Wednesday, November 10, 1971

Joseph Heller Catch-22 Published 10 Years Ago Today

Updated 7/5/2020.


Joseph Heller

First Publication: November 10, 1961

Category: satirical novel/war story

Sales: 10 million

Accolades (click on badges to see full lists):

About the Book:

Catch-22 is “a cornerstone of American literature and one of the funniest – and most celebrated – books of all time.” AZ It is an “irreverent” LC “black comedy” LC with a “satiric treatment of military bureaucracy” LC which “became a cult classic, especially among the Vietnam War generation, for its biting indictment of war.” LC

“It uses a distinctive non-chronological third-person omniscient narration, describing events from the points of view of different characters. The separate storylines are out of sequence so the timeline develops along with the plot.” WK

“Set in Italy during World War II, this is the story of the incomparable” AZ “Captain John Yossarian, a U.S. Army Air Forces B-25 bombardier,” WK “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” AZ who continuously issue “orders from above that made no sense” LC and “constantly “increasing the number of missions the men must fly to complete their service.” AZ

Yossarian wants to plead insanity just so he can stay alive but attempts to get out of perilous duty will put him “in violation of Catch-22, a hilariously sinister bureaucratic rule: a man is considered insane if he willingly continues to fly dangerous combat missions,” AZ but “anyone who wants to get out of combat duty isn’t really crazy.” LC The phrase “has had such a penetrating effect that its title has become synonymous with ‘no-win situation.’” LC

“Most of the events in the book occur while the fictional 256th Squadron is based on the island of Pianosa, in the Mediterranean Sea, west of Italy. The novel looks into the experiences of Yossarian and the other airmen in the camp, who attempt to maintain their sanity while fulfilling their service requirements so that they may return home.” WK

Resources and Related Links:

You can also watch the 1970 movie version on Amazon.

In July 2018, I became the organizer of the Classic Novels Book Club. Check out the Book Club tab here or Meetup for more information. This is our October 2019 book.