20
    The Bamboo Bed by William Eastlake (alaskayo)
    alaskayo: A genuine equal to Catch-22 written for the Vietnam age. Not just a cheap attempt to imitate Heller's talent-slash-luck, Eastlake may well have surpassed his masterpiece with this long-last classic. Read alongside Dispatches to maximize pleasure; then continue your newfound, inevitable addiction to all things Eastlake, because he really is that good--and he really is that inexplicably, undeservably unknown.… (more)
  15. 10
    And No Birds Sang by Farley Mowat (ShaneTierney)
  16. 21
    Veronika Decides to Die by Paulo Coelho (chrissybob)
    chrissybob: Similar views on mental health
  17. 11
    Cancer Ward by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn (fundevogel)
  18. 11
    Crash Gordon and the Mysteries of Kingsburg by Derek Swannson (jasbro)
  19. 11
    War Story by Derek Robinson (Polaris-)
  20. 13
    The House of God by Samuel Shem (mcenroeucsb)

(see all 22 recommendations)

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English (402)  Swedish (4)  Norwegian (2)  Danish (2)  Dutch (2)  Spanish (1)  Italian (1)  Catalan (1)  German (1)  Hebrew (1)  Russian (1)  All languages (418)
Showing 1-5 of 402 (next | show all)
It takes years for me to finish this book yet I finally did it with success. Overall it's an excellent reading material which gave me a whole perspective at the actual mining of war As experienced on the other side of the television screen, on the battlefield itself.
And while it may well be that this is the real definition of war and this is the way things are. Still, something is missing this book.

In any case, here is my honest opinion of it.

Yossarian doesn't want to die, nevertheless, Everyone is insisting on killing him: the Germans are firing his plane with antiaircraft fire, his commanders continue to send him to fly to bombardments, his enemies in the Squadron put him on particularly dangerous missions, his friends endanger him with their love of flight and a whore tries to assassinate him.

The book deals with the story of Yossarian, a missile launcher in the American bombers squadron stationed on an Italian island during World War II. The book follows Yossarian's desperate efforts to avoid death in a fascinating encounter with a variety of strange characters.

It's a satire about the absurdity of war. Extreme cynicism, exaggeration, and radicalization of crazy situations and characters.

When I began reading a long time ago, my father assured me that during the reading I would laugh in tears, it didn't happen! Only one chapter made me laugh, during the rest of the book I wanted to cry. I understood the cynicism, absorbed the satire and internalized the fact that everything exaggerated yet I finished the book having a hard feeling. One of my colleagues, a young man who recently completed combat military service, told me that to understand the book, one had to do combat service.
After I finished reading the book, I left with a feeling similar to the one I had after reading "Death and the Penguin."

Beyond all my personal feelings, the book is characterized by witty writing, although not without blunt descriptions, fascinating characters and a variety of language coins are undoubtedly impressive. ( )
  Johenlvinson | Jan 13, 2019 |
Good book. On first reading, I did not understand him at all. On second reading I followed him very well, and on third reading, I laughed at myself that I did not understand the first time I read. ( )
  RUTHKOLOCKR | Jan 11, 2019 |

This book takes place in Italy during World War II. The main character is a bombardier named Yossarian. His biggest issue is with his own army that keeps increasing the number of missions they have to fly before they can go home. (It started at 30 something and at the end of the book it was 80 missions). If Yossarian attempts to excuse himself from these missions, he will be in violation of a Catch-22. This rule is: A man is considered insane if he willingly continues to fly dangerous missions, but if he makes a formal request to be removed from duty, he is proven sane and therefore ineligible to be relieved. The book deals with several complex issues in a funny way such as loss of faith, death and tyranny.

I really thought I was going to hate this book. Mat had read it and felt that I would not find the humor in it.

But I ended up enjoying it. It had humor that reminded me of the movie "Airplane". The dialogue went round and round and no where forward many times in this book, but that was the beauty of it. It was classic satire. I found myself smiling, if not giggling, several times during the book. (especially at the character Major Major Major Major). The absurdity of this novel has quite an appeal, and I am glad I had a chance to read it.

It is silly. It is old fashioned. It is a war novel. But you simply must try it. ( )
  JenMat | Jan 10, 2019 |
First read this superb dystopian anti-war novel in 1970: Couldn't put it down; such a great read, but must have as the copy long ago went missing.
Finally replenished my library & having re-read I was amazed at just how well Heller's writing stands up to modern day equivalents based on the hard-learned experiences of modern warfare.
Heller's book detailing the catastrophic mental and physical anguish of Yossarian (surely one of the greatest 'human' characters in all of literature) is one of very few 'warfare' masterpieces to emerge post-WW2.
The novel surpasses Jones' From Here To Eternity (&, different war, but as relevant Remarque's All Quiet On The Western Front) for its devastatingly accurate portrayal of the ordinary soldier trapped within the vast & supremely indifferent High Command mince-making machinery of a so-called 'strategic war effort'.
It ranks alongside Red Badge of Courage, For Whom The Bell Tolls, The Debacle, & Regeneration as an epic narration of man's inhumanity & humanity. ( )
  tommi180744 | Jan 8, 2019 |
(Original Review, 1981-02-20)

The most memorable part for me is Milo sitting in a tree. He passes Yossarian something and encourages him to taste it - it is disgusting. What is it? Chocolate covered cotton. He's bought up the entire Egyptian cotton crop and can't find a way to sell it on. Every time I come across some disgusting processed food in the supermarket I think of that scene. And the ending, when Yossarian finally leaves the camp and it suddenly collapses into a cruel and bitter world (a man beating a donkey?) - that has stayed with me. From the Opening Sentence to the brutal but inspiring finale. No book has ever made me laugh so hard yet the last third of this book is a constant assault on the senses with the death toll spiraling out of control. One of my favourite episodes, which so resonates with today's bureaucratic world, is when Doc Daneeka's name is falsely on the list of occupants on plane to keep his flying pay topped up. When the plane crashes killing all on board he disappears from the USAAF paperwork and has to live in the woods next to the base...Heller writes it better than I.

