Joseph Heller - Catch-22

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Joseph Heller's manic, bleak, blackly humorous, and brilliant novel has become a classic of American literature, and "Catch-22" has entered the language as a term describing a no-win situation. Set during the last months of World War II, the novel tells the story of an Air Force bombardier, the hapless Yossarian, who is convinced--quite rightly, of course--that people are trying to kill him. The famous "catch" is that the terrified Yossarian, who constantly and by increasingly inventive means tries to persuade his superiors that he is crazy and should be grounded, can't be grounded because his fear of dying proves that he is sane--and so he is assigned to more and more bombing missions. Heller makes the horrors of war, which include Yossarian's traumatized reliving of the particularly grisly death of a friend, into comedy with the help of a Dickensian cast of characters, including the elusive Major Major Major Major, the blackmarket profiteer Milo Minderbinder, the photographer Hungry Joe, and the wonderful

Key Information

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Joseph Heller

Book Editions

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Audio - Compact DiscUnabridgedMarch 01, 2007Caedmon Audio Cassette5.75"(h) x 5.25"(w) x 2.75"(d), 0.96 lbs.9780060890094, Hardcover - PrebindingJune 01, 2000Bt Bound8.5"(h) x 5.75"(w) x 1.25"(d), 1.3 lbs.9780808514022, HardcoverNew281November 30, 2007Chelsea House Pub9.5"(h) x 6.25"(w) x 1"(d), 1.38 lbs.9780791096178, Hardcover415October 05, 1999Simon & Schuster10"(h) x 7"(w) x 1.25"(d), 1.35 lbs.9780684865133, Hardcover568October 01, 1995Alfred a Knopf Inc8.25"(h) x 5"(w) x 1.25"(d), 1.45 lbs.9780679437222, PaperbackReprint463September 04, 1996Simon & Schuster8.5"(h) x 5.25"(w) x 1.25"(d), 0.9 lbs.9780684833392

Professional Reviews

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New York Herald Tribune (1924-1966): "A wild, moving, shocking, hilarious, raging, exhilarating, giant roller-coaster of a book.", New York Times Book Review: "A monumental artifact of contemporary American literature, almost as assured of longevity as the statues on Easter Island...CATCH-22 is a novel that reminds us once again of all that we have taken for granted in our world and should not, the madness we try not to bother to notice, the deceptions and falsehoods we lack the will to try to distinguish from truth.", New York Times: "Vulgarly, savagely, bitterly funny... A dazzling performance that will outrage nearly as many readers as it delights.", Spectator: "An extraordinary book...of enormous richness and art, of deep thought and brilliant writing.", Brustein, Robert, New Republic: "One of the most bitterly funny works in the language...explosive, bitter, subversive, brilliant."

First Line

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It was love at first sight.
The first time Yossarian saw the chaplain he fell madly in love with him.