Catch-22

Catch-22

Paperback | September 4, 1996

byJoseph Heller

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Catch-22 is like no other novel. It is one of the funniest books ever written, a keystone work in American literature, and even added a new term to the dictionary.

At the heart of Catch-22 resides the incomparable, malingering bombardier, Yossarian, a hero endlessly inventive in his schemes to save his skin from the horrible chances of war. His efforts are perfectly understandable because as he furiously scrambles, thousands of people he hasn't even met are trying to kill him. His problem is Colonel Cathcart, who keeps raising the number of missions the men must fly to complete their service. Yet if Yossarian makes any attempts to excuse himself from the perilous missions that he is committed to flying, he is trapped by the Great Loyalty Oath Crusade, the hilariously sinister bureaucratic rule from which the book takes its title: a man is considered insane if he willingly continues to fly dangerous combat missions, but if he makes the necessary formal request to be relieved of such missions, the very act of making the request proves that he is sane and therefore ineligible to be relieved.

Catch-22 is a microcosm of the twentieth-century world as it might look to some one dangerously sane -- a masterpiece of our time.

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Catch-22

Paperback | September 4, 1996
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$18.99

From Our Editors

Catch-22 is like no other novel we have ever read. It has its own style, its own rationale, its own extraordinary character. It moves back and forth from hilarity to horror. It is outrageously funny and strangely affecting. It is totally original. National ads/media

From the Publisher

Catch-22 is like no other novel. It is one of the funniest books ever written, a keystone work in American literature, and even added a new term to the dictionary. At the heart of Catch-22 resides the incomparable, malingering bombardier, Yossarian, a hero endlessly inventive in his schemes to save his skin from the horrible chances o...

Joseph Heller lives with his wife in East Hampton, New York. He is also the author of Closing Time and other novels.

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:464 pages, 8 × 5.25 × 1.07 inPublished:September 4, 1996Publisher:Simon & SchusterLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0684833395

