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Catch-22 (Catch-22 #1)

3.96 of 5 stars 3.96  ·  rating details  ·  401,473 ratings  ·  9,878 reviews
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 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 mission
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Paperback, 453 pages
Published September 4th 2004 by Simon & Schuster (first published 1961)
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0gd3n Well it's got 3.96 stars and is widely considered a modern classic, which seems pretty good to me. It's funny at times and occasionally poignant, but…moreWell it's got 3.96 stars and is widely considered a modern classic, which seems pretty good to me. It's funny at times and occasionally poignant, but it is a confusing read.(less)
Mac No! No it isn't. ;-)

Seriously, it's got dark humor, satire, zany antics, and not so humorous dark bits. Its one of the greats and is really worth a …more
No! No it isn't. ;-)

Seriously, it's got dark humor, satire, zany antics, and not so humorous dark bits. Its one of the greats and is really worth a read.(less)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Chris
Apr 18, 2014 Chris marked it as unfinished  ·  review of another edition
I have attempted to read this book on two separate occasions and I couldn't get beyond 100 pages either time. I do believe that this has more to do with me than the book and I plan on making a third attempt at some point in the future.

Currently it sits on my bookshelf and sometimes (when I have a few too many beers) we have a talk.

Me: Hi.
Catch-22: Oh, hi.
Me: How are you feeling?
Catch-22: I've been better.
Me: Don't be upset. It's not you. It's me.
Catch-22: I know that.
Me: My friends tell me I'm
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Stephen
Catch-22-cover-1 v2

A shiny new batch of awesome for my "all time favorite" shelf. It has been awhile since I’ve so throughly enjoyed reading a novel that has, at the same time, left me as intellectually awestruck as Joseph Heller’s classic sermon on the insanity of war.

What a sublime, literary feast. To prepare:

1. Start with a surrealistic, Kafkaesque worldview basted in chaos;

2. Knead in a plot reminiscent of Pynchon, taking particular care that the bizarre, placidly disjointed surface fully camouflages the pow
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Lori
I suffered through about 60 pages, and finally put it down. I very rarely ever leave a book unfinished.

The author narrates and introduces us to Yossarian, who does not want to fly in the war. I get that. I get the whole catch 22 scenerio... You have to be insane to fly the plane. If you can get a dr to say you are insane, you wont have to fly. But in order to tell a dr that you are insane, this actually means you are sane. So you must continue to fly... which makes you insane. blah blah blah.

Wh
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Jennifer
The following is an example of how many conversations in this book took place.

Jen: I didn't like this book.
Nigel: Why didn't you like the book?
Jen: I did like the book.
Nigel: You just said you didn't like the book.
Jen: No I didn't.
Nigel: You're lying.
Jen: I don't believe in lying.
Nigel: So you never lie?
Jen: Oh yes, I lie all the time.
Nigel: You just said you don't believe in it.
Jen: I don't believe in it, Jen said as she ate a chocolate covered cotton ball.
Nigel: Well I liked the book.
Jen: Fabu
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Jeffrey Keeten
”You mean there’s a catch?”
“Sure there’s a catch, “ Doc Daneeka replied. “Catch-22. Anyone who wants to get out of combat duty isn’t really crazy.”
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
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Jason
Catch-22 reminds me a lot of those comedy/tragedy masks—you know the ones that are supposed to represent like, fine theater or something? Not that I’m comparing Catch-22 to some great Italian opera. All I’m saying is that the book oscillates cleverly between the absurdly humorous and the grievingly tragic.

So it starts off on the hilarious side. Here’s a bit that had me giggling aloud (rather embarrassingly, I might add, as I was surrounded by other people at the time):
The colonel dwelt in a vor
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Elizabeth
This book was utterly misrepresented to me before I read it. For some reason I'd always thought it had been published the same year as Pynchon's Gravity's Rainbow and was considered as representing the other fork of post World War II American literature apart from Pynchon's--this the conventional, plot-driven one catering to stupid people. Some professor or some didact must have told me that, enrroenously as it turns out, once. Catch 22 predates the Pynchon masterpeice by 15 years, and is in sty ...more
Teresa Jusino
"I really do admire you a bit. You're an intelligent person of great moral character who has taken a very courageous stand. I'm an intelligent person with no moral character at all, so I'm in an ideal position to appreciate it." - Colonel Korn, Catch-22

I really appreciate it when a book respects the intelligence of its readership. If a book is going to be "experimental" in any way, I love those that throw you into a world with no explanations - a literary baptism of fire (ie: Orwell's "Animal Fa
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Shayantani Das
ooof exhausting story !! I will get back to it later(in 2050 perhaps).

Finally finished on 4 February 2012(not 2050 :p)

I did it! I finished it! I finished the book. And I am alive!!!



The review

This book is pure unadulterated madness. There is a harem of characters and all of them are crazy. And not just silly crazy; more like annoying crazy! Milo, Aarfy, Whitcomb, these characters will make you want to either shoot them, or shoot yourself. The missions are crazy, Doc Danneka is crazy. The plot i
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jill
Mar 17, 2008 jill rated it 2 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: people who like to be bored.
Absurdist plays are one act for a reason.

Seriously, I know there were points to make about the repetitive ridiculousness of bureaucracy/war/capitalism/life, but over 450 pages of variations on the Catch-22 joke?

I did find myself more affected than I would have guessed by some of the deaths, and some of the lines were clearly awesome.

Underlined bits:
In a world in which success was the only virtue, he had resigned himself to failure.(277, about the Chaplain)
Because he needed a friend so desperat
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Leo
Never have I been pulled through the entire spectrum of emotion quite as enjoyably as this, with Heller ingeniously switching tones on a dime with a magician's charm. One moment I was laughing like a fool, and the next I was clenching my jaw with agony at the horrors of the war; thankfully for my taste, Heller leaned more on the comedic/optimistic side.

Reading Catch-22 was sort of like watching a brilliantly shining coin flipping through a majestic parabola in slow motion, with one side represe
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Juliet
Aug 13, 2007 Juliet rated it 1 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: high schoolers
Shelves: recently-read
Maybe there's a reason this book is usually required high school reading; it reads like it was written by a 17-year old. Someone who clearly finds himself to be hilarious, and no one ever had the heart to tell him differently.

I never felt for any of the characters, I never laughed, I never cried. In fact, half way through the book I couldn't take it anymore, so I skipped ahead to the last chapter and yet it still made sense. I'm sorry, but if nothing happens in the second half of a book to impac
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Tyler Jones
A word of warning - the following has more to do with my life than it has to do with the novel Catch-22. If you don't give a fig about me then just skip this.

As I mentioned in my note about War with the Newts, 1985 was the worst year of my life. I was a deeply depressed eighteen year old. My parents tried their best to help me. For my mom this meant finding me the best counselling possible, and for my dad this meant showing me that the world itself was crazy and I was quite right to feel alienat
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Agnieszka

Insanity is contagious.

O man , it’s really crazy . I doubt if I could say something revealing about Catch 22. It’s been ages I read it for the first time and it was like a breath of fresh air in a stale room. If you grew up in an oppressive country , where a lot of stuff was banned ,when it was safe just not saying about some things ,where mediocrity was a virtue, reading such absurd and grotesque stories allowed you , paradoxically , keep your common sense and ignore awkward reality.

Catch-22 i
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chucklesthescot
Oct 19, 2011 chucklesthescot rated it 1 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: nobody on this planet even if I hate their guts
Worst book I've ever had the misfortune to pick up. My dad warned me that this book was lower on the evolution scale than a wet turd, but I thought I'd try it anyway. I hated this with every fibre in my body and with any luck the book will just crawl away and die.

The characters were obnoxious, moronic gits who I hoped would all die at the hands of Jason Vorhees very soon and there was no way I'd ever connect with that idiot who was meant to be our beloved hero. The dialogue was incomprehensible
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Zinta
For so many of us growing up in the USA, our high school teachers assigned us Joseph Heller's "Catch-22" as required reading, and I was among those assignees. I'm not sure why the requirement, other than perhaps some Catch-22 type of logic that everyone else was assigning it, so there, must be great, must read. I don't particularly remember liking the novel then, perhaps with no more substantial of a reason than -- just not my style. Reading the novel now, in midlife, my opinion (or my literary ...more
Chad
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Kelly
My relationship with this book was somewhat quixotic. The first few chapters made me smile- in a bitter, ironic, wise-at-life sort of way of course. I loved the cleverness and deceptive punch-you-in-the-side way that Heller made his points, wrapped up in the whirling, hilariously awful world that he's created in depicting a tired, worn out unit towards the end of WWII in Italy. The choice of the main character in the bombardier Yossarian, a man who saw one too many horrors, is perfect. His quest ...more
Kye Alfred Hillig
Hands down my favorite book of all time. The humor of this novel is write up my alley. I would go as far as admitting that I have used the book as a test and those who don't like it don't get me and those who do, do. I love how things snowball in this book and something that seems small at first by the end of the book is a huge avalanche of laughter. This book boasts one of the largest casts of any book I have ever read but I kept track of all of them when reminded and loved them all dearly. The ...more
Igor Tsinman
Уловка-22 Джозефа Хеллера это книга о нормальном, здоровом эгоисте по имени Йоссариан. Попав на войну в Европу Йоссариан хочет свалить домой, потому что не понимает что он делает на этой войне. Это не его война.

Выражение Уловка-22 стало нарицательным для парадоксальной ситуации из которой есть два выхода: плохой и очень плохой, т.е. выхода нет ваще. Тупик!

Книгу Уловка-22 я считаю одной из лучших и отнес ее к категории the best and must read.

Когда я читал книгу, я постоянно сравнивал Джозефа Хел
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Seak (Bryce L.)
Catch-22 is known as an anti-war novel, but I didn't get that from it at all. It's more an anti-military novel and possibly just anti-organizations in general.

Yes, there's a fair bit of expostulation about war, but Heller really goes into detail about the ineffectiveness of the military itself. Commanders focusing on tight bomb patterns rather than the actual mission.

I think one of the main reasons I read this, besides the fact that everyone else has, was just to find out what Catch-22 meant in
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Riku Sayuj

Single Quote Review:

"...even to laugh is only an imperfect expression of the real ridicule of life. For it to be perfect one ought properly to be serious.

The most perfect mockery of life would be if the person who propounded the deepest truth were not a dreamer but a doubter. And that isn’t inconceivable, for no one can propound the positive truth as excellently as a doubter, except that he himself doesn’t believe in it. If he were a hypocrite the joke would be on him; if he were a doubter who
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Krys Lee
Yossarian, a bombardier, is terrified that thousands of people he doesn't know are trying to kill him while he serves on the Italian front. It is also about those that victimize for the sake of power and status and those that are victimized. The book begins en medias res in the hospital with Yossarian and his cohorts, all healthy soldiers feigning sickness in order to avoid more military action. The book follows their hapless missions as they are used by Colonel Peckham in order to improve his c ...more
Abhinav
"There was only one catch, and that was Catch-22."

I do not claim to understand this book fully, but I did enjoy whatever I did. The allegory is beautifully done, almost every character & situation standing for one particular aspect or vice in this world. What's particularly amazing is that how relevant this book is still to our times despite being written as a microcosm of the 20th century, be it in themes related to society, economics or even the management at the workplace.

There are quite
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Manny
For the Celebrity Death Match Review Tournament, The Count of Monte Cristo (15) versus Catch-22

Nately's whore had nearly managed to kill Yossarian on her second attempt that day, and he felt he needed a drink to steady his nerves. He went into the bar and found Milo Minderbinder staring disconsolately into a rum-and-coke.

"How's tricks, Milo?" asked Yossarian, when he couldn't stand the brooding silence any longer.

"The Dantès deal fell through," said Milo in a tone of utter misery.

"Tell me more,
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Alex
Difficult But Rewarding

We follow the adventures of a World War II US Army Air Force bomber pilot Yossarian, and his comrades at a US air base.

The book is extremely confusing because it is not written in chronological order, and often changes perspective following different characters. I found myself having to re-read pages and chapters, still to be a little confused. Definitely one of my most challenging reads. A great book challenges the reader. A good reader is rewarded for completing the cha
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Seth
1 star. Couldn't finish it.

Clearly I'm in the minority here, so the problem may well lie with me. I grew up watching MASH; I saw Stripes and Sgt Benjamin in the theatres. National Lampoon and John Hughes gave me my childhood heroes.

Yossarian just comes across as a stuck-up whiner and I couldn't find anything funny in the first hundred pages. All the humor has been done later, better, and clearly-derivitively by other humorists. Robert Anton Wilson, Robert Altman, Alan Alda, Harold Ramis, etc.

C
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Jonathan

3.5 Stars

Catch 22 has been so adopted by popular culture that it has become its own phrase in common literature. A phrase meaning a no-win scenario, either because of contradictions or difficulties within a situation. Before I read Catch 22 it had been explained to me that the catch 22 within the novel was that the main character Yossarian, could avoid doing the deadly bomb-runs as a pilot if he was crazy. Only, to be proven crazy he had to fly the missions and if he didn't want to fly the missi
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Jr Bacdayan
Joseph Heller's satirical war novel is the funniest book I've ever read. Not only that, Heller creates the most realistically unreal cast of characters in Yossarian, Dunbar, Nately, Orr, the Chaplain, Aarfy, McWatt, Chief White Halfoat, Milo, Major Major, and the ever crazy Hungry Joe, not to mention all those Generals and Colonels, Nurse Duckett, plus Nately's whore. I've never loved characters as much as I do in this book. The writing is impeccable and Heller orchestrates his humor via glaring ...more
Amanda
Apr 18, 2011 Amanda rated it 1 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: patient lovers of irony and sarcasm
I tried SO HARD to like this book. This was actually my third attempt to read it and while I did finish it this time, it was still a struggle. I've had many people with different taste in books rave about Catch-22 so I feel crazy for not liking it, but I'm sorry to say that I just found it very boring and difficult to keep reading.

The narration is clever, the message is strong, and the characters definitely have their moments, but for me the parts that made me laugh were few and far between, and
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I can't get past the first two chapters - is it worth pushing through?! 326 1863 Nov 23, 2014 04:59AM  
which war? 5 68 Nov 07, 2014 06:31AM  
which war? 3 28 Nov 01, 2014 02:17PM  
Heller's Paradoxes 9 149 Oct 30, 2014 02:31PM  
BookBunnyPR: Catch-22 2015 Reading Challenge 1 3 Oct 30, 2014 04:51AM  
Favourite Character? 5 83 Aug 18, 2014 06:09PM  
Goodreads Librari...: Link Catch-22 and Closing Time as a series? 6 32 Jul 11, 2014 01:01AM  
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Librarian Note: There is more than one author in the GoodReads database with this name.

Joseph Heller was the son of poor Jewish parents from Russia. Even as a child, he loved to write; at the age of eleven, he wrote a story about the Russian invasion of Finland. He sent it to New York Daily News, which rejected it. After graduating from Abraham Lincoln High School in 1941, Heller spent the next ye
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Something Happened Closing Time (Catch-22, #2) God Knows Good as Gold Picture This

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“He was going to live forever, or die in the attempt.” 2780 likes
“There was only one catch and that was Catch-22, which specified that a concern for one's 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.

"That's some catch, that Catch-22," he observed.

"It's the best there is," Doc Daneeka agreed.”
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