Catch-22
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Catch-22

By (author) Joseph Heller

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He had decided to live forever or die in the attempt. Set in Italy during World War II, this is the story of a bombardier named Yossarian, a hero who is furious because thousands of people he has never met are trying to kill him. Joseph Heller's unforgettable novel is a hilarious and tragic satire on military madness, and the tale of one man's efforts to survive it. This fiftieth-anniversary edition celebrates Heller's masterpiece with an introduction by Howard Jacobson, rare images from Heller's personal archive and essays by the likes of Norman Mailer, Anthony Burgess and Christopher Hitchens. "Reading Catch-22" is nothing less than a rite of passage. Here, at last, is the definitive edition of a classic of world literature.

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  • Hardback | 624 pages
  • 144 x 228 x 40mm | 762.03g
  • 06 Oct 2011
  • VINTAGE
  • Vintage Classics
  • London
  • English
  • 50th Anniversary Edition
  • 0099529114
  • 9780099529118
  • 33,528

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Author Information

Joseph Heller was born in 1923 in Brooklyn, New York. He served as a bombardier in the Second World War and then attended New York University and Columbia University and then Oxford, the last on a Fullbright scholarship. He then taught for two years at Pennsylvania State University, before returning to New York, where he began a successful career in the advertising departments of Time, Look and McCall's magazines. It was during this time that he had the idea for Catch-22. Working on the novel in spare moments and evenings at home, it took him eight years to complete: "I missed my deadline for Catch-22 by four or five years. I felt that it was the only book I was going to write, so I wanted to do it as well as I could. Actually, I wasn't ever sure I was going to be a writer. When I started Catch-22, I thought writing novels might be a useful way to kill time." Catch-22 was first published in 1961. "Everyone in my book accuses everyone else of being crazy," Heller said of the book. "Frankly, I think the whole society is nuts. The question is: what does a sane man do in an insane society?" His second novel, Something Happened was published in 1974, Good As Gold in 1979, Closing Time in 1994 and Portrait of an Artist, as an Old Man in 2000. Joseph Heller died in 1999.

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Review quote

"The greatest satirical work in the English language" Observer "Blessedly, monstrously, bloatedly, cynically funny and fantastically unique. No one has ever written a book like this" Financial Times "My all-time favourite war-novel" -- Andy McNab Spectator "Catch-22 gave us a right to laugh at the macabre. Laughter is a soldier's response to a lot of absurdity and the terror of it all. The military machine does the strangest things that make no sense to the rest of us." Tim O'Brien "Catch-22 is the only war novel I've ever read that makes any sense" -- Harper Lee, 1961

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Back cover copy

There was only one catch and that was Catch-22, which specified that a concern for one's own safety in the face of dangers that were real and immediate was the process of a rational mind.Orr was crazy and he 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.Or be crazy to fly more missions and sane if he didn't, but if he was sane he had to fly them.If he flew them he was crazy, and didn't have to; but if he didn't want to be was sane and had to.Yossarian was moved very deeply by the absolute simplicity of Catch-22 and let out a respectful whistle. "That's some catch, that Catch-22," he observed. "It's the best there is," Doc Daneeka agreed.

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