ISBN - 13:9780684833392

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Reviews

Rated 5 out of 5 by from The twentieth century between two covers Not only an absolutely brilliant commentary on the absurdity of war (along with bureaucracy and capitalism thrown in for good measure), but a microcosm of the entire 20th century with all of its angst, humour, brutality, and tragedy. This deserves to be in a top ten list of 20th century novels for sure. I listened to the audiobook read by Trevor White which was fantastic.
Date published: 2010-08-07
Rated 5 out of 5 by from If you haven't read this book you are missing out! This is probably the funniest book I have ever read. Yes there is war and gore but the humour in this book is unforgettable A protagonist you need to revisit again and again. Yossarian >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> Holden lol
Date published: 2009-12-30
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Adsurd and brilliant I have read this book at least five times and it's still as enjoyable as the first time I read it. The absurd and hilarious antics of various members of the squadron make it a fun read. The book at the same time is also a brilliant critique of the military hierarchy and war. Yossarian's quest to stop flying missions, which will likely end only in his and other pilot's deaths, the war-profiteering of Milo, the cut throat quest of certain officers to rise in rank, despite their men. The combination of these two factors make the book probably the most interesting book on the second world war one would ever read.
Date published: 2009-11-13
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Timeless Hilarity. Random humor seems to be the shtick that most comedies go for these days, but before the Family Guy's and The Office's of the world were even a figment of someone's imagination, there was Catch-22. And holy crap is it ever halarious. As much of a challenge the dialogue is to follow at times, it is also insanely funny and masterfully written. Heller pulls off literary maneouvers so subtlety that English teachers all over must drool every time they pick up the book. So many ironic moments, so many unreal paradoxes. No conversation is boring. Each character has been crafted with such fine strokes. Everyone has a clear voice and identity, so much so that you do not even need indication on who is speaking. Heller actually chooses to do this numerous times throughout the book. But if you go beyond the comic genius of this work, there is a deeper message here. Following Yossarian's quest to get out of military service, the reader goes along on a clear cut critique on the pointlessness of war. Every character is supposed to be fighting for a greater cause, yet all that anyone seems to care about is themselves. I won't say Catch-22 was a surprise, it is a classic for a reason, but I will say that I did not expect it to be as funny as it was. I was laughing out loud throughout. Heller is some kind of writer, and he has made something in this work that will be beloved by readers for all time.
Date published: 2009-09-27
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Yossarian Lives! Catch-22 is an existential, antiwar satire told through asininity and disjointed logic, often running on bureaucracy and “military intelligence,” or a lack there of. Heller uses a non-chronological narrative which can be hard to follow at times, but eventually results in an affective lead-up to the novels important conclusions. We are presented with a military wrought with corruption and greed, whereby the senior officers pose more of a threat to the men then the actual enemy. This classic is a reminder that in a world of distorted values where success measures worth, we must question whose definition of success we will find validity in and ultimately find our individuality. We are left with the message that to be true to ones self is the only goal worth pursuing, and that often the only way for that to come to pass is to stand up against the masses and face adversity. But when all is said and done, as evidenced even today, weakness, greed and corruption prevail, and the soldiers march on. Yours truly, Washington Irving www.booksnakereviews.blogspot.com
Date published: 2008-11-15
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Cleverly Satirical This book is a must read for anyone that wants to stand against any aspect of war. Heller spins this tale with hilarious fashion, filling the reader with gut-wrenching hilarity one minute, and depressing sadness the next. Yossarian, the anti-hero of the story, is not what you would expect the main character of the novel to be like, yet he is entirely real and true to life. This truly is a must-read classic.
Date published: 2006-11-25
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Hilariously Clever Joseph Heller manages to create a web of hilarious experiences for his hero, Yossarian, who tries to stay alive for as long as possible, despite all his missions. The idea of Catch-22 itself is an ingenious concept; Everyone must fly missions if he is sane, and for those who continue to fly missions voluntarily are considered insane and eligible to be sent home. Yet he must request permission to be sent home, which renders him sane. Such is that the trap of Catch-22. So simple, yet so binding. Sometimes twisted and sly, the characters in the book weave the story, each alive with their own personalities that are stretched in every direction, yet mingle so well with each other in the context of the book. If anyone was to read only a single chapter, I must say, Milo the Mayor would be the one with the most outrageous intricacies of the entire book. For a good laugh, read and enjoy this delicious monument. A great post-war book for everyone to enjoy.
Date published: 2006-07-19
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Hilarious! I absolutely loved reading Catch-22. It is an incredible classic and should be read by everone. Heller does the seemingly impossible by making the war seem like it is humourous. His characters go about their duties like it is no big deal and can always joke about their day. I have never read such a humourous novel and I definitely recommend that everyone reads it.
Date published: 2006-06-23
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Tastefully Comedic! If you like anti-war novels, then this is a must-read! Heller sets his satire amongst the chaos of World War II. We meet an array of idiosyncratic soldiers, struggling to survive the turmoils of war. Catch-22 unleashes a plethora of scenarios as ludicrous as the concept of war itself. This book will have you laughing and crying... simultaneously!
Date published: 2006-05-31
Rated 5 out of 5 by from CLASSIC If I may in as few words as possible, this book was astounding. By chapter two I was laughing aloud on the subway almost missing my stop. The comedy was the type you either caught on to instantaneously or you didn’t. After reading Slaughter House Five by Kurt Vonnegut my friend recommended a read Catch-22 and once finishing it I determined it was the preeminent book I’ve read to date.
Date published: 2005-08-31
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Catch-22 One of the best books I've ever read, its as tragic and outrageous as it is funny. Heller manages to capture the feelings, emotions, and insanity and although it is output as a completely original story I can only compare it to M*A*S*H
Date published: 2005-05-11
Rated 5 out of 5 by from whimsical Heller is a bodacious writer then never lets up on non stop laughing. gives you reason to laugh and cry as it carries you around on a magnificant circus of facetious characters and events. It asks big questions in small ways, it's funny. Colorful characters. heller is the quintessential Thomas Pain of today, he puts it in a light way, Common sense.
Date published: 2005-03-10
Rated 2 out of 5 by from The First in a Series of Horrible Books What's there to say about a boring book with no plot? Seriously, this book is so boring, that I told people not to read it. The sole purpose of this book is to exist for assigned english reading. I do admit, some parts were funny, but there are better books WITH PLOTS that will make you laugh harder. Considering people said it was his best book out of any others he wrote, I don't even want to start reading the others!
Date published: 2005-01-23
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Highly Recommended Catch-22 is probably the most original, humourous and outrageous novel I've read in a long time. Yossarian is a highly enjoyable character, and the ending counld not have been better. It's not another story about war, it's a story about a man we can all relate to. I highly recommend reading it.
Date published: 2001-02-24
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Catch 22 It is a truely wonderful book. It makes the reader think and keeps the reader thinking afterwards. The dogmas presented exposes the true philosophy behind what we are and what we ought to be.
Date published: 2000-08-29
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A Brain Bender A great satirical look at war. Captain Yossarian is the subject of this mind-twisting book. Sometimes the book is known to make little sense to people, and yet it makes perfect sense. I had the fortune to be one of the few who it did make sense to and It was a wonderful look at humans and war and how the two do not mix.
Date published: 2000-03-09

