Catch-22: 50th Anniversary Edition

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Simon and Schuster, Oct 26, 2010 - Fiction - 464 pages
20 Reviews
Fifty years after its original publication, Catch-22 remains a cornerstone of American lit-erature and one of the funniest—and most celebrated—novels of all time. In recent years it has been named to “best novels” lists by Time, Newsweek, the Modern Library, and the London Observer. Set in Italy during World War II, this is the story of the incomparable, malingering bombardier, Yossarian, a hero who is furious because thousands of people he has never met 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 their service. Yet if Yossarian makes any attempt to excuse himself from the perilous missions he’s assigned, he’ll be in violation of Catch-22, a hilariously sinister bureaucratic rule: a man is considered insane if he willingly continues to fly dangerous combat missions, but if he makes a formal request to be removed from duty, he is proven sane and therefore ineligible to be relieved. Since its publication in 1961, no novel has matched Catch-22’s intensity and brilliance in depicting the brutal insanity of war. This fiftieth-anniversary edition commemorates Joseph Heller’s masterpiece with a new introduction by Christopher Buckley; personal essays on the genesis of the novel by the author; a wealth of critical responses and reviews by Norman Mailer, Alfred Kazin, Anthony Burgess, and others; rare papers and photos from Joseph Heller’s personal archive; and a selection of advertisements from the original publishing campaign that helped turn Catch-22 into a cultural phenomenon. Here, at last, is the definitive edition of a classic of world literature.

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The best novel in English ever. Quite probably the best novel ever. It's so hilarious = because good comedy smacks of the truth - that you don't realize that you've become horrified until you've read well into the horrifying parts. Heller's play with time hadn't been done before and it's one truly good piece of writing for him to be able to do that. Written before America's involvement in Vietnam, it matches that era so that a lot of readers thought it MUST be an anti-Vietnam war novel. From the first sentence to the last a mind altering (in a good way) book. 

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If you've been in the military during a useless war, then this is one of the greatest books ever written. I kept my sanity reading it over and over again until my ragged softcover book started to fall apart and I was finally discharged. Now I have a hardcover version. And the same characters are still visible around me as I age.
Keeping one's sanity while others around you are losing theirs and their humanity is the essense of this book.
 

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About the author (2010)

Joseph Heller was born in Brooklyn in 1923. In 1961, he published Catch-22, which became a bestseller and, in 1970, a film. He went on to write such novels as Good as Gold, God Knows, Picture This, Closing Time, and Portrait of an Artist, as an Old Man. Heller died in 1999.

Christopher Buckley is a novelist, essayist, humorist, critic, magazine editor and memoirist. His books have been translated into sixteen foreign languages. He worked as a merchant seaman and White House speechwriter. He has written for many newspapers and magazines and has lectured in over seventy cities around the world. He was awarded the Thurber Prize for American Humor and the Washington Irving Medal for Literary Excellence.

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