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Catch-22 : A novel by Joseph Heller

Catch-22 : A novel by Joseph Heller


New York : Simon and Schuster, 1961. Seventh Printing. Hardcover. 443 pages ; 22 cm. Price-clipped dust jacket with a quarter size piece of jacket missing at head of spine. Cloth bound. Pages are unmarked. Binding is firm.

In praise of Catch-22

JAMES JONES: "Its weird comedy is marvelous, and underneath this, on an entirely different level, its pathos is equally fine. It is a book that should be read and roared over by anyone who was caught up in the last war."

MAURICE DOLBIER in The New York Herald Tribune: "A wild, moving, shocking, hilarious, raging, exhilarating, giant roller-coaster of a book."

ORVILLE PRESCOTT in The New York Times: "Brilliantly comic, wildly original, brutally gruesome. A dazzling performance that will probably outrage nearly as many readers as it delights. Vulgarly, savagely, bitterly funny. [Its characters] make certain it will not be forgotten by those who can take it."

ERNEST K. GANN: "Wonderful. The finest piece of hilarious satire I have ever read."

ART BUCHWALD(in a cable from Paris): "Please congratulate Joseph Heller on masterpiece Catch-22. I think it is one of the greatest war books."

A. J. LIEBLING: "The best American novel out of World War II so far—a contrapuntal masterpiece."

MERLE MILLER: "One of the funniest books I have ever read, one of the saddest, in every way the truest and most sensible. It is a gut-area book; it grabbed me there along about page 9. I doubt that it will ever completely let go."

ROBERT BRUSTEIN: "I believe that Joseph Heller is one of the most extraordinary talents now among us. He has Bellow's gusto... Salinger's wit— He has technical similarities to the Marx Brothers, Max Shulman, Kingsley Amis and S. J. Perelman, but his mordant intelligence, closer to that of Nathanael West, penetrates the surface of the merely funny to expose a world of ruthless self-advancement. Despite some of the most outrageous sequences since 'A Night at the Opera,' Catch-22 is an intensely serious work."


Catch-22 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 I 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 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, we believe, one of the strongest creations of the mid-century.

Joseph Heller is thirty-eight years old and lives and works in New York City. He attended New York University, Columbia University, and Oxford University, the last on a Fulbright Scholarship, and has taught on the faculty of Pennsylvania State College. In recent years he has worked as a promotion executive. Catch-22 was started in 1953 and completed in 1961.

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