Catch-22

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Overview

Catch-22 is like no other novel we have ever read. It has its own style, its own rationale, its own extraordinary character. It moves back and forth from hilarity to horror. It is outrageously funny and strangely affecting. It is totally original.

It is set in the closing months of World War II, in an American bomber squadron on a small island off Italy. Its hero is a bombardier named Yossarian, who is frantic and furious because thousands of people he hasn't even met keep ...

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Overview

Catch-22 is like no other novel we have ever read. It has its own style, its own rationale, its own extraordinary character. It moves back and forth from hilarity to horror. It is outrageously funny and strangely affecting. It is totally original.

It is set in the closing months of World War II, in an American bomber squadron on a small island off Italy. Its hero is a bombardier named Yossarian, who is frantic and furious because thousands of people he hasn't even met keep trying to kill him. (He has decided to live forever even if he has to die in the attempt.)

His problem is Colonel Cathcart, who keeps raising the number of missions the men have to fly.

The others range from Lieutenant Milo Minderbinder, a dedicated entrepreneur (he bombs his own airfield when the Germans make him a reasonable offer: cost plus 6%), to the dead man in Yossarian's tent; from Major Major Major, whose tragedy is that he resembles Henry Fonda, to Nately's whore's kid sister; from Lieutenant Scheisskopf (he loves a parade) to Major -- de Coverley, whose face is so forbidding no one has ever dared ask him his first name; from Clevinger, who is lost in the clouds, to the soldier in white, who lies encased in bandages from head to toe and may not even be there at all; from Dori Duz, who does, to the wounded gunner Snowden, who lies dying in the tail of Yossarian's plane and at last reveals his terrifying secret.

Catch-22 is a microcosm of the twentieth-century world as it might look to someone dangerously sane. It is a novel that lives and moves and grows with astonishing power and vitality. It is, we believe, one of the strongest creations of the mid-century.

As revealing today as when it was first published, this brilliant novel by the author of Picture This expresses the concerns of an entire generation in its black comedy. World War II flier John Yossarian decides that his only mission each time he goes up is to return—alive!

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Editorial Reviews

Nelson Algren
Below its hilarity, so wild that it hurts, Catch-22 is the strongest repudiation of our civilization, in fiction, to come out of World War II.... To compare Catch-22 favorably with The Good Soldier Schweik would be an injustice, because this novel is not merely the best American novel to come out of World War II; it is the best American novel that has come out of anywhere in years.
The Nation
From the Publisher
"Catch-22 is the only war novel I've ever read that makes any sense." —Harper Lee

“One of the most bitterly funny works in the language . . . Explosive, bitter, subversive, brilliant.” —The New Republic

“To my mind, there have been two great American novels in the past fifty years. Catch-22 is one.” —Stephen King, Entertainment Weekly

“This novel is not merely the best American novel to come out of World War II, it is the best American novel that has come out of anywhere in years.” —Nelson Algren, The Nation

“It’s the rock and roll of novels . . . There’s no book like it. . . . Surprisingly powerful.” —Norman Mailer, Esquire

“To call it the finest comic novel of our day is faulting it. If Joseph Heller writes no other book, he will be well remembered for this apocalyptic masterpiece.” —Studs Terkel, Chicago Sun-Times

“Wildly original, brilliantly comic, brutally gruesome, it is a dazzling performance that will probably outrage nearly as many readers as it delights.” —Orville Prescott, New York Times Book Review

“One of the greatest anti-war books ever written.” —Vanity Fair

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780684833392
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster
  • Publication date: 9/4/1996
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 464
  • Lexile: 1140L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 5.60 (w) x 8.30 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

Joseph Heller

Joseph Heller was born in Brooklyn in 1923. In 1961, he published Catch-22, which became a bestseller and, in 1970, a film. He went on to write such novels as Good as Gold, God Knows, Picture This, Closing Time (the sequel to Catch-22), and Portrait of an Artist, as an Old Man. Heller died in December 1999.

Christopher Buckley is the pen name of Christopher Buckley. He divides his time between the bedroom, kitchen, bathroom, and the koi pond, which serves as a sushi bar for the benefit of herons. When not cursing herons, he plants expensive bulbs for the winter nourishment of the abundant local squirrel population. His next book is Game of Drones, a candid and sure-to-be-controversial account of his experiences deploying miniature unmanned aerial vehicles in his yard “for purposes of deterrence and, to be honest, revenge.”

Biography

Sometimes life traps you in an unfortunate situation that is impossible to escape from because of a set of inherently absurd rules. Take Joseph Heller, for example. The very first novel he published was among the most biting, powerful, hilarious examples of contemporary literature, a genuine classic of 1960s anti-war literature. Yet, Heller was forever trapped by that novel, unable to achieve similar success with his subsequent works no matter how fine they may have been. Both that painful predicament and that auspicious debut novel are known as Catch-22, and one hopes that an absurdist such as Joseph Heller had to at least appreciate that irony a little.

