Book - 2004
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Catch-22 is like no other novel. It is one of the funniest books ever written, a keystone work in American literature, and even added a new term to the dictionary. At the heart of Catch-22 resides the incomparable, malingering bombardier, Yossarian, a hero endlessly inventive in his schemes to save his skin from the horrible chances of war. His efforts are perfectly understandable because as he furiously scrambles, thousands of people he hasn't even met are trying to kill him. His problem is Colonel Cathcart, who keeps raising the number of missions the men must fly to complete their service. Yet if Yossarian makes any attempts to excuse himself from the perilous missions that he is committed to flying, he is trapped by the Great Loyalty Oath Crusade, the hilariously sinister bureaucratic rule from which the book takes its title: a man is considered insane if he willingly continues to fly dangerous combat missions, but if he makes the necessary formal request to be relieved of such missions, the very act of making the request proves that he is sane and therefore ineligible to be relieved. Catch-22 is a microcosm of the twentieth-century world as it might look to some one dangerously sane -- a masterpiece of our time.
Publisher: New York : Simon & Schuster Paperbacks, 2004
Edition: First Simon & Schuster paperback edition
ISBN: 9780684833392
Branch Call Number: FICTION Hel
Description: 463 pages ; 22 cm


From Library Staff

Arguably the best novel to come out of World War II, in which Heller strips away the veneer of martial glory to expose its insanity, and gives our language a new paradoxical phrase to describe mankind at the mercy of its own institutions.

From the critics

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May 12, 2019

A book filled with dark humour and satire, for anyone interested in that stuff. This book has some humour that I personally found offensive, but not offensive enough to make me stop reading the book immediately. The book also seems nonsensical at the beginning, eventually providing you with enough information to allow you to understand the various (maybe dubious) actions of the different characters. I did not finish the book, only getting up to the point where Yossarian almost gets killed by Nately's whore and her kid sister. This was towards the end of the book

Apr 11, 2019

I tried reading Catch-22 in junior high. I couldn't finish it, and the only thing I remembered was how Major Major got his rank. Fast forward 4 decades, and I decide to give it the ol' junior high try. I got through it this time, but it was a slog.

I didn't find the continuous repetition funny; I didn't enjoy the antics; I didn't like the characters. I did, ultimately, find purpose in the final quarter or so of the story; I appreciated the incompetence on display on so many levels, and could see many of life's situations represented on Pianosa. I'm not sure it was worth the journey.

Jan 30, 2019

I read this book in Junior High when it was new and of course saw the flick. Both of them remain fondly in my memory.

IndyPL_MikeH Nov 07, 2018

What do you do when you're trapped in a giant bureaucracy and can't find the door? Oh, and there's World War Two. One of the great American novels.

Nov 06, 2018

This is a horrible book. One of the worst books that I’ve read.

HCL_featured Sep 19, 2018

"Challenged at the Dallas, TX Independent School District high school libraries (1974); in Snoqualmie, WA (1979) because of its several references to women as "whores." from American Library Association

Sep 05, 2018

One of my favorite books. It is a difficult read at times, I will admit: it's told out of chronological order, the dialogue exchanges are bizarre. But it's ultimately a hilarious and horrifying satire, featuring one of my favorite novel heroes, John Yossarian. If you want a good, offbeat read with cult appeal, you can't go wrong with Catch-22. (The 1970 movie is also excellent and worth seeing.)

Jul 26, 2018

I wanted to read this because it is a recognized classic. However after 70 pages I had enough. Skipped 100 pages ahead a few times to see if the style changed, but it didn’t. I couldn’t continue. If Groucho Marks wrote a novel this would be it. Insane and inane.

Jun 03, 2018

An awful book! It discredits the men and women who fought and died to save the world in the 40's, portraying them all as crazies. It was obviously written in the 50's for the Beat Generation who denigrated everything this country stands for.

May 08, 2018

This book is so excellently written. The humorous absurdity is only broken by moments of grim "realness" that is the reality of war and its effects on people. I first picked up this book because I felt that it was finally time to read this classic. I'm so glad I did; I will be revisiting it again.

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Jan 04, 2017

"it was neither possible nor necessary to educate people who never questioned anything."

Dec 06, 2013

“The frog is almost five hundred million years old. Could you really say with much certainty that America, with all its strength and prosperity, with its fighting man that is second to none, and with its standard of living that is highest in the world, will last as long as...the frog? ”

Jun 08, 2012

The soldier who saw everything twice nodded weakly and sank back on his bed. Yossarian nodded weakly too, eyeing his talented roommate with great humility and admiration. He knew he was in the presence of a master. His talented roommate was obviously a person to be studied and emulated. During the night, his talented roommate died, and Yossarian decided that he had followed him far enough.

"I see everything once!" he cried quickly.

hippyheart Jul 17, 2010

I love the smell of napalm in the morning.

Good morning Vietnam!

Feb 20, 2009

Major Major had been born too late and too mediocre. Some men are born mediocre, some men achieve mediocrity, and some men have mediocrity thrust upon them. With Major Major it had been all three. Even among men lacking all distinction he inevitably stood out as a man lacking more distinction than all the rest, and people who met him were always impressed by how unimpressive he was.

Dylan J. Knoll
Oct 23, 2008

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 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. Orr would 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 he was sane and had to. Yossarian was moved very deeply by the absolute simplicity of this clause of Catch-22 and let out a respectful whistle.


Add Notices
Jan 04, 2017

Frightening or Intense Scenes: There are several scenes that depict a bombardier dying from shrapnel in gruesome detail.

Dylan J. Knoll
Oct 23, 2008

Coarse Language: This title contains Coarse Language.

Dylan J. Knoll
Oct 23, 2008

Sexual Content: This title contains Sexual Content.


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Mar 16, 2019

jackycwyeung thinks this title is suitable for 16 years and over

Jan 04, 2017

okridgway thinks this title is suitable for 17 years and over


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Jan 04, 2017

Set in the midst of World War II, Catch-22 is a satirical novel about the folly of humanity and the bureaucratic lunacies that exist throughout society. (Check out for all things catch-22)

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