Keller was a visionary. Milo Minderbinder, General Dreedle, Scheisskopf, Wintergreen, Cathcart, Peckem - all total bastards, people who variants of which we have all had the misfortune of having to deal with in our lives and as always these people who end up the winners from the suffering of Yossarian and yet right at the end he gives you that bit of optimism, shows that if you don't give in if you can see through the system and figure out you don't have to be a part of it then maybe you have a chance of coming out on top.

[2018 EDIT: 1981, back row, solid geometry class, high-school, math book wide open, hidden from view paperback "Catch-22", big smile. What fond memories.] ( )
1 vote antao | Dec 3, 2018 |
Showing 1-5 of 402 (next | show all)
added by jay10 | editMaria Johnson
"A wild, moving, shocking, hilarious, raging, exhilarating, giant roller-coaster of a book"
added by GYKM | editNew York Herald Tribune
"the best novel to come out in years"
added by GYKM | editThe Nation
"doesn't even seem to be written; instead, it gives the impression of having been shouted onto paper.... what remains is a debris of sour jokes"
added by GYKM | editThe New Yorker
"Catch-22," by Joseph Heller, is not an entirely successful novel. It is not even a good novel by conventional standards. But there can be no doubt that it is the strangest novel yet written about the United States Air Force in World War II. Wildly original, brilliantly comic, brutally gruesome, it is a dazzling performance that will probably outrage nearly as many readers as it delights. In any case, it is one of the most startling first novels of the year and it may make its author famous.
added by Shortride | editThe New York Times, Orville Prescott (pay site) (Oct 23, 1961)

» Add other authors (10 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Heller, Josephprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Bradbury, MalcolmIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Buckley, ChristopherIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Ceserani, RemoTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kliphuis, J.F.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lahtela, MarkkuTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Packer, NeilIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Szilágyi TiborTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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There was only one catch... and that was Catch-22.

This island of Pianosa lies in the Mediterranean Sea eight miles south of Elba. It is very small and obviously could not accommodate all of the actions described. Like the setting of this novel, the characters, too, are fictitious.
To Candida Donadio, literary agent, and Robert Gottlieb, editor. Colleagues.
To my mother
and to Shirley
and my children, Erica and Ted
First words
It was love at first sight.
They had not brains enough to be introverted and repressed.
There was only one catch, and that was Catch-22.
The enemy is anybody who’s going to get you killed, no matter which side he’s on.
"Sure, that's what I mean," Doc Daneeka said. "A little grease is what makes this world go round. One hand washes the other. Know what I mean? You scratch my back, I'll scratch yours."

Yossarian knew what he meant.

"That's not what I meant," Doc Daneeka said, as Yossarian began scratching his back.
Last words
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Wikipedia in English (3)

Book description
This is the story of Yossarian, a man trying to survive during WW2. Unable to go home because he hasn't completed enough missions he tries to get himself deemed ill which he can't do because he hasn't been sick. 

Reading books in uncomfortable situations often affect how you like and remember books. That's what happened with this book. I just got confused a lot. It was also really difficult to read on the computer for 8 straight hours. That wasn't a good plan.
Haiku summary

Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0684833395, Paperback)

There was a time when reading Joseph Heller's classic satire on the murderous insanity of war was nothing less than a rite of passage. Echoes of Yossarian, the wise-ass bombardier who was too smart to die but not smart enough to find a way out of his predicament, could be heard throughout the counterculture. As a result, it's impossible not to consider Catch-22 to be something of a period piece. But 40 years on, the novel's undiminished strength is its looking-glass logic. Again and again, Heller's characters demonstrate that what is commonly held to be good, is bad; what is sensible, is nonsense.

Yossarian says, "You're talking about winning the war, and I am talking about winning the war and keeping alive."
"Exactly," Clevinger snapped smugly. "And which do you think is more important?"
"To whom?" Yossarian shot back. "It doesn't make a damn bit of difference who wins the war to someone who's dead."
"I can't think of another attitude that could be depended upon to give greater comfort to the enemy."
"The enemy," retorted Yossarian with weighted precision, "is anybody who's going to get you killed, no matter which side he's on."
Mirabile dictu, the book holds up post-Reagan, post-Gulf War. It's a good thing, too. As long as there's a military, that engine of lethal authority, Catch-22 will shine as a handbook for smart-alecky pacifists. It's an utterly serious and sad, but damn funny book.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:15:09 -0400)

(see all 8 descriptions)

The story of a World War II bombardier who is frantic and furious because people he doesn't know keep trying to kill him.

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