Catch-22 (1961) was somewhat based on Heller's own experiences as a B-25 bombadier in the Twelfth Air Force during World War II. It is the story of John Yossarian, a malingering bombardier stationed in Italy during the war. He lives in constant terror of being killed, so he flies each of his missions with the sole goal of returning alive. Unfortunately, Colonel Cathcart keeps increasing the number of missions he must undertake in order to complete his service. Yossarian's only way out is to prove that he is insane. Of course, the only way he can do that is to willingly take the most dangerous missions the air force has to offer. Yossarian's ridiculous, unwinnable situation is the Catch-22 from which the novel gets its name.

Heller uses Yossarian's situation as a means to satirize and criticize the military and dehumanizing bureaucracies in general. The novel follows a disorienting logic of its own, owing more to Lewis Carroll's Wonderland than any war-themed novel before it. Consequently, Heller's unique approach to his subject had a deep influence on writers such as Kurt Vonnegut (Slaughterhouse Five) and Tom Robbins (Villa Incognito). In 1970, Catch-22 was adapted into a star-studded feature film by director Mike Nichols (Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? ; The Graduate). Although many viewed the film as a disappointment, it had its fair share of highly inspired sequences, and in all fairness, the whimsical structure of the novel does not easily lend itself to the cinematic medium.

With a genuine classic on his hands, Heller then took his time producing his second novel. Something Happened did not appear until 1974, but it continued many of the themes present in Catch-22. This time around he directed his poison pen at the dehumanizing effects of the big-business world. Heller's tangy blend of pessimism and humanism would be the driving force behind the majority of his work that followed, including Good as Gold, Closing Time (a sequel to Catch-22), and the play We Bombed New Haven. However, none of his subsequent efforts came close to matching the success or influence of Catch-22, a fact that irked Heller until his death. His final novel, the posthumously published Portrait of an Artist as an Old Man, explored this very theme as writer Eugene Pota struggles to decide upon a subject for his final novel.

Despite his own misgivings about his career, Joseph Heller will forever be remembered as a giant in American literature, even if it is only due to his first novel... and that's the kind of Catch-22 in which most writers would kill to be trapped.

Good To Know

Heller often supplemented his income by taking screenwriting jobs. He worked on screenplays for the films Sex and the Single Girl and Casino Royale, and even worked on the television show McHale's Navy under the pseudonym "Max Orange."

Heller's great abhorrence of war transcended his novels and plays. During the ‘60s, he was very involved in the movement against the war in Vietnam.

Although Catch-22 is regarded as an American classic, it did not truly nab public attention until receiving glowing notices in Great Britain a year after its U.S. debut.

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    1. Also Known As:
      Max Orange
    1. Date of Birth:
      May 1, 1923
    2. Place of Birth:
      Brooklyn, New York
    1. Date of Death:
      December 12, 1999
    2. Place of Death:
      East Hampton, New York

Read an Excerpt

Catch-22


  • by Jonathan R. Eller

It shouldn’t have survived the first printing. It was a first novel by a part-time writer who had published very little since the 1940s. It was a book that captured the feelings of helplessness and horror generated by the darker side of the American dream at a time when the general reading public still expected fiction to reflect a positive view of contemporary America and its hallowed institutions. The title was changed twice during presswork; as if that weren’t enough, someone who thought he was portrayed in the book threatened to sue, prompting a name change for one of the main characters after almost a year in print.

But for a number of editors, advertisers, writers, and critics, reading the book echoed the opening line of the novel: “It was love at first sight.” This core of avid supporters kept the novel alive in the East Coast book market until word-of-mouth praise (and overnight bestseller status in Great Britain) took it to international prominence. In time, the title Catch-22 became a part of the English language, and Joseph Heller’s novel became an enduring part of American culture.

Heller was not unknown in publishing circles prior to Catch-22. His first published work appeared in the fall 1945 issue of Story, an issue dedicated to short fiction by returning servicemen. For several years after the war, he wrote what he called “New Yorker–type” stories about Jewish life in Depression-era Brooklyn. Several of these formula pieces were published in Esquire and the Atlantic Monthly while Heller was completing undergraduate work in English at NYU. These publications gained him some attention as a promising new writer, but he published no new stories after 1948—partly because they weren’t selling anymore, but primarily because he was ready to move on to more universal material:

 

By the time I was a senior in college, I’d done a little more reading and I began to suspect that literature was more serious, more interesting than analyzing an endless string of Jewish families in the Depression. I could see that type of writing was going out of style. I wanted to write something that was very good and I had nothing good to write. So I wrote nothing.1

 

Instead, he began graduate studies in English at Columbia, which he would complete with an M.A. in 1949, followed by an additional year at Oxford on a Fulbright Scholarship. After two years teaching expository writing at Pennsylvania State University, Heller moved back to New York in 1952 and took a job writing for a small advertising agency, and later for Remington Rand. Graduate work provided the insight required to attempt serious literature, and Heller wanted to write a novel. The drive developed tentatively and without much outside inspiration. He was generally disappointed by the new novels of the early postwar years: “There was a terrible sameness about books being published and I almost stopped reading as well as writing.” He considered the war novels of Jones, Miller, Shaw, and others quite good, but he did not at first consider his own wartime experiences as subject for fiction. Nearly thirty typescripts accumulated by 1952, but only one—the never-published “Crippled Phoenix”—offered a hint of the wartime traumas that would surface in Catch-22.