Extra Content

Read from the Book

Chapter 1: The Texan It was love at first sight. The first time Yossarian saw the chaplain he fell madly in love with him. Yossarian was in the hospital with a pain in his liver that fell just short of being jaundice. The doctors were puzzled by the fact that it wasn't quite jaundice. If it became jaundice they could treat it. If it didn't become jaundice and went away they could discharge him. But this just being short of jaundice all the time confused them. Each morning they came around, three brisk and serious men with efficient mouths and inefficient eyes, accompanied by brisk and serious Nurse Duckett, one of the ward nurses who didn't like Yossarian. They read the chart at the foot of the bed and asked impatiently about the pain. They seemed irritated when he told them it was exactly the same. "Still no movement?" the full colonel demanded. The doctors exchanged a look when he shook his head. "Give him another pill." Nurse Duckett made a note to give Yossarian another pill, and the four of them moved along to the next bed. None of the nurses liked Yossarian. Actually, the pain in his liver had gone away, but Yossarian didnt say anything and the doctors never suspected. They just suspected that he had been moving his bowels and not telling anyone. Yossarian had everything he wanted in the hospital. The food wasn't too bad, and his meals were brought to him in bed. There were extra rations of fresh meat, and during the hot part of the afternoon he and the others were served chilled fruit juice or chilled chocolate milk. Apart from the doctors and the nurses, no one ever disturbed him. For a little while in the morning he had to censor letters, but he was free after that to spend the rest of each day lying around idly with a clear conscience. He was comfortable in the hospital, and it was easy to stay on because he always ran a temperature of 101. He was even more comfortable than Dunbar, who had to keep falling down on his face in order to get his meals brought to him in bed. After he made up his mind to spend the rest of the war in the hospital, Yossarian wrote letters to everyone he knew saying that he was in the hospital but never mentioning why. One day he had a better idea. To everyone he knew he wrote that he was going on a very dangerous mission. "They asked for volunteers. It's very dangerous, but someone has to do it. I'll write you the instant I get back." And he had not written anyone since. All the officer patients in the ward were forced to censor letters written by all the enlisted-men patients, who were kept in residence in wards of their own. It was a monotonous job, and Yossarian was disappointed to learn that the lives of enlisted men were only slightly more interesting than the lives of officers. After the first day he had no curiosity at all. To break the monotony he invented games. Death to all modifiers, he declared one day, and out of every letter that passed through his hands went every adverb and every adjective. The next day he made war on articles. He reached a much higher plane of creativity the following day when he blacked out everything in the letters but a, an and the. That erected more dynamic intralinear tensions, he felt, and in just about every case left a message far more universal. Soon he was proscribing parts of salutations and signatures and leaving the text untouched. One time he blacked out all but the salutation "Dear Mary" from a letter, and at the bottom he wrote, "I yearn for you tragically A. T. Tappman, Chaplain, U.S. Army." A. T. Tappman was the group chaplain's name. When he had exhausted all possibilities in the letters, he began attacking the names and addresses on the envelopes, obliterating whole homes and streets, annihilating entire metropolises with careless flicks of his wrist as though he were God. Catch-22 required that each censored letter bear the censoring officer's name. Most letters he didn't read at all. On those he didn't read at all he wrote his own name. On those he did read he wrote, "Washington Irving." When that grew monotonous he wrote, "Irving Washington." Censoring the envelopes had serious repercussions, produced a ripple of anxiety on some ethereal military echelon that floated a C.I.D. man back into the ward posing as a patient. They all knew he was a C.I.D. man because he kept inquiring about an officer named Irving or Washington and because after his first day there he wouldn't censor letters. He found them too monotonous. It was a good ward this time, one of the best he and Dunbar had ever enjoyed. With them this time was the twenty-four-year-old fighter-pilot captain with the sparse golden mustache who had been shot into the Adriatic Sea in midwinter and had not even caught cold. Now the summer was upon them, the captain had not been shot down, and he said he had the grippe. In the bed on Yossarian's right, still lying amorously on his belly, was the startled captain with malaria in his blood and a mosquito bite on his