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Catch-22 (Everyman Classics) by Joseph…
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Catch-22 (Everyman Classics) (original 1961; edition 1995)

by Joseph Heller

Series: Catch-22 (1)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
26,76034038 (4.14)662
Member:matleestone
Title:Catch-22 (Everyman Classics)
Authors:Joseph Heller
Info:Random House (1995), Hardcover, 480 pages
Collections:2012 reading, Your library
Rating:***
Tags:classics, comedy, World War II, American literature, absurd

Work details

Catch-22 by Joseph Heller (1961)

1960s (7)
  1. 446
    Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut (kiwiflowa, WisePolyphemos)
  2. 196
    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. 104
    Atonement by Ian McEwan (RosyLibrarian)
  5. 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.
  6. 62
    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)
  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. 106
    All Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque (kittycatpurr)
  10. 30
    King Rat by James Clavell (John_Vaughan)
  11. 41
    Wartime: Understanding and Behavior in the Second World War by Paul Fussell (nnii)
  12. 41
    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.
  13. 31
    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
  14. 20
    And No Birds Sang by Farley Mowat (ShaneTierney)
  15. 21
    Veronika Decides to Die by Paulo Coelho (chrissybob)
    chrissybob: Similar views on mental health
  16. 21
    Cancer Ward by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn (fundevogel)
  17. 11
    The Bamboo Bed by William Eastlake (rickyrickyricky)
    rickyrickyricky: 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)
  18. 11
    Crash Gordon and the Mysteries of Kingsburg by Derek Swannson (jasbro)
  19. 12
    War Story by Derek Robinson (Polaris-)
  20. 23
    The House of God by Samuel Shem (mcenroeucsb)

(see all 22 recommendations)

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» See also 662 mentions

English (325)  Swedish (4)  Dutch (2)  Danish (2)  Norwegian (2)  Italian (1)  Spanish (1)  German (1)  Hebrew (1)  Catalan (1)  All languages (340)
Showing 1-5 of 325 (next | show all)
Have you ever watched M*A*S*H? If so, you owe a debt of gratitude to Joseph Heller. In Catch-22, Heller is the first person to bundle wit with horror, slapstick with satire, and set it in a war-camp.

Catch-22 is a sprawling novel with a large cast of characters—almost caricatures. My favourite was Milo Minderbinder. Starting as Mess Officer, he quickly used the airplanes at his company's disposal to set up a trading syndicate. He grew his business (of which everyone had a share, of course) to service both the allies as well as the Germans! After all, Milo would say, isn't the future of capitalism what we're fighting for? The height of satire was reached when Milo bombed his own squadron when he was paid to do so by the Germans.

Another jab at military incompetence (of which there are many) is the case of Major Major Major Major. His father named him Major M. Major, with pride. Of course, with a name like that, it wasn't long before a paperwork problem led to Major's promotion!

Chaplain Tappman was another character who's life was laced with irony. He was an Anabaptist minster (a pacifist) in the middle of a war. He's befuddled when his superior officer asks him to pray for tighter bomb patterns. His only real desire was to return to his family.

I don't know anyone aside from Kurt Vonnegut who puts such poignant observations in such a zany container. This is the sort of book that will cause you to laugh (literally) out loud, only to realize what you're laughing about and wince. ( )
  StephenBarkley | Aug 17, 2014 |
Keep your iron orr! Don't the cotton taste great? Jump, Doc, Jump! ( )
  Oskar_Matzerath | Aug 17, 2014 |
Funny. ( )
  pussreboots | Aug 13, 2014 |
Dark, gritty, and hilarious, Catch-22 is split into three acts: Act I is fairly lighthearted and serves to paint a satirical picture of John Yossarian, a young man in the Air Force during World War II.

Act II takes a darker turn, as friends start dying off, capitalism and blind power are ruling forces, and black humor abounds - it's pretty much the only humor there.

Act III: holy shit. Act I and II are nothing compared to III. Act III everything that has been building up in the novel and beats you over the head with it until you're curled up with tears in your eyes, begging for some respite from the torture.

The clever way the book is written flips the classic joke structure on its head; instead of going through comedic buildup and then getting the punchline, you get the end result first and must work your way back through the events that led up to it.

Part of the reason that makes this so clever is that it's really much funnier that way - it lends itself to a sort of surreal, absurdist joke wherein you hear about one of the squadron bombing hell out of the base and having to figure out why exactly no one's making a big deal out of this.

The other reason it works so well is it makes the regular procedural flow seem much, much stronger in comparison. While the backwards-joke is used throughout the novel - even in the serious parts - towards the end there was a sequence where two characters die in quick succession. My stomach was falling and I had to set the book down - things got far too real. Not many authors can create that sort of real tension in a book. For that matter, not many directors can create that sort of tension in a film, even with the power of visual stimulus. Damn, Mr. Heller. Damn.

Being a sort of counter-culture book written back in the fifties, irreverent cursing, sex, and general debauchery abound. At first, I found this kind of off-putting, but it fits. Trust me on this one.

It's a classic book with some of the most powerful imagery I've ever experienced. Everyone should read it at least once, even if it's just to get very, very offended.

Where are the Snowdens of yesteryear? ( )
  zhyatt | Aug 12, 2014 |
Big news here: This is a must-read for the modern person. It will indeed change your outlook on life no matter how you first start the book. ( )
  Benedict8 | Jul 16, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 325 (next | show all)
"A wild, moving, shocking, hilarious, raging, exhilarating, giant roller-coaster of a book"
added by GYKM | editNew York Herald Tribune
 
"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
 
"the best novel to come out in years"
added by GYKM | editThe Nation
 
This kind of magnificent illogic whips like a mistral all through the novel, blowing both sequence and motivation into a rubble of farcical shocks and grisly surprises. Catch-22 is held together only by the inescapable fact that Joseph Heller is a superb describer of people and things... Heller's talent is impressive, but it also is undisciplined, sometimes luring him into bogs of boring repetition... but an overdose of comic non sequitur and an almost experimental formlessness are not enough to extinguish the real fire of Catch-22.
added by jjlong | editTime (Oct 27, 1961)
 
"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 (55 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
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Epigraph
Dedication
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.
Quotations
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.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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This is the story of Yossarian, a man trying to survive during WW2. Unable to go home because he hasnt 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 Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:40:17 -0400)

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The story of a group of fliers in the Mediterranean during World War II, and their struggles with the psychological stresses of combat and military life.

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