In 1953, he began a series of notecards outlining characters and a military scenario for what would become Catch-22. Certainly his wartime experiences, and those of boyhood friends like George Mandel, formed a basis for the new project. Mandel, who had been seriously wounded as an infantryman in Europe, would eventually write The Wax Boom (1962), a tough war novel that also questioned traditional army chain-of-command responses to combat situations. Mandel remained a responsive and insightful reader for Heller during the seven years that Catch-22 evolved.

A photograph from Joseph Heller’s copy of the 488th Squadron’s unofficial scrapbook. Heller is on the right.

But in 1953, Heller was still searching for the right form and style of expression. In literature, he found himself attracted to the innovative work of Waugh, Nabokov, and Céline for their successes in achieving the kind of effect Heller wanted. In an early post-publication interview, Heller used Nabokov’s work to describe the effect he himself was searching for: “Nabokov in Laughter in the Dark takes an extremely flippant approach to situations deeply tragic and pathetic, and I began to try for a similar blending of the comic and the tragic so that everything that takes place seems to be grotesque yet plausible.”2

From a publishing perspective, however, it was Heller’s interest in Céline that finally sparked a marketable product. Heller had read Céline’s Journey to the End of the Night while teaching at Penn State; sometime later, probably in 1954, he read Céline’s Death on the Installment Plan. Céline’s experimentation with time, structure, and colloquial speech profoundly affected him, and triggered a crucial burst of creative energy. Heller recalled the event for his 1975 Playboy interview with Sam Merrill:

 

I was lying in bed, thinking about Céline, when suddenly the opening lines of Catch-22 came to me: “It was love at first sight. The first time he saw the chaplain, Blank fell madly in love with him.” I didn’t come up with the name Yossarian until later, and the chaplain wasn’t necessarily an Army chaplain. He could have been a prison chaplain. Ideas of plot, pace, character, style, and tone all tumbled out that night, pretty much the way they finally appeared in the book. The next morning, at work, I wrote out the whole first chapter and sent it to my agent, Candida Donadio, who sold it to New World Writing.

 

Donadio offered “Catch-18” to Arabel Porter at New American Library’s Mentor Books, and immediately found another enthusiastic fan; Porter wanted “Catch-18” for the Seventh Mentor Selection of New World Writing, an NAL series dedicated to publishing the best new literature and criticism. Other NAL editors concurred in superlative terms; Walter Freeman believed that “Of all the recommended pieces lately, this stands out. It seems like part of a really exciting, amusing novel.” Founding editor Victor Weybright was convinced that “Catch-18” was the “funniest thing we have ever had for NWW.”3

Although Heller was already referring to his initial experiment as a prospective novel, it would be a year before he completed the next chapter, and two years before he finished enough material to send out the story for further review. The main problem was time: between business and family responsibilities, Heller was only able to work on Catch-18 in the evenings, and never very late. He worked slowly and revised extensively at the kitchen table in his West End Avenue apartment, completing about three handwritten pages each night on yellow legal tablets. By day he continued in advertising, moving to successively better-paying positions at Time in 1955 and Look in 1956. In 1957 he moved into the Advertising-Promotion Department at McCall’s, where he would remain until Catch-22 changed his life forever.

By the summer of 1957, Heller had completed enough to make a seventy-five-page typescript. In August, Candida Donadio circulated the typescript and received offers from Bob Gottlieb at Simon and Schuster and Tom Ginsberg at Viking. Each offered options to draw a contract when the book was complete; author and agent passed on both, opting to develop more of the book and then ask for an immediate contract.

In February 1958, Donadio sent a longer typescript to Bob Gottlieb, who had shown a very strong interest the previous summer. By this time, Heller had finished seven handwritten chapters and revised them into a 259-page typescript. This typescript eventually became the first third of the book, evolving into the first sixteen chapters of the final novel. Gottlieb, at twenty-six the youngest editor at Simon and Schuster, loved what he saw of the book and arranged a contract for Heller, but not without a struggle.

Four members of the editorial board reported on the manuscript: Gottlieb, administrative editor Peter Schwed, Justin Kaplan (then an executive assistant to Henry Simon and Max Schuster), and Henry Simon, younger brother of founder Richard Simon and by 1958 a vice president. In his report, Gottlieb wrote:

 

I still love this crazy book and very much want to do it. It is a very rare approach to the war—humor that slowly turns to horror. The funny parts are wildly funny, the serious parts are excellent. The whole certainly suffers somewhat by the two attitudes, but this can be partly overcome by revisions. The central character, Yossarian, must be strengthened somewhat—his single-minded drive to survive is both the comic and the serious center of the story.4

 

A page from the early manuscript, with revisions by Heller.

