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Showing 1-10 of 646 reviews(Verified Purchases). See all 1,739 reviews
on January 31, 2017
Someone I knew in college once asked us for a plot outline of this book. We laughed at him. It's literally -- not just figuratively, but literally -- indescribable. This is one of the genuinely remarkable novels of the 20th, or any, century.
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on May 16, 2014
I recently decided to use my spare time to catch up on reading some of the "American Literary Classics" that I somehow missed when pursuing my liberal arts education in college some thirty years ago. As a result I purchased Catch 22 and a few other books that are well known staples of a college American Lit course reading list. In general, I liked the book and can see why it has been seen as an iconic book by so many. It is definitely a satirical and somewhat surreal criticism of war specifically and bureaucracy in general. I found myself relating to Yossarian as almost anyone who has ever worked in or been caught by "the system" would. Indeed, in many ways Heller was ahead of his time in criticizing the absurdity of our military and political system. I also found myself drawing many parallels between the war in "Catch" and some of the stories coming out of the recent conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan, not to mention Korea and Vietnam which occurred just prior and just after Heller wrote this book.

I did find his writing style a bit disjointed and sometimes hard to follow, especially the time shifts and the inclusion of characters in flashbacks or flash forwards. I found I had to reread some passages several times or go back a few chapters in order to make sense of the story. Maybe the confusion was what the author intended. If so, he certainly achieved that with this reader. All in all, I'm glad I decided to include it in the syllabus for my American Lit refresher course.
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on October 17, 2014
I just finished Catch 22 and decided to write my feelings, thoughts, opinions about the book now. First and foremost, I found Catch 22 to be a sad story, but I laughed out loud on several occasions. The characters are sublimely absurd, yet tinged with tragic humanity. The story is repetitive and not confusing to follow. At the same time, I had to stop several times and think on how it would end. Yossarian is heroic in one sense, not wanting to bend to the madness surrounding him, yet he balks at ever really wanting to help someone. He wants very much to live, but never states what he wants to live for. I could go on Hellerizing, but I will conclude by saying Catch 22 is a unique type of novel. Catch 22 is maddening to read, but I'm glad I finally read it.
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on September 24, 2015
Wow. - - - Along with, imho, The Great Gatsby, Moby-Dick, and Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, this is one of the most wonderful, brilliant, amazing books ever written in English! It is far and away the most hysterically funny. - - - And, along with Slaughterhouse Five, one of the greatest anti-war novels. - - - *Please* - for your own sake - read it!!! (You can thank me later.) - - - (Hint: Audiobooks are an excellent way to get into long novels like this. That's how I came to love Moby-Dick. I have the Audible Audio edition of Catch-22, read by Jay O. Sanders.) - - - Seriously, don't miss this!!!
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on May 13, 2017
Some of the best dialogue I've ever read. One of the only books to make me laugh out loud on every page. Not for the faint of heart! This one is tough to get into, but so rewarding once you do. Highly recommended!
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on June 2, 2017
I ordered this book for my sister. It looks new but it came with a missing cover. I was going to return it but because my sister is just visiting and she will be leaving pretty soon, she decided to keep it. It's just that I am not happy about it because I paid the asking price, and it did'nt say second hand. I am so disappointed.
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on March 16, 2016
If you don't realize that this book is meant to be hilarious, almost to the point of satire, then it will be very confusing to read. However, if you embrace the attitude, it becomes hilarious and entertaining. A must-read classic. This book stirs the imagination and continuously entertains. There were times I laughed out loud and attempted to tell friends about the funny thing I just read. Of course that usually ended with "you have to read it for yourself".

Story aside, the 50th Anniversary Edition is a great purchase. It has the original story, plus some pretty interesting history and reactions to the story.
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VINE VOICEon March 29, 2014
Catch-22 is a slow burn, not a fast moving page turner. The premise of absurdist comedy and dark humor guides the reader through the moral chasms of bureaucracy, war, command, politics and self-interest in this deep and well written classic. As noted by many of the other reviewers who did not give the book 5 stars, the book was written for a time and a culture that has changed in 60 years. So, while the human nature and the brilliance of the writing - as well as the depth of meaning - remain, the modern reader will find the book a bit of a slow go. Additionally, the writing style was emergent and edgy in the 1950's became more mainstream with the likes of the Twilight Zone, Stephen King, M*A*SH* and other books, movies and stories that take some of the complete stylistic shock out of the read.

The book is one of the defining reads of the 20th Century, and explores humanity in a creative and darkly humorous way. Worth picking up, and probably still deserves a place on a must read list.
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on December 3, 2012
The novel "Catch-22" was written by Joseph Heller to show how crazy the Air Force made people during World War Two. The characters are trapped in the Air Force by the catch known as Catch 22, it was meant to stop crazy people from compromising missions by preventing them from flying. What the catch really did was prevent anybody from being grounded (sent home). The catch works where if someone was crazy all they had to do was ask somebody to ground them, the only problem was that when they asked to be grounded the catch said that the person was no longer crazy and could not be grounded. This along with the number of required missions constantly being raised prevents anybody from leaving the Air Force. Being forced to stay takes its toll on the soldiers as they slowly lose morale and drift into madness. The main character, Yossarian, realizes that there is no escape other than death, which he, more than anyone, wants to avoid. This prompts him to plot how to avoid going on missions.
Heller writes this story not in any particular chronological order, and instead connects the chapters at random in order to portray the insanity that the characters experience. The story is analogous to a jig-saw that is given ten pieces at a time. The reader must remember was has already been said and connect it to what has just been said. Heller's writing style of using a plethora of ironies and hyperboles adds to the satire of the book, which isn't so much satirizing WW2, but war in general. His way of writing the character's dialogue also contributed to the insanity that he was trying to portray. The characters speak in what feels like circles, where the character says what the last character said in a slightly different way. After a while of this, the conversation loses its original meaning and makes even the reader question his sanity. The novel effectively satirizes World War Two and possibly all other wars, and conveys themes of power in bureaucracy, the inevitability of death, and a loss of religion.
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on August 16, 2016
An entertaining, tragic narrative of struggles for survival under implausible war circumstances. A story replete with wanton prolixity and lascivity, this work tests an ardent reader's the point that a reader struggles to survive within a swamp of improbable, ludicrous depictions of insensible wartime tragedy, and grotesque caricatures of humanity.

If Yossarian lives, he does so in frivolous recesses within human minds seeking entertainment in the reality and brutality of conflict and war.
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