He had decided to live forever or die in the attempt...
Explosive, subversive, wild and funny, 50 years on the novel's strength is undiminished. Reading Joseph Heller's classic satire is nothing less than a rite of passage.
10 million copies sold in 21 languages: Yossarian lives!
This is a special edition to celebrate 50 years of this unforgettable, exhilarating classic.
Set in Italy during World War II, this is the story of a bombardier named Yossarian, a hero who is furious because thousands of people he has never met are trying to kill him. Joseph Heller's unforgettable novel is a hilarious and tragic satire on military madness, and the tale of one man’s efforts to survive it.
This fiftieth-anniversary edition celebrates Heller’s masterpiece with an introduction by Howard Jacobson, rare images from Heller’s personal archive and essays by the likes of Norman Mailer, Anthony Burgess and Christopher Hitchens.
Here, at last, is the definitive edition of a classic of world literature.
About the Author
Joseph Heller was born in 1923 in Brooklyn, New York. He served as a bombardier in the Second World War and then attended New York University and Columbia University and then Oxford, the last on a Fullbright scholarship. He then taught for two years at Pennsylvania State University, before returning to New York, where he began a successful career in the advertising departments of Time, Look and McCall's magazines. It was during this time that he had the idea for Catch-22. Working on the novel in spare moments and evenings at home, it took him eight years to complete and was first published in 1961. His second novel, Something Happened was published in 1974, Good As Gold in 1979 and Closing Time in 1994. He is also the author of the play We Bombed in New Haven.
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Comments about Catch 22:
This special Hardback edition of Catch 22 is an impressively bound and presented book that comes with some worthwhile supplementary material. It would be an ideal gift for booklovers who may already have read Catch 22. The extra essays and excerpts included add to understanding the text and also make us aware of how big an impact this book made both when it was released and in its many reprints for years afterwards.
The story itself starts off with disjointed, absurd glimpses of life in a flying squadron during World War Two and this made me feel I was reading a work by Spike Milligan. The second half of the book though goes darker and starts to ruminate on the horror of war and I began to feel the humanity of the novel at last. The author uses a real admixture of approaches in his writing which somehow makes the book really affecting and poignant in the end. Just how this is achieved isn't really obvious and is probably one of the reasons for the book's attraction and success.
Overall a good value for money purchase.
Comments about Catch 22:
Being associated with PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder).
I can see, the reactionary elements involved being given comical reference & combining humour with stark, reality. Is, a prime way of making such a problem knowledgable.
The only problem being, of course, was. That PTSD, was an unknown quantity at the time.
Perhaps, a psychological problem that was, just in the, Primary Stages of Acknowledgement. Is, a better way of putting it.
This 50th Anniversary Limited, Hardcover Edition of Catch 22 is an absolutely perfect gift for people of all ages. If you haven't read this in a while, or you haven't introduced it to the people around you, this special edition will surely inspire you. Reading Joseph Heller's classic satire is nothing less than a rite of passage.
In The Press
My reading life began when I was handed a copy of Joseph Heller’s Catch 22. I was eighteen. Till then I had read for others. I had read because I had been asked to. I read Catch 22 for myself, because I wanted to. From then on, my life was different. I looked for and read books which promised to enhance my life as Catch 22 had.
Why did it have such an effect on me? I think it was because the book finds humour in dark places, which was reassuring to my teen mind. I think it is because the book is like life: beautiful, sombre, ugly, frightening, absurd, dangerous, silly, mad, short, hilarious, long and sane and not like life in the books I had been asked to read, which was phony. I also think it is because Catch 22 captures life in the way a sketch artist might capture a likeness using squiggly, messy lines. It is life, recognisably so, unbearably so, life as I had never seen it before, life filtered through the unique mind of Heller.
My life was pretty crazy when I was eighteen and I was finding many things difficult to understand. Heller gave me confidence. He encouraged me to continue my awkward attempts to understand life. He encouraged me to make the most of my life.
The life-affirming madness of Catch 22 appealed to me, then, and it appeals to me now. I re-read Catch 22 recently and found all of the things I remembered and much, much more.
The copy of Catch 22 I originally read, is long gone. It was battered before I read it and terminally ill by the time I had finished. Even so, I wish I had it now. I’m a bit sentimental about such things. In fact, I wish I had been handed a hardcover copy way back when. I like to own the actual book I read. Especially a book that meant as much to me as Catch 22 did and still does. Catch 22 was my first big literary love.