Gottlieb was the strongest advocate, and both Schwed and Kaplan found it wildly funny but at times repetitive. Even Gottlieb conceded that the book would not be a big seller, although he felt that it was “bound to find real admirers in certain literary sets.” Henry Simon, however, found Yossarian’s escapades repetitive and at times offensive, and recommended against publication. In the end, Heller’s willingness to make revisions, and Gottlieb’s willingness to work with him, convinced the board to contract the book.

The 1955 appearance of chapter 1 in New World Writing had introduced the publishing world to Catch-18, and by the end of the decade news about the novel had spread by word of mouth from Heller’s agent, his publisher, and his own circle of friends and advertising associates. His contract had originally called for 1960 publication, but Heller needed all of 1960 to finish the manuscript and work it into shape for publication. By this time the 259-page typescript of 1958 had more than doubled in length; Heller had extended the existing episodes by interleaving handwritten pages of the familiar legal-sized yellow paper into the typescript, thus expanding it from seven to sixteen chapters (through “Luciana,” chapter 16 of the final work) without altering the order and basic structure of the earlier draft. But a major new manuscript section picked up where the original circulating typescript left off, adding another twenty-eight chapters to the increasingly complex narrative. Chapter 39, “The Eternal City,” had proven most troublesome; it took months to refine the dark tones of Yossarian’s final trip to Rome and create a smooth transition into the revelations of the novel’s concluding chapters.

During 1960, Heller prepared a new 758-page typescript from this conflation, and made revisions that included deletion of the original manuscript chapter 18, “Rosoff.” This chapter provided a chronological bridge between the “Soldier in White” chapter, set in the hospital on Pianosa, and “The Soldier Who Saw Everything Twice” chapter, a flashback into Yossarian’s earlier hospital episodes at Lowry Air Base in Denver, Colorado. The deleted chapter included an overlong but delightful digression into “PT” and team sports at Lowry, but Heller soon sensed that this interlude impeded the progress of the narrative. Other digressive episodes would have to be cut as well before the book would go to press.

With the newly revised typescript in hand, Heller and Gottlieb made further revisions in the text. After a series of editorial sessions, Heller shortened the typescript by about 150 pages. The typescript, now heavily revised and partially retyped, became printer’s copy for the Simon and Schuster galley proofs. Before the text was actually set, Heller worked with Gottlieb on some final cuts, including the original chapter 23 (“The Old Folks at Home”), a digressive flashback to conversations between Nately and his capitalist father.

A page from the submitted typescript, with revisions by Heller.

Heller’s working relationship with Gottlieb was the catalyst that finally reduced the complex narrative to a manageable scale; but the chemistry did not carry over to the copy editor assigned to Catch-18. For weeks, Heller found himself locked in a syntactic struggle of wills:

 

[Gottlieb] assigned the book to a copy editor who immediately began rearranging my sentences and paragraphs. . . . She apparently had an aversion to what I think might be called compound predicates. For example, if I wrote “He struck a match and lit a cigarette,” she would change it to “He struck a match and he lit a cigarette.” It was even worse when she got to sentences like “‘Get out,’ he said, foaming at the mouth.” This she would change to “‘Get out,’ he said, and he foamed at the mouth.”5

 

Re-editing the book back into Heller’s own conversational idiom took about six weeks in early 1961, and led to a delayed release date. Before the copyediting problem, Heller and Gottlieb had been on track for a late-summer release; after the delay, Heller was given his choice of mid-October 1961 or January 1962. He opted for October, putting the novel on the threshold of the holiday marketing season.

This delay led to even more unexpected trouble through a bizarre coincidence of titles. In January 1961, Leon Uris’s new novel, Mila 18, was announced for summer publication; given Uris’s best-selling reputation, a new title for Catch-18 was inevitable. For two weeks in January, Heller and Gottlieb tried a number of new titles. Catch-11 was promising—the vowel following the consonants in “Catch” had the right sound, but the title had an extra syllable; besides, it was too close to Frank Sinatra’s new movie title, Ocean’s Eleven (1960). Heller came up with Catch-14 next, and tried to convince Gottlieb that it was the right number in a letter dated January 29, 1961:

 

The name of the book is now CATCH-14. (Forty-eight hours after you resign yourself to the change, you’ll find yourself almost preferring this new number. It has the same bland and nondescript significance of the original. It is far enough away from Uris for the book to establish an identity of its own, I believe, yet close enough to the original title to still benefit from the word of mouth publicity we have been giving it.)

 

Gottlieb was not happy with 14—the central concept of the novel was “Catch-18,” and for everyone at Simon and Schuster, it had been “Catch-18” for more than three years. After a halfhearted attempt at accepting Catch-14, Gottlieb had a late-night flash of conviction and came up with the title which has long since passed into the language: “22, it’s 22! And I remember calling up Joe and saying, ‘It’s funnier than 18!’ But of course the fact is that no number is funnier than any other number, it’s complete self-delusion. But once we were convinced it was funnier, then it became funny.”6 Both Heller and Gottlieb soon realized just how well the new title represented the structure of events in the novel—the soldier who saw everything twice, Yossarian’s disastrous second target pass during the Bologna mission, and the chaplain’s déjà vu are key examples of the novel’s doubling structure. But all this came later—as Gottlieb observes, “We were just desperate publishers looking for a title.”

