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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

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.

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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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

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    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.

3 of 5 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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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

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    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

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Funny and Entertaining from Beginning to End

Joseph Heller's writing comes alive from the moment the story is narrated to the end. Jay O. Sanders' talented reading skills with are superb. Very entertaining, forcing me to laugh out loud, while taking my long walks, and making other people think I am crazy.

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    1 out of 5 stars
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God Awful!!!

I selected this story because of it’s ‘classic’ status. Over the years I’ve seen it displayed in various books stores and ‘must read’ lists. What a disappointment! I find the story line very random and difficult to follow. The dialogue goes around in circles often ending in tangents. The narrator consistently seems to be yelling. I forced myself to listen to about 8 chapters but I couldn’t stomach any more. Not worth the time!

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    5 out of 5 stars
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A Great Read, a Greater Listen

One of the greatest war novels that set the stage and the highest standard for the rest to imitate and follow. Catch-22 is as fresh today as it was when I first encountered it, and continues to make my top 20 list. Jay Sanders dramatization is flawless and impeccable. It is an incredible blend of comedy and tragedy that will excite, delight, and make one realize the horrors of war. Highly recommended.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Ridiculousness

I love this book. The quick wit and ridiculousness of everything. Very entertaining.
Read it now.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Hilarious

One of the best pieces of military fiction I've ever experienced. I highly recommend this book.