In The Press
The greatest satirical work in the English language
It is the Rock and Roll of novels
To my mind, there have been two great American novels in the past fifty years. Catch-22 is one.
Blessedly, monstrously, bloatedly, cynically funny and fantastically unique. No one has ever written a book like this
My all-time favourite war-novel
Andy McNab, Spectator
Catch-22 is the only war novel I've ever read that makes any sense
The greatest satirical work in the English language
Catch-22 gave us a right to laugh at the macabre. Laughter is a soldier's response to a lot of absurdity and the terror of it all. The military machine does the strangest things that make no sense to the rest of us.
Written with brilliance. Echoes with mad laughter
This novel is not merely the best American novel to come out of World War II; it is the best American novel that has come out of anywhere in years
Nelson Algren, The Nation, 1961
An astonishing range of imagination... exciting
Catch-22 is the greatest satirical work in English since Erewhon...remarkable... This is a book that I could wish everyone to read. It is a book which should help us feel more clearly
Philip Toynbee, Observer
A wondrous book with many layers. When I first read it at 14 the story of war and passion really inspired me. It was like reading something in neon: everything came alive. As a teenager you start to feel the world is against you and I identified strongly with Yossarian and his dilemma. One of the funniest things I’ve ever read.
Nathaniel Parker, Daily Express
My favourite book is Joseph Heller's Catch-22, which captures the black farce of war.
John Pilger, Guardian
Bitterly bouncy military farce, responsible for inventing the dilemma to which it gave its name
It's a tremendously funny book, but it also makes you think..A masterpiece.
A hilarious but savage indictment of the mechanised military system that came to define the anti-Vietnam generation... Never has a book been laughed and wept over so many times. Today Heller's dazzling, surreal achievement is undimmed.
I think this is possibly the funniest book that has ever been written. I love the constant invention and the absolutely relentless energy that it has. Like all the best satirical and absurd novels, it sticks really strictly to its own bizarre logic.
Christopher Brookmyre, Daily Express
In Yossarian, Joseph Heller minted a counter-culture Everyman for the late 20th century
A wise-cracking, yarn-spinning Kafka of the Coca-Cola generation
The war novel to end all war novels
‘The greatest satirical work in the English language’ Observer
‘In Yossarian, Joseph Heller minted a counter-culture Everyman for the late 20th century’ William Sutcliffe, Independent
‘My all-time favourite war novel’ Andy McNab, Spectator
‘Catch-22 is about World War Two but is prophetic about Korea and Vietnam... Heller’s hilarious novel is dedicated to the desire of the ordinary man to live through the madness and come through alive’ Anthony Burgess
‘I was thrilled by its joyous iconoclastic atheism, its cynicism, its imaginative breadth, its human warmth’ Andrew Davies, Independent
‘A hilarious but savage indictment of the mechanised military system that came to define the anti-Vietnam generation... Heller’s dazzling, surreal achievement is undimmed’ Guardian
‘I liked it very much indeed... Extraordinary’ Graham Greene, 1962
‘The most striking debut in American fiction since The Catcher in the Rye’ Kenneth Tynan, Observer,1962
‘Written with brilliance. Echoes with mad laughter’ Time, 1961
‘One of the most bitterly funny works in the language... Explosive, bitter, subversive, brilliant’ New Republic, 1961
‘This novel is not merely the best American novel to come out of World War Two, it is the best American novel that has come out of anywhere in years’ Nation, 1961
‘It is an original. There’s no book like it’ Normal Mailer, Esquire, 1961
"The greatest satirical work in the English language" Observer "Blessedly, monstrously, bloatedly, cynically funny and fantastically unique. No one has ever written a book like this" Financial Times "My all-time favourite war-novel" -- Andy McNab Spectator "Catch-22 gave us a right to laugh at the macabre. Laughter is a soldier's response to a lot of absurdity and the terror of it all. The military machine does the strangest things that make no sense to the rest of us." Tim O'Brien "Catch-22 is the only war novel I've ever read that makes any sense" -- Harper Lee, 1961
Number Of Pages: 624
Published: 6th October 2011
Dimensions (cm): 22.3 x 13.8 x 3.8
Weight (kg): 0.722