Catch-22 was published on October 10, 1961, but an aggressive marketing campaign was already reaching beyond reviewers to a wide circle of writers, literary critics, and even to competing publishers. The day after publication, advertising manager Nina Bourne and Bob Gottlieb published “What’s the Catch?” a full-page five-column ad in The New York Times recapping the intellectual fan mail that was streaming into Bourne’s office. A second, full-length two-column ad appeared in the November 3 Times, and after Christmas short, eye-catching bullets by Morris West, Kenneth Tynan, and Nelson Algren appeared every few days under the paper soldier logo designed for the dust jacket by Paul Bacon. Six months after release, a status report on the emerging “Catch Craze” appeared across an entire page and a facing column of the April 29, 1962, New York Times Book Review. But this ad was different—most of the columns documented a new wave of letters from grassroots American readers who discovered Catch-22 through the word-of-mouth endorsements that were beginning to create a long-term market for the novel.

In spite of praise from an ever-increasing number of critics, writers, and mainstream readers, Heller was about to face a Yossarian-like challenge that would soon force a major change in the text of his novel. He had relied on his own wartime experiences in a Mediterranean-based B-25 bomber squadron for plot elements, but his use of fictitious character names, unit designations, and base locations minimized the potential for lawsuit. In fact, none of the aviators who inspired the characters in Catch-22 ever voiced objection. But in the late spring of 1962 someone not portrayed in the novel threatened a lawsuit because he thought he was. He shared the name of Heller’s “Anabaptist” chaplain, Robert Oliver Shipman, referred to for the most part throughout the novel simply as R. O. Shipman.

The Shipman character had already developed a literary identity, and Heller did not want readers to be confused by different versions of the book. Heller had never known the real Shipman, but the coincidence of name and certain background similarities led to a name change to A. T. Tappman—another seven-letter name that avoided resetting the entire book. This significant change appears in the sixth and subsequent printings of the Simon and Schuster text, and in all printings of the Dell mass-market paperback edition released in the fall of 1962. Later printings of Jonathan Cape’s British first edition also picked up the change, but the Transworld mass-market British paperback has continued to use the original name for decades.

This controversy remained a private matter, and the Simon and Schuster staff soon turned to more public marketing milestones. The house advertising effort culminated a year after release with a full-page eight-column “Happy Birthday Catch-22” ad in the daily New York Times. As with the other ads, it had the unique style that Nina Bourne had learned from Richard Simon himself—the idea of bringing the reader inside the publishing house to learn the story of the novel. It was a personal approach, like writing a letter to a friend, or, as Bob Gottlieb observed, like “bringing the public—bringing the reader in on it. You were talking to people instead of inventing things, coming out with real feelings about a particular book.” The ads—an impossible undertaking at today’s costs—were more heartfelt than calculated, but in the end, the Catch caught on.

And as the word spread, public and academic interest in the novel continued to grow. The postmodern experimental structure was worthy of critical investigation, and the satire engaged students (and professors) who were skeptical of the postwar military establishment. But the chance for Catch-22 to become a contemporary classic, and for the “Catch” phrase to pass into our culture, grew from universal aspects of the plot. As Nelson Algren noted in his June 23, 1962, Chicago Daily News review, Heller’s burlesque of the military leader is also a burlesque of the business leader, or the leader of any bureaucratic machine. Syndicated columnists beyond the book world also came on board for Catch-22, including Richard Starnes, Murray Kempton, and Ralph Gleason. Starnes—a conservative political columnist writing for the conservative New York World Telegram—offered proof enough that the novel’s universal relevance could break through ideological biases. In fact, by overcoming the odds of the publishing business, Heller fulfilled Starnes’s early prognosis for literary immortality: “Yossarian will, I think, live a very long time.”

JONATHAN R. ELLER is professor of English and senior textual editor in the Institute for American Thought, Indiana University School of Liberal Arts (IUPUI). Portions of this essay appeared in his article “Catching a Market: The Publishing History of Catch-22,” Prospects 17 (1992), 475–525.

1 Sam Merrill, “Playboy Interview: Joseph Heller,” Playboy (June 1975): 59ff.

2 W. J. Weatherby, “The Joy Catcher,” Manchester Guardian, Nov. 20, 1962.

3 Kenneth C. Davis, Two-Bit Culture: The Paperbacking of America (Boston: Houghton-Mifflin, 1984), 200.

4 A copy of Gottlieb’s editorial report, dated Feb. 12, 1958, is in the Catch-22 Papers, Brandeis University.

5 Richard Greeman, “Joseph Heller Lionized by Critics for His Novel of War and Mankind,” Fire Island News, July 14, 1962.

6 Robert Gottlieb, interview with the author, New York, June 12, 1991. Heller’s slightly different version appears in Josh Greenfield, “22 Was Funnier Than 14,” New York Times Book Review, Mar. 3, 1968. Subsequent quotations by Gottlieb are from the same interview.

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See All Sort by: Showing 21 – 40 of 503 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 28, 2000

    Laugh out loud funny

    Darkly comic, with some of the funniest lines ever put on paper. Chapters of note: 'The Soldier Who Saw Everything Twice' and 'Nurse Ducket.' A must read. One of the greatest books ever written.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 16, 2014

    Jessica to luke

    Hi luke, i like you, how are you with first timers?

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 16, 2014

    ATTENTION!!

    CHUCK IS A MAN WHORE WITH A REALLY SMALL D*CK

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 17, 2014

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 16, 2014

    Rose

    Pulls your pants down to your ankles then your underw.ear. I pull your co.ck out and part my li.ps placing them on your he.a.d.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 7, 2014

    Grace

    Want to have nook sex go tp grace rez 10

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 2, 2014

    Jacob's bio

    I am a boy, 15, 6'0", I have black hair, shortly cut, I am lean and have an 8" d***. I like girls with tiny b00bs. All small girls meet me at jacob res 3.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 30, 2014

    Alice Bio

    Name: Alice <p> Gender: &female <p> Age: 18 <p> Looks: she is muscularish and she has perfectly formed round b cups and a nice azz. She wears booty shorts and an almost see through loose shirt that one of the sleeves hangs down her right arm and the other sleeve is closer to her neck and she is really pretty

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    Posted June 30, 2014

    Grey bio

    Name: Greyson but goes by Grey. Age: 17. Gender: male. Height: a little below six feet. Hair: a flat black thats just long enought to hang in his face a but above his eyess and is generally unruly. Eyes: a dulled forest green. Body: slim and muscular. Wears: a white hoodie and tee shirt amd well fitting black shorts. Personality: looks forlorn but actually smooth witty and fun to be around.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 2, 2014

    A catch 22, often considered a paradox of situation in which som

    A catch 22, often considered a paradox of situation in which someone cannot win comes to to Joseph Heller’s satirical novel Catch- 22. Heller, highlighted for his works of satire and black comedies was most successful with his best seller Catch-22. Published in 1961, this novel spectacles a grotesque depiction of war unlike any other novels written about the United States Air Force during the World Wars. Manifested in Heller’s book, Colonel amorality and human insanity are transposed as the central motifs. Due to the five part analysis of World War 2 making the book confusing as it switches from past tense to present tense,  the last third consisting of horror and satirical death, and intense sexual characteristics and situations, I would not suggest this novel to younger readers nor to readers looking for a good World War II book. 
    Catch 22 chases John Yossarian whom is a bombardier in in the B-25 United States Air Force. His platoon and he are placed on an island west of Italy where they are forced to perform bombing raids on a weekly basis. The novel is split into 5 main parts, the first four being bombing raids spoken about in the past tense along with the antagonizing stories about the mens living conditions and constant trips to the hospital. The men are given quotas such as 50 missions until they may be sent home to the United States, but they never reach their quota. Their colonel, Cathcart initiates a Catch 22 situation. A bombardier may be grounded or sent home due to insanity. But they must ask to be grounded for insanity. If one asks to be grounded, he cannot actual be insane. Therefore he must continue performing missions. The other stipulation, is that the Colonel may make additions to the mission quota whenever he would like. Cathcart raises the mission quota four times, eventually reaching 85.  Once the men recognize that they were not going to make it out of this war alive, they take extreme precautions to try to be sent home. Many of these precautions prove to be costly.  
    Although I would not recommend this novel due to its graphic nature and non-conventional standards, I would suggest other novels such as An American Tragedy and 1919 due to the presence of realistic war situations and more developed plots throughout the entirety of the novel (Goodreads). Those who have interest in World War 2 novels should stray away from Heller's novel due to its satirical notion and general drabness until the last fifth. 

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  • Posted May 1, 2014

    Catch-22 is a novel written by Joseph Heller which explores (and

    Catch-22 is a novel written by Joseph Heller which explores (and satirizes) the seemingly political structuring of our armed forces. The book focuses on John Yossarian, a confused airman of the Twenty Seventh Air Force Division who finds himself questioning the war and everything about it. The book is very deep on many psychological/intellectual levels, (seemingly) exploring human thought processes and the ability for one man/group to exert total control over another, much larger group, with little to no resistance. In the story, we have a man named Milo Minderbinder who becomes a master manipulator, controlling economies and markets for certain goods, as well as the twenty-seventh air division and many cities all over Europe that he oftentimes flies in and out of using US military planes . He becomes mayor, or leader, of many of these cities-satirizing how those with money who control businesses oftentimes control government and people. We also have Colonel Cathcart, another oddball who is essentially under Milo’s control. Cathcart is the commander of Yossarian’s squadron, and he continually raises the number of missions that the airmen were supposed to fly before they can be sent home. Although the Twenty Seventh mandates that only 35 missions need be flown, it also mandates that any enlisted man must follow the orders of his superiors. Thus, Cathcart (being the superior) has the ability to continually raise the number of missions; as per Catch-22. This very ambiguous rule grants vast and varying power to the men in charge, making it nearly impossible for the enlisted men to do anything about it. This total control over the airmen is a great analogy to our current world, not only in militaries but in businesses, governments, and many other organizations which incorporate a hierarchical order of power. It is incredibly relevant, and gives the average person a great view on this issue that is easy to understand, towards the end. In the beginning, the novel is very confounding and hard to understand, and the chronology is very jumbled. However, as the plot develops, more and more points get connected and start to “click”. By the end, the book has issued a powerful statement regarding corruption and the way things are run, as well an intriguing look into human brain processes and what truly is “insanity”. Throughout most of the book, we kind of see things from Yossarian’s view, and you can tell that he is crazy; however, being from his point of view, we can see the processes that lead from one thought to another, and there is legitimacy to everything he says, even though it may not seem like it to the other characters in the book. Overall, I would highly recommend this book to anyone who’s interested in war literature, thought provoking literature, and/or books that explore the human conscience as well as governing bodies/powers. 

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 21, 2014

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 15, 2014

    I liked Catch 22 by Joseph Heller because there was a lot of hum

    I liked Catch 22 by Joseph Heller because there was a lot of humor in the novel and the entire book was filled with sarcasm. I also enjoyed the book because while reading it, I found myself growing weary of the war along with Yossarian. There was a part in chapter 32, when the new recruits had moved into the tent with Yossarian and I was surprised to find that I hated them and thought their enthusiasm was ridiculous along with Yossarian. That really shows how well the novel was written, it changed my attitude throughout the book and I always knew how the characters felt.
    I would recommend this book to anyone with a good sense of humor. It is a very funny book, but some of the humor may be lost on someone who does not appreciate sarcasm. I would recommend this book to a student that is in high school because I really enjoyed it and it was well worth reading. Also, it was very interesting once I got into it. The first few chapters were confusing with the flashbacks and some of the characters had not yet been fully introduced to the reader, but as I got further into the story, previous chapters made more sense and it became easier to recall names and past events.
    There were many important characters throughout the book and each came with a little back story or special quirk to remember about them. I thought it was great that there were so many characters because, despite the fact that it made the story more confusing, it made the book that much more interesting and caused it to have a faster pace. Overall, Catch 22 was a very sarcastic, confusing, and interesting book that put a witty twist on World War Two. It was a terrific read and I would recommend it highly to anyone who’s willing to read it.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 14, 2013

    Catch 22 is widely known as an American classic, and there is go

    Catch 22 is widely known as an American classic, and there is good reason for that. Catch 22 by Joseph Heller offers everything that you have ever wanted in a book and does it in a very unique and interesting style. This is a prime example of a historical satire. The book was written non-chronologically, and events are often referenced and though about by many different characters at many different times. 
    As a satirical writer, Heller uses Catch 22 to point of what's wrong with the world. Heller uses situations and characters to make a statement on things such as death, love, war, and bureaucracy.Heller uses his experiences in the army to help craft his story. 
    Catch 22 follows John Yossarian who is also a bombardier in the army. Yossarian is absolutely frightened of death, and will do anything to avoid flying the required amount of missions, which keep going up every time he reaches the required amount. The book follows Yossarian's fight against flying his missions, but there's a catch. Catch 22, of course. Catch 22 is a damned if you do, damned if you don't situation. It's when the only way you can get out of a situation is by never being in the situation in the first place. 
    Catch 22 is a fantastic book for people who enjoy humor and logic. I found that lots of the small things in the book end up playing a really big role in the end. I found the book incredibly interesting and I really related and felt for some of the characters. It really made a big impact with me. I highly recommend Catch 22 to anyone.
    - TeyAnna R

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 30, 2013

    Great book

    This is a great book that always has you asking the question of where the story is going.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 13, 2013

    Catch-22 is, by far, the best war novel I have ever read. As men

    Catch-22 is, by far, the best war novel I have ever read. As mentioned in the editorial review by The New Republic, it is bitterly brilliant and brilliantly bitter. It is almost guaranteed that once you read this book, you will not think the same as you did before reading this book. Although confusing at first (meant to be confusing), as you read along, you start to understand the book better and understand what Joseph Heller is trying to get you to think. Being an antiwar style novel, one would immediately believe that the story line would be a one dimensional, chronological story about how a man rejects war in a heroic way. Fortunately, it is way more exciting than one would think. Having a funny, vulgar and out-of-the-blue comedic structure to the story makes one appreciate the genius of Joseph Heller.
    Catch-22 revolves around an airplane pilot named Yossarian. All he wants to do is go home. Unfortunately, he cannot leave duty until he has met a completed amount of missions. Even after he has completed the missions, unfortunate circumstances, after the matter, stops Yossarian from returning home. Moving along the timeline, Yossarian comes across multiple situations in which “catch-22” again stops him from reaching something that he wants.
    Mostly funny and vulgar at times, this novel gives you a feel that no other book would. The vulgarity and the characters used help you, in a way; immerse yourself into the book making it feel like you were actually with the characters in the war. Characters from Yossarian to Hungry Joe to Major Major Major Major to Major —— de Coverley. Each character plays an important role that broadens the meaning behind Joseph Heller’s novel.
    Joseph Heller makes an amazing point when it comes to the injustices of the government. War is by no means a solution to problems. Solving violence with more violence is insane. This books cracks down on every problem Americans had and are still having. Reading Catch-22 helps you understand the problems rather than to just avoid them or be blind to them.
    On the other hand, if you are a very religious person, I advise you to not read Catch-22. This book has some context that fights against religion (Christianity, Catholicism)*. During my own reading, I did undergo religious tribulations and trials resulting in me losing my faith a bit, but if you are interested in reading, by all means go ahead. Setting religion aside, the problems we face in America are clearly thrown out there in Catch-22. 
    All in all, a great read great detail and great use of words to tell a fiction. Not a lot of books can compare to Catch-22. Again, you will not think the same after you have read this book.
    *I am not trying to discourage you to read this book; quite the opposite. I would like you to read it but be advised that this book could be offensive to those of strong faith or strong religious views of any sort.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 6, 2013

    Catch 22 is a rather good book and is very enjoyable if you unde

    Catch 22 is a rather good book and is very enjoyable if you understand his bitter language of comedy. I’m rather delighted of the humor in which Heller portrays it and the way he presents it is even brilliant. Joseph Heller knew his book wouldn’t delight everyone but he knew they would be able to appreciate how realistic yet funny he portrays war through a different point of view. I personally found it confusing at many points especially because of how the book is ordered and how it’s constantly jumping from different periods of time in the story. You never quite know whether you’re in the past, present, or future. Despite some of the confusion, Heller shares a side of war that you don't know whether to feel angry or laugh in the matter of how he describes the different situations. Heller’s book has so much meaning, not only in how it’s described but how one interprets it. He had a large variety of themes and things he was trying to say in his story. Power of bureaucracy, loss of religious faith, uselessness of language, and inevitability of death are some of the themes easily deciphered. He portrays these themes by including them in passages of satire, time, tone, and motifs. Catch 22 also shows how messed up the government was and unfortunately how unjustly it is today. That has to be the most cringing part of this book is that it makes you realize that without you necessarily wanting to know. I would recommend this book to those who people who are interested in no hope, cruel humor, or even slightly intrigued about the government. This is also those types of books that you truly need to read all of it in order to fully grasp the concept Heller tries to show. Which for me I didn’t necessarily like that because you have to truly analyze the book further besides what is already obviously written. Another eye catching concept that is stated throughout the book is the idea that there is no “sane” person. That can stated true for everyone and I really thought I was clever of Heller to show it the way he did. I would have to say that was by far my favorite parts when he would prove that in each chapter for basically every character in the story. Heller created a work of art.

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  • Posted October 4, 2013

    One of the great books of the 20th century. Amazingly good. I've

    One of the great books of the 20th century. Amazingly good. I've read it, re-read it, and some day I'll read it again and still be blown away. Incredible that after this tour-de-force Heller took so long to write another book and by then the passion had gone. But he picked a big subject in the madness of war and wrote a big book. Read it. That's an order.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 11, 2013

    This book was not the typical history book.  Normally, I don¿t l

    This book was not the typical history book.  Normally, I don’t like history books, but this book I had mixed feelings about.  I thought there were some interesting parts and I liked how there were many little details and twists in the story.  For example, I enjoyed reading about how Nately fell in love with a girl from Rome and when she finally fell in love he went on a mission and ended up dying.  I thought it was totally unexpected, awful but still unexpected.  I also liked the little twist where Yossarian fell in love with a woman while he was in Rome.  It didn’t last long but it was a nice little happy event that occurred in a dark period of his life.
    One thing I didn't enjoy about the story was how in some parts the story lost my attention.  I felt like some parts could have been more dramatic or had a little less detail to pull me back into the book.  I know it’s a classic but I feel like the story could have lost about 100 pages and it would have been perfect.
    One thing I thought was pretty interesting about the book was the title.  I liked how the story is told just by the name itself. I liked it because Catch-22 was a law that made it almost impossible for anyone in the air force to leave.   It was tested when Yossarian decided dying while fighting for his independence was better than living win pain and grief of the everyday troubles and tragedies of the war.
    If I was to recommend this book to others I definitely would!  It was hard to understand easily.  I had trouble reading it in some parts, so it is definitely a high level book.  Overall I liked what I read and how the book flowed.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 16, 2013

    Great book, memorable characters, mind-spinning vocabulary.

    Oh my, the author really makes it a point to be confusing. Definitely more understandable on the second read through.



    Damn cotton, what am I going to do?

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