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Publisher's Summary

Fifty years after its original publication, Catch-22 remains a cornerstone of American literature and one of the funniest - and most celebrated - novels of all time. In recent years, it has been named to "best novels" lists by Time, Newsweek, the Modern Library, and the London Observer. Set in Italy during World War II, this is the story of the incomparable, malingering bombardier Yossarian, a hero who is furious because thousands of people he has never met are trying to kill him. But his real problem is not the enemy - it is his own army, which keeps increasing the number of missions the men must fly to complete their service. Yet if Yossarian makes any attempt to excuse himself from the perilous missions he's assigned, he'll be in violation of Catch-22, a hilariously sinister bureaucratic rule: A man is considered insane if he willingly continues to fly dangerous combat missions, but if he makes a formal request to be removed from duty, he is proven sane and therefore ineligible to be relieved.

Since its publication in 1961, no novel has matched Catch-22's intensity and brilliance in depicting the brutal insanity of war. This 50th-anniversary edition commemorates Joseph Heller's masterpiece with a new introduction by Christopher Buckley; personal essays on the genesis of the novel by the author; a wealth of critical responses and reviews by Norman Mailer, Alfred Kazin, Anthony Burgess, and others; rare papers from Joseph Heller's personal archive; and a selection of advertisements from the original publishing campaign that helped turn Catch-22 into a cultural phenomenon. Here, at last, is the definitive edition of a classic of world literature.

©1955, 1961 Joseph Heller. Copyright renewed (c) 1989 Joseph Heller. All rights reserved (P)2017 Simon & Schuster, Inc. All rights reserved

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

One of the Best Books ever written!!!

I’ve read this Book Many Time’s and I try to always keep at least one copy in my possession atAll Time’s. I haven’t read many books that spoke to me this way in a very long time. God Bless You Mr. Heller. R.I.P.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Anyone who wants to fly combat missions is crazy!

One of the joys of specifically seeking out unabridged versions of classic novels is discovering how much is lost when publishers are permitted to take an axe to a great work. I read an abridged version of Catch-22 decades ago and thought it was okay. The true madness and beauty of the work can only be fully appreciated in the multiple overlapping viewpoints of the unabridged version. While you do not have to have a military background to appreciate the insanity of the circumstances, it helps. And while an absolutely masterful satirical work, so many of the scenarios ring home so true. As a young enlisted Marine I became painfully aware of the silly games those with rank play in order to fulfill their obligation to follow orders no matter how ridiculous. Now, dealing on a daily basis with Air Force culture where people do ridiculous stuff not even knowing why they do it and never questioning it because to do so would suggest one is not a "team player," Heller perfectly captures a culture that still exists 60 years after the writing. The upshot is that a measure of insanity is natural and necessary in a business which exists only for the sake of killing with discipline. No one could be truly sane and do what needs to be done in the profession of arms, and Heller captures that truth magnificently.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Repetitive

I loved this book for about 1/3. By the half way point I couldn't do it anymore. Everyone has the same circular talking style (think: Who's on first), loves the thing they hate, and hates the thing they love. There are genuinely funny parts, and I really did love that first 1/3. Top notch performance by the guy reading it.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Best Token I Ever Used

Great Value! The narration was incridibly vibrate and emersive into this crazy, amazing, story. 11/10

3 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

volume problems

in one moment he is whispering, inaudibly the next he's yelling. impossible to listen to in the car, painful in headphones

7 of 13 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Need more starts for the narrator

I wish the system would allow me more stars for the narrator. Five is not enough. Thoroughly enjoyed the story and especially the performance that made each character come alive.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Not My Favorite, But Still Enjoyable

Where does Catch-22 rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

I started this book once, returned it, and then decided to buy it again because I had gotten so far my first try and just wanted to finish it. Honestly, I enjoyed it more upon finishing it than I did while I was in the actual process of reading it. At 2 minutes shy of 20 hours, this is a pretty hefty audiobook. While I don't mind books being that long, this book was incredibly repetitive to the point of being predictable. Catch-22 was funny to me at first, but the jokes ended up becoming a tad redundant and eye-roll inducing. That being said, I am glad that I got through it. The plot is quite chaotic and the pieces start fitting together toward the end of the novel. What made this read worthwhile to me was the wide range of realistic characters that Heller created. It was a bit hard to keep track of all of them, but each character was truly unique, distinctive, and interesting. The narration was also fantastic and helped me from losing interest in the book. Jay O. Sanders gives the main characters different and convincing voices which allows you to become immersed in the story.

tl;dr: While chaotic and long, Catch-22 is full of captivating characters and is narrated spectacularly.

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Very slow and a bit jumbled

I would recommend this book to anyone who has the time and energy to get through the first quarter of it. It begins very slow and most of the time it seems illogical and crazy. Once you get through the beginning, it has a decent story to it. It’s not particularly my cup of tea but it’s good if you like war stories.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Hilarious!

What made the experience of listening to Catch-22 the most enjoyable?

The narration. The story is wacky and awesome but the passion and deadpan humor injected by the narrator brings out the ?insanity? and realism of each character.

What was one of the most memorable moments of Catch-22?

When Clevinger is getting dressed down at his military trial. The back and forth between him and the colonel reminded me of an old school Abbot and Costello bit.

Have you listened to any of Jay O. Sanders’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

This is the first for me but he was awesome!

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

It is pure comic gold but the characters portrayed are as real as you can get. They are flawed and beautiful with their own individual hope and dreams. I can't pinpoint a moment but getting to know each of them and the way that their experiences and time in the military has shaped them brings what begins on the surface as hollow stereotypical grunts with possible PTSD into something much deeper and true.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Amazing Performance but Small Annoyances

If you could sum up Catch-22 in three words, what would they be?

Hilarious, heart wrenching, and entertaining.

Any additional comments?

I absolutely loved Sanders's performance of the novel. He adopts each character with such gusto that it's hard to believe it is one man performing all these characters. My one critique would be to remove the music that would play in the middle of chapters. The volume is not synced very well throughout the book and the music would often blast at full volume and startle me.