Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Just One Catch: A Biography of Joseph Heller” as Want to Read:
Just One Catch: A Biography of Joseph Heller
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Just One Catch: A Biography of Joseph Heller

3.64  ·  Rating Details ·  47 Ratings  ·  14 Reviews
In time for the 50th anniversary of Catch-22, Tracy Daugherty, the critically acclaimed author of Hiding Man (a New Yorker and New York Times Notable book), illuminates his most vital subject yet in this first biography of Joseph Heller.
Joseph Heller was a Coney Island kid, the son of Russian immigrants, who went on to great fame and fortune. His most memorabl
Hardcover, 560 pages
Published August 2nd 2011 by St. Martin's Press
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Just One Catch, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Just One Catch

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Jul 30, 2016 Travelin added it
Shelves: started
I started skimming this for 30 minutes, just as I was leaving a library in Croatia. Other reviews tell me there's a good deal of (warranted?) character assasination in the book, but hovering around the beginning of the book, I somehow snatched the meat. Heller was an advertising exec who'd grown up visiting the Jewish vaudeville centers in the Poconos. That helped explain his amazing ear for words and his ability to make the ridiculous sublime.

But truth be told, it appears to have been his edi
Jeff Bursey
Aug 18, 2011 Jeff Bursey rated it it was ok
A lot of "and then" kind of narration, with no central thesis that gives the reason behind writing this biography. Some lacklustre writing. But lots of quotes and research, and interviews. If someone is looking for information on Heller, Daugherty provides it.
Feb 17, 2016 dpcinh rated it really liked it
Joseph Heller will forever be known as the Author of Catch-22 and not for Closing Time (sequel to Catch 22), Good as Gold, Something Happened, God Knows, No Laughing Matter (in collaboration with his long-time acquaintance) etc. The uproariously funny, flippant and Kafkaesque Catch 22 transcends countries, wars and reality in order to talk about the sloth, inefficiency, venality in bureaucracies around the world. On a deeper level it is about man’s strong survival instinct – “He was going to liv ...more
Fred Moramarco
Aug 20, 2011 Fred Moramarco rated it it was amazing
I don't think I've ever learned more about a writer's work from reading a biography as I have from
Tracy Daugherty's "Just One Catch," the first lengthy account of Joseph Heller's life (other than his own guarded memoir) we have. As I write this, another book about Heller by his daughter Erica is about to be published, and that inside look at growing up in the Heller family is likely to supplement this more academic study. But Daugherty is especially good at relating events of Heller's life to th
Jul 11, 2016 Sull rated it it was ok
Recommended to Sull by: Library
Once I began reading this biography, I realized that I had read it before, or much of it--excerpted in a magazine some years ago. It made a strong impression on me then--how revelatory it was of Heller's personality in the heyday of his fame in the 60s and beyond after writing 'Catch-22', and how fascinating and horrifying the story of his 1980s illness (Guillain Barre Syndrome) was, with its strange happy-ish ending of mostly-recovered health and weird final marriage to his nurse.

Now reading th
Jenny Brown
Nov 06, 2011 Jenny Brown rated it it was amazing
An excellent biography, very well researched and insightful that gives the reader enough information to make her own judgements about its subject. It does a good job of treating its subject in an evenhanded manner, making him come alive, and giving the reader sympathy for him despite his embodying so many of the worst characteristics of self-centered, chauvinistic Jewish men of his generation.

Those of us who write novels and whose idea of a "modest advance" is not the $750,000 that Heller receiv
Bill Daniels
Jan 02, 2015 Bill Daniels rated it really liked it
Heller's masterpiece is one of the armful of the best books I ever read. When I read "Catch-22" when I read it in high in the mid-sixties, I had no way of knowing it would prepare me for Vietnam. I will always remember of the young woman who slipped the blue covered paperback fondly.

This "literary biography" gave me some insight of the life experience that molded the genius that wrote a book that shaped me so much.
May 07, 2015 Bob rated it really liked it
Pretty fascinating biography. That makes two in a row, with Ted Williams first, now Joe Heller. Lots of parallels between them; success early in their respective careers, and then never able to replicate or top it. Both had estranged children and were serial womanizers. I now feel compelled to read Catch-22. I recall reading it when I was a teen, so here we are 40 years later and I will re-read it, with some new knowledge of the author.
Dec 10, 2011 Nancy rated it really liked it
Shelves: wwii, biography, aging
A well researched and interesting biography. Daugherty gives readers a close up look at Heller's life, covering both his genius and his flaws. I'd envisioned Heller based only on Catch-22, not thinking of his life as an older man. I did not realize he had written a number of other books that explore completely different topics and other life stages.
Jul 29, 2011 Frederic rated it really liked it
Very good overview of Heller's life and work with a minimum of psychological mumbo-jumbo and most of the emphasis on the work and critical response to it...decent,unpretentious Basic Biography...and it is sending me back to re-read the post-"Catch-22" novels which I may have undervalued on first reading...
Jonathan Cantor
Aug 09, 2015 Jonathan Cantor rated it really liked it
A very enjoyable biography. Having just finished Catch 22 I wanted to know more about Heller. The book is intelligent, witty, detailed and exciting. It also never shies away from revealing Heller's warts. Heck other authors could learn a thing or to from this biography as it gets the most out of the material it is presented with.
Sep 22, 2012 Erik rated it really liked it

Rather than write a brief blurb here, I'll post a link to my review of the book on an external website, if anyone is interested:
Tomungo X
Tomungo X rated it it was amazing
Jan 16, 2013
Gregg rated it liked it
Apr 13, 2016
John Boyd
John Boyd rated it liked it
Nov 30, 2015
Gene Heck
Gene Heck rated it it was amazing
Dec 04, 2014
Joe Mossa
Joe Mossa rated it liked it
Sep 11, 2011
Kyle Eilenfeldt
Kyle Eilenfeldt rated it liked it
Nov 05, 2012
Shirley rated it liked it
Jan 17, 2017
Jacky rated it it was ok
Nov 16, 2011
Louis Gotlib
Louis Gotlib rated it really liked it
Sep 18, 2011
Russell Goff
Russell Goff rated it liked it
Oct 07, 2015
Arthur Goldgaber
Arthur Goldgaber rated it really liked it
May 26, 2016
Nov 10, 2014 Gringoire rated it it was amazing
Well written bio that will lead to more books. Great look at Heller and his place in time.
Sean Gilpatrick
Sean Gilpatrick rated it liked it
Dec 12, 2011
Kathie rated it really liked it
Feb 07, 2013
Mike Jackson
Mike Jackson rated it liked it
Aug 01, 2015
Garry rated it liked it
Jun 09, 2012
Aaron Segal
Aaron Segal rated it really liked it
Dec 24, 2013
Joseph Holihan
Joseph Holihan rated it liked it
Mar 11, 2012
« previous 1 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Just one catch: A biography of Joseph Heller 1 2 Aug 25, 2011 01:21PM  

Share This Book