ass. Across the aisle from Yossarian was Dunbar, and next to Dunbar was the artillery captain with whom Yossarian had stopped playing chess. The captain was a good chess player, and the games were always interesting. Yossarian had stopped playing chess with him because the games were so interesting they were foolish. Then there was the educated Texan from Texas who looked like someone in Technicolor and felt, patriotically, that people of means -- decent folk should be given more votes than drifters, whores, criminals, degenerates, atheists and indecent folk -- people without means. Yossarian was unspringing rhythms in the letters the day they brought the Texan in. It was another quiet, hot, untroubled day. The heat pressed heavily on the roof, stifling sound. Dunbar was lying motionless on his back again with his eyes staring up at the ceiling like a doll's. He was working hard at increasing his life span. He did it by cultivating boredom. Dunbar was working so hard at increasing his life span that Yossarian thought he was dead. They put the Texan in a bed in the middle of the ward, and it wasn't long before he donated his views. Dunbar sat up like a shot. "That's it," he cried excitedly. "There was something missing -- all the time I knew there was something missing -- and now I know what it is." He banged his fist down into his palm. "No patriotism," he declared. "You're right," Yossarian shouted back. "You're right, you're right, you're right. The hot dog, the Brooklyn Dodgers. Mom's apple pie. That's what everyone's fighting for. But who's fighting for the decent folk? Who's fighting for more votes for the decent folk? There's no patriotism, that's what it is. And no matriotism, either." The warrant officer on Yossarian's left was unimpressed. "Who gives a shit?" he asked tiredly, and turned over on his side to go to sleep. The Texan turned out to be good-natured, generous and likable. In three days no one could stand him. He sent shudders of annoyance scampering up ticklish spines, and everybody fled from him -- everybody but the soldier in white, who had no choice. The soldier in white was encased from head to toe in plaster and gauze. He had two useless legs and two useless arms. He had been smuggled into the ward during the night, and the men had no idea he was among them until they awoke in the morning and saw the two strange legs hoisted from the hips, the two strange arms anchored up perpendicularly, all four limbs pinioned strangely in air by lead weights suspended darkly above him that never moved. Sewn into the bandages over the insides of both elbows were zippered lips through which he was fed clear fluid from a clear jar. A silent zinc pipe rose from the cement on his groin and was coupled to a slim rubber hose that carried waste from his kidneys and dripped it efficiently into a clear, stoppered jar on the floor. When the jar on the floor was full, the jar feeding his elbow was empty, and the two were simply switched quickly so that stuff could drip back into him. All they ever really saw of the soldier in white was a frayed black hole over his mouth. The soldier in white had been filed next to the Texan, and the Texan sat sideways on his own bed and talked to him throughout the morning, afternoon and evening in a pleasant, sympathetic drawl. The Texan never minded that he got no reply. Temperatures were taken twice a day in the ward. Early each morning and late each afternoon Nurse Cramer entered with a jar full of thermometers and worked her way up one side of the ward and down the other, distributing a thermometer to each patient. She managed the soldier in white by inserting a thermometer into the hole over his mouth and leaving it balanced there on the lower rim. When she returned to the man in the first bed, she took his thermometer and recorded his temperature, and then moved on to the next bed and continued around the ward again. One afternoon when she had completed her first circuit of the ward and came a second time to the soldier in white, she read his temperature and discovered that he was dead. "Murderer," Dunbar said quietly. The Texan looked up at him with an uncertain grin. "Killer," Yossarian said. "What are you talkin' about?" the Texan asked nervously. "You murdered him," said Dunbar. "You killed him," said Yossarian. The Texan shrank back. "You fellas are crazy. I didnt even touch him." "You murdered him," said Dunbar. "I heard you kill him," said Yossarian. "You killed him because he was a nigger," Dunbar said. "You fellas are crazy," the Texan cried. "They don't allow niggers in here. They got a special place for niggers." "The sergeant smuggled him in," Dunbar said. "The Communist sergeant," said Yossarian. "And you knew it." The warrant officer on Yossarian's left was unimpressed by the entire incident of the soldier in white. The warrant officer was unimpressed by everything and never spoke at all unless it was to show irritation. The day before Yossarian met the chaplain, a stove exploded in the mess hall and set fire to one side of the kitchen. An intense heat flashed through the area. Even in Yossarian's ward, almost three hundred feet away, they could hear the roar of the blaze and the sharp cracks of flaming timber. Smoke sped past the orange-tinted windows. In about fifteen minutes the crash trucks from the airfield arrived to fight the fire. For a frantic half hour it was touch and go. Then the firemen began to get the upper hand. Suddenly there was the monotonous old drone of bombers returning from a mission, and the firemen had to roll up their hoses and speed back to the field in case one of the planes crashed and caught fire. The planes landed safely. As soon as the last one was down, the firemen wheeled their trucks around and raced back up the hill to resume their fight with the fire at the hospital. When they got there, the blaze was out. It had died of its own accord, expired completely without even an ember to be watered down, and there was nothing for the disappointed firemen to do but drink tepid coffee and hang around trying to screw the nurses. The chaplain arrived the day after the fire. Yossarian was busy expurgating all but romance words from the letters when the chaplain sat down in a chair between the beds and asked him how he was feeling. He had placed himself a bit to one side, and the captain's bars on the tab of his shirt collar were all the insignia Yossarian could see. Yossarian had no idea who he was and just took it for granted that he was either another doctor or another madman. "Oh, pretty good," he answered. "I've got a slight pain in my liver and I haven't been the most regular of fellows, I guess, but all in all I must admit that I feel pretty good." "That's good," said the chaplain. "Yes," Yossarian said. "Yes, that is good." "I meant to come around sooner," the chaplain said, "but I really haven't been well." "That's too bad," Yossarian said. "Just a head cold," the chaplain added quickly. "I've got a fever of a hundred and one," Yossarian added just as quickly. "That's too bad," said the chaplain. "Yes," Yossarian agreed. "Yes, that is too bad." The chaplain fidgeted. "Is there anything I can do for you?" he asked after a while. "No, no." Yossarian sighed. "The doctors are doing all that's humanly possible, I suppose." "No, no." The chaplain colored faintly. "I didn't mean anything like that. I meant cigarettes...or books...or...toys." "No, no," Yossarian said. "Thank you. I have everything I need, I suppose -- everything but good health." "That's too bad." "Yes," Yossarian said. "Yes, that is too bad." The chaplain stirred again. He looked from side to side a few times, then gazed up at the ceiling, then down at the floor. He drew a deep breath. "Lieutenant Nately sends his regards," he said. Yossarian was sorry to hear they had a mutual friend. It seemed there was a basis to their conversation after all. "You know Lieutenant Nately?" he asked regretfully. "Yes, I know Lieutenant Nately quite well." "He's a bit loony, isn't he?" The chaplain's smile was embarrassed. "I'm afraid I couldn't say. I don't think I know him that well." "You can take my word for it," Yossarian said. "He's as goofy as they come." The chaplain weighed the next silence heavily and then shattered it with an abrupt question. "You are Captain Yossarian, aren't you?" "Nately had a bad start. He came from a good family." "Please excuse me," the chaplain persisted timorously. "I may be committing a very grave error. Are you Captain Yossarian?" "Yes," Captain Yossarian confessed. "I am Captain Yossarian." "Of the 256th Squadron?" "Of the fighting 256th Squadron," Yossarian replied. "I didn't know there were any other Captain Yossarians. As far as I know, I'm the only Captain Yossarian I know, but that's only as far as I know." "I see," the chaplain said unhappily. "That's two to the fighting eighth power," Yossarian pointed out, "if you're thinking of writing a symbolic poem about our squadron." "No," mumbled the chaplain. "I'm not thinking of writing a symbolic poem about your squadron." Yossarian straightened sharply when he spied the tiny silver cross on the other side of the chaplain's collar. He was thoroughly astonished, for he had never really talked with a chaplain before. "You're a chaplain," he exclaimed ecstatically. "I didn't know you were a chaplain." "Why, yes," the chaplain answered. "Didn't you know I was a chaplain?" "Why, no. I didn't know you were a chaplain." Yossarian stared at him with a big, fascinated grin. "I've never really seen a chaplain before." The chaplain flushed again and gazed down at his hands. He was a slight man of about thirty-two with tan hair and brown diffident eyes. His face was narrow and rather pale. An innocent nest of ancient pimple pricks lay in the basin of each cheek. Yossarian wanted to help him. "Can I do anything at all to help you?" the chaplain asked. Yossarian shook his head, still grinning. "No, I'm sorry. I have everything I need and I'm quite comfortable. In fact, I'm not even sick." "That's good." As soon as the chaplain said the words, he was sorry and shoved his knuckles into his mouth with a giggle of alarm, but Yossarian remained silent and disappointed him. "There are other men in the group I must visit," he apologized finally. "I'll come to see you again, probably tomorrow." "Please do that," Yossarian said. "I'll come only if you want me to," the chaplain said, lowering his head shyly. "I've noticed that I make many of the men uncomfortable." Yossarian glowed with affection. "I want you to," he said. "You won't make me uncomfortable." The chaplain beamed gratefully and then peered down at a slip of paper he had been concealing in his hand all the while. He counted along the beds in the ward, moving his lips, and then centered his attention dubiously on Dunbar. "May I inquire," he whispered softly, "if that is Lieutenant Dunbar?" "Yes," Yossarian answered loudly, "that is Lieutenant Dunbar." "Thank you," the chaplain whispered. "Thank you very much. I must visit with him. I must visit with every member of the group who is in the hospital." "Even those in the other wards?" Yossarian asked. "Even those in the other wards." "Be careful in those other wards, Father," Yossarian warned. "That's where they keep the mental cases. They're filled with lunatics." "It isn't necessary to call me Father," the chaplain explained. "I'm an Anabaptist." "I'm dead serious about those other wards," Yossarian continued grimly. "M.P.s won't protect you, because they're craziest of all. I'd go with you myself, but I'm scared stiff. Insanity is contagious. This is the only sane ward in the whole hospital. Everybody is crazy but us. This is probably the only sane ward in the whole world, for that matter." The chaplain rose quickly and edged away from Yossarian's bed, and then nodded with a conciliating smile and promised to conduct himself with appropriate caution. "And now I must visit with Lieutenant Dunbar," he said. Still he lingered, remorsefully. "How is Lieutenant Dunbar?" he asked at last. "As good as they go," Yossarian assured him. "A true prince. One of the finest, least dedicated men in the whole world." "I didn't mean that," the chaplain answered, whispering again. "Is he very sick?" "No, he isn't very sick. In fact, he isn't sick at all." "That's good." The chaplain sighed with relief. "Yes," Yossarian said. "Yes, that is good." "A chaplain," Dunbar said when the chaplain had visited him and gone. "Did you see that? A chaplain." "Wasn't he sweet?" said Yossarian. "Maybe they should give him three votes." "Who's they?" Dunbar demanded suspiciously. In a bed in the small private section at the end of the ward, always working ceaselessly behind the green plyboard partition, was the solemn middle-aged colonel who was visited every day by a gentle, sweet-faced woman with curly ash-blond hair who was not a nurse and not a Wac and not a Red Cross girl but who nevertheless appeared faithfully at the hospital in Pianosa each afternoon wearing pretty pastel summer dresses that were very smart and white leather pumps with heels half high at the base of nylon seams that were inevitably straight. The colonel was in Communications, and he was kept busy day and night transmitting glutinous messages from the interior into square pads of gauze which he sealed meticulously and delivered to a covered white pail that stood on the night table beside his bed. The colonel was gorgeous. He had a cavernous mouth, cavernous cheeks, cavernous, sad, mildewed eyes. His face was the color of clouded silver. He coughed quietly, gingerly, and dabbed the pads slowly at his lips with a distaste that had become automatic. The colonel dwelt in a vortex of specialists who were still specializing in trying to determine what was troubling him. They hurled lights in his eyes to see if he could see, rammed needles into nerves to hear if he could feel. There was a urologist for his urine, a lymphologist for his lymph, an endocrinologist for his endocrines, a psychologist for his psyche, a dermatologist for his derma; there was a pathologist for his pathos, a cystologist for his cysts, and a bald and pedantic cetologist from the zoology department at Harvard who had been shanghaied ruthlessly into the Medical Corps by a faulty anode in an I.B.M. machine and spent his sessions with the dying colonel trying to discuss Moby Dick with him. The colonel had really been investigated. There was not an organ of his body that had not been drugged and derogated, dusted and dredged, fingered and photographed, removed, plundered and replaced. Neat, slender and erect, the woman touched him often as she sat by his bedside and was the epitome of stately sorrow each time she smiled. The colonel was tall, thin and stooped. When he rose to walk, he bent forward even more, making a deep cavity of his body, and placed his feet down very carefully, moving ahead by inches from the knees down. There were violet pools under his eyes. The woman spoke softly, softer even than the colