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Showing 1-10 of 645 reviews(Verified Purchases). See all 1,737 reviews
on April 14, 2014
That was fifty years ago. I was ten or eleven, Catch 22 was a year old or maybe two. My brother, in college, recommended this book. I liked it so much I read it beginning on New Year every year until I went to college. I just reread it for the first time in forty some years. It’s still brilliant. It’s still startlingly funny and it still hurts down deep.
It rose above the realistic novels written immediately after the Second World War. It rose above Mailer and Jones and Shaw. When asked why he’d never written another book like Catch 22, Heller’s answer was “Who has?” Of course he was right. A couple of the great wave of novels that followed the Second World War stand shoulder to shoulder with the catch; Slaughter House Five and Gunter Grass’s Dog Years come to my mind. Lots of very good novels came out of the war, first novels from writers like Gore Vidal and Norman Mailer, Irwin Shaw and James Jones, Thomas Heggens, who won a Tony for the stage version of his novel, Mr. Roberts, James Gould Cozzens, who won a Pulitzer for Guard of Honor. None of those good books compare. Catch 22 entered the language. For a few years the blue paperback with the dancing soldier puppet was everywhere.
Yossarian, the novel’s hero, spends the novel trying not to die in the war. A difficult job, since his colonel raises the number of missions he must fly from twenty-five to seventy, in an attempt to impress the Saturday Evening Post. Since I last read this I served in the army, where sooner or later everybody winds up working for Colonel Cathcart. I’m thinking that besides its anarchic appeal for youth, there were at that time millions of Veterans many of whom shared it’s cynicism about the organizations they worked for.
If you’ve never read it, you’ve missed a great read. If you read it a long time ago It might be time to enjoy it again. I suspect you’ll still laugh whenever Heller tells you to. And like love at first sight it will probably still break your heart.
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on November 25, 2016
I understand why this novel is considered a classic. I also understand why literary critics are divided when it comes to this work. Heller's novel is witty and a clear statement about authority from a generation that often felt betrayed. The character development is excellent and the humor will make you laugh out loud from time to time. However, I felt like Heller made his point within the first hundred pages and that the last two, three, or four hundred were somewhat unnecessary. While brilliantly thought out, the writing style, which does match the overarching tone of the novel, is like someone shouting at you. This is a long book, so if you decide to be ambitious, be prepared.
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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 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 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 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 May 29, 2013
It's usually I like the book from the beginning or I hate the author's style, but not in the case of Catch 22. It's all started with brief description of characters during World War 2, from American perspective. And till the end you can't stop reading the book with all the "life true" situation, black humor, cynic and question of moral.

Book has a lot of places of government critique such as:

"he was jeopardizing his traditional rights of freedom and independence by daring to exercise them"
"it was neither possible not necessary to educate people who never questioned anything"

but also universal applied rules:
"like Olympic medals and tennis trophies, all they signified was that the owner had done something of no benefit to anyone more capably than everyone else"
"some men are born mediocre, some men achieve mediocrity, and some men have mediocrity thrust upon them"

in the overall the book caused the paradox situation name of the catch 22.
sometimes in life it's just about catch 22...

highly recommend the book to read for all intellectuals.
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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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