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Fifty years after its original publication,
remains a cornerstone of Americanliterature and one of the funniest—and most celebrated—books of all time. In recentyears it has been named to “best novels” lists by
the Modern Library,and the London
.Set in Italy during World War II, this is the story of the incomparable, malingeringbombardier, Yossarian, a hero who is furious because thousands of people he has nevermet are trying to kill him. But his real problem is not the enemy—it is his own army,which keeps increasing the number of missions the men must fly to complete theirservice. Yet if Yossarian makes any attempt to excuse himself from the perilous missionshe’s assigned, he’ll be in violation of Catch-22, a hilariously sinister bureaucratic rule: aman is considered insane if he willingly continues to fly dangerous combat missions, butif he makes a formal request to be removed from duty, he is proven sane and thereforeineligible to be relieved.This fiftieth-anniversary edition commemorates Joseph Heller’s masterpiece with a newintroduction by Christopher Buckley; a wealth of critical essays and reviews by NormanMailer, Alfred Kazin, Anthony Burgess, and others; rare papers and photos from JosephHeller’s personal archive; and much more. Here, at last, is the definitive edition of aclassic of world literature.
This book is funny. This book is the greatest parody of war ever written. This book is awork of genius. I am amazed every time I read this book at how apropos the title is andhow Heller manages to weave his main point, the absurdity of war, throughout everystory in this book. There is the classic scene in which the phrase Catch-22 is coined. Youcan only leave the war if you are crazy, but if you have the mental capacity to want toleave the war then you must be sane. An impossible situation for Yossarian, but whatcharacter does not live his life in accordance with absurdity? Major Major tells hissecretary that no one is allowed in to his office to see him while he is in his office. Chief White Halfcoat can not settle down anywhere because men searching for oil will uproothim to dig for crude wherever he sets down. The man in Yossarian's tent can not beremoved because he never signed in, but he can never sign in because he died before hewas able to. Milo strafes the men of his own division for money because the money he ismaking is for the men. And all this time Snowden lays dying in the back. Throughout allthis absurdity this haunting little story line continues to appear about Snowden lying inthe sunlight at the back of the plane shivering to death. This is the most crucial momentin the book, for it is when Snowden spills his guts (literally) to Yossarian that the warbecomes all too real. People are dying, real people, people that Yossarian knows, and heis powerless to stop it or explain it. It is during Snowden's death that Yossariansubscribes to this code of absurdity as all the other characters have in order to somehowcope with the concept of war. There is a brilliant scene in which some new recruits comein to camp. They are young and innocent. They set up their stuff in Yossarian's tent.They light Orr's wood, which was never to be used, and warm themselves over it. They