HomeGroupsTalkZeitgeist
Hide this

Results from Google Books

Click on a thumbnail to go to Google Books.

Catch-22 by Joseph Heller
Loading...

Catch-22 (original 1961; edition 1994)

by Joseph Heller

Series: Catch-22 (1)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
27,81135636 (4.14)728
Member:atrautz
Title:Catch-22
Authors:Joseph Heller
Info:Simon & Schuster (1994), Edition: First Edition, Hardcover, 416 pages
Collections:Your library, Fiction/Literature/Plays/Essays, Read
Rating:*****
Tags:WWII, Humor

Work details

Catch-22 by Joseph Heller (1961)

Recently added byCelia316, Dani_Delamaide, AdorablyBookish, jakezav, private library, Lolanta, patrickwayland
Legacy LibrariesJack Kerouac, Sylvia Plath
  1. 456
    Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut (kiwiflowa, WisePolyphemos)
  2. 186
    A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole (InvisiblerMan)
  3. 70
    Closing Time by Joseph Heller (Anonymous user)
    Anonymous user: Joseph Heller's sequel to "Catch-22" set in the early 1990s.
  4. 114
    Atonement by Ian McEwan (rosylibrarian)
  5. 116
    All Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque (kittycatpurr)
  6. 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.
  7. 40
    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.
  8. 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)
  9. 52
    The Good Soldier Svejk by Jaroslav Hašek (roby72)
  10. 20
    King Rat by James Clavell (John_Vaughan)
  11. 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.
  12. 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
  13. 31
    One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest by Ken Kesey (gbill)
  14. 10
    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)
  15. 10
    And No Birds Sang by Farley Mowat (ShaneTierney)
  16. 11
    Cancer Ward by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn (fundevogel)
  17. 11
    Veronika Decides to Die by Paulo Coelho (chrissybob)
    chrissybob: Similar views on mental health
  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)

1960s (14)
Read (27)
Loading...

Sign up for LibraryThing to find out whether you'll like this book.

No current Talk conversations about this book.

» See also 728 mentions

English (340)  Swedish (4)  Norwegian (2)  Danish (2)  Dutch (2)  Spanish (1)  Italian (1)  Catalan (1)  German (1)  Hebrew (1)  Russian (1)  All languages (356)
Showing 1-5 of 340 (next | show all)
“The enemy is anybody who's going to get you killed, no matter which side he is on.”

Yossarian is an Air Force bombardier stationed during the second half of WWII on the island of Pianosa, near the Italian coast in the Mediterranean Sea. The squadron are sent on bombing runs in which it is more important for the squadron members to capture good aerial photographs of explosions than to destroy their targets. Their colonels continually raise the number of missions that they are required to fly before being sent home, so that no one is ever sent home.

Most of the story is told from Yossarian's point of view. Yossarian takes the whole war personally and is furious that his life is in constant danger through no fault of his own. He has a strong desire to live and spends a great deal of his time trying to avoid going on further missions. The catalyst seemingly seeing another airman die virtually in his arms whilst on a mission but he also sees friends die and disappear whilst colonels and generals, who take no part in combat themselves, volunteer their men for dangerous missions only to enhance their own reputations.

Everybody thinks Yossarian is crazy when he claims everyone is trying to kill him but he discovers Catch 22 means by claiming that he is insane he has proved that he is obviously sane—since any sane person would claim that he or she is insane in order to avoid flying bombing missions. Thus Catch-22 is any paradoxical, circular reasoning that catches its victim in its illogic and serves only those who have made the law allowing them do whatever they please.

Yossarian eventually refuses to fly any more missions. His commanding officers Colonels Cathcart and Korn offer him a choice. Either face a court-martial or be sent home with an honourable discharge. There is only one condition: in order to be released, he must approve of Cathcart and Korn and state his support for their policy, which requires all the men in the squadron to fly eighty missions. Yossarian realizes that to comply would be to endanger the lives of other innocent men. He chooses another way out and strives to gain control of his own life.

No I must admit that I found the first half of this novel a little perplexing as it seemed to have no real direction. Instead we were introduced to a wide assortment of seemingly unconnected characters. However, the plot seemed to coalesce in the second half as all the threads came together.

This novel was first started in 1953 and finished in '61 so in some ways is beginning to show its age and whilst parts of it did indeed make me laugh I suspect not as much as the author intended. There were a few points that were repeated more than they needed to IMHO. That said I found it one of the most original works that I've ever read and as such deserves to be regarded as a classic that should feature on many a reading list.
  PilgrimJess | Aug 11, 2015 |
One of the most famous books ever written it is equal parts fun and confusing. Jumping from here to there it examines a number of oddball characters in the army and their existence with each other.

The term Catch 22 refers to a loophole for leaving the army.

To be taken off flight duties one must be declared insane.

The only way to be declared insane is to apply for medical leave for reasons on insanity

The army says that the very fact someone is able to realise they're insane makes them completely sane thus meaning there is effectively no way out of the army.

I would only read it if you have a burning desire to see what all the fuss is about. ( )
  areadingmachine | Jul 6, 2015 |
The book is written as an associative, non-chronological and rather irreverent set of events taking place in and around a bomber base off the coast of Italy in WW-II.

The first time I've read it, I was actually, as the saying goes, ROTFL.

5/5 for writing style, originality, characters.

Where the book gets its 6th star is that out of this ridiculous compendium of far-fetched events is assembled a very powerful anti-war narrative.

"Man was matter, that was Snowden’s secret. Drop him out a window and he’ll fall. Set fire to him and he’ll burn. Bury him and he’ll rot, like other kinds of garbage. That was Snowden’s secret. Ripeness was all."

And this, in a funny book.

Joseph Heller was once asked how come he was never able to write anything else remotely as good as Catch-22.

His reply: "Well neither has anyone else!"

Boom. ( )
  meekGee | Jul 6, 2015 |
here's the balaban chewing on headset scene from the excellent movie
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RrQppEXvRcM ( )
This review has been flagged by multiple users as abuse of the terms of service and is no longer displayed (show).
  lulaa | Jun 8, 2015 |
This is the most difficult fiction book I've ever had to plow through. According to GoodReads it is one of the most frequently started but unfinished books among its users. I read that the initial reviews for the book said that it would either delight you or drive you nuts, and it was definitely the latter for me.

The author illustrates the cruel absurdity of war very well, too well. Catch-22 refers to a fictional clause in Army regulations that a person can be excused from combat if he is shown to be insane; but "anyone who wants to get out of combat duty isn't really crazy," hence he cannot be excused.

"Orr was crazy and could be grounded. All he had to do was ask; and as soon as he did, he would no longer be crazy and would have to fly more missions...If he flew them he was crazy and didn't have to; but if he didn't want to he was sane and had to."



In the closing chapters, which become quite dark, Catch-22 hardens into whatever the Army wants it to mean:

"Catch-22 says they have a right to do anything we can't stop them from doing...'They don't have to show us Catch-22, the old woman answered. The law says they don't have to."
"What law says they don't have to?"
"Catch-22."

...

"Catch-22 did not exist, he was positive of that, but it made no difference. What did matter was that everyone thought it existed, and that was much worse for there was no object or text to ridicule or refute, to accuse, criticize, attack, amend, hate, revile, spit at, rip to shreds, trample upon, or burn up."



Many of the chapters read like an Abbott and Costello skit which becomes increasingly frustrating. The characteristics that supposedly make this book good literature are its (often) non-chronological narrative, its increasingly-revealing flashbacks that tie events together, and its bridges between seemingly unrelated chapters. The author is also quite erudite, a dictionary while reading is helpful (which is why I'm thankful for e-books).


The characters in the story are morally base and the book becomes quite in later chapters as many of them die. War profiteers cynically turn the war into a business (which profits everyone while never being able to make a profit). All of the commanding officers deal with deep insecurities while the main character, Yossarian, deals mainly with his own fear of being killed. If one counted Yossarian's sexual partners in the book he would probably approach triple digits. Tragic loss of life, rape, poverty, and destruction are stark in the closing chapters, making the reader just eager to finish it.

The characters are all contradictions in nature.

"Clevinger was one of those people with lots of intelligence and no brains, and everyone knew it except those who soon found out...He was a very serious, very earnest and very conscientious dope."

"'It's not my business to save lives,' Doc Daneeka retorted sullenly."


My favorite chapter (20) introduces a hapless chaplain, who is hated by a jealous atheist underling for not being a great chaplain. The atheist, Corporal Whitcomb, secretly wishes to take the chaplain's position so he can improve the religious services and grow the flock.

"It was people like the chaplain, he concluded, who were responsible for giving religion such a bad name and making pariahs out of them both."


There is much cynical commentary on war and government bureaucracy, which Heller reportedly had the Korean War in mind while writing the book in the 1950s. I read Thomas Ricks' The Generals while I was reading Catch-22 and it actually helped bring home some reality of Heller's work. Working for the government, I often see the inefficiency and absurdity of bureacracy.

"Major Major's father was an outspoken champion of economy in government, provided it did not interfere with the sacred duty of government to pay farmers as much as they could get for all the alfalfa they produced that no one else wanted or for not producing any alfalfa at all."

"I've got a dead man in my tent that nobody can throw out. His name is Mudd."


I was really glad to finish this book. As I hated it so much, I cannot recommend it. Two stars. I appreciate it for what it is, but it greatly diminished my will to read "great literature." ( )
  justindtapp | Jun 3, 2015 |
Showing 1-5 of 340 (next | show all)
"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
 
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 (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
You must log in to edit Common Knowledge data.
For more help see the Common Knowledge help page.
Series (with order)
Canonical title
Original title
Alternative titles
Original publication date
People/Characters
Important places
Important events
Related movies
Awards and honors
Epigraph
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.
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.
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
Publisher's editors
Blurbers
Publisher series
Original language
Book description
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 Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:15:09 -0400)

(see all 8 descriptions)

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.

(summary from another edition)

» see all 18 descriptions

Quick Links

Swap Ebooks Audio
57 avail.
832 wanted
4 pay11 pay

Popular covers

Rating

Average: (4.14)
0.5 17
1 134
1.5 27
2 341
2.5 77
3 941
3.5 224
4 2029
4.5 360
5 3207

Audible.com

2 editions of this book were published by Audible.com.

See editions

Recorded Books

An edition of this book was published by Recorded Books.

» Publisher information page

Is this you?

Become a LibraryThing Author.

 

Help/FAQs | About | Privacy/Terms | Blog | Store | Contact | LibraryThing.com | APIs | WikiThing | Common Knowledge | Legacy Libraries | Early Reviewers | 99,037,728 books! | Top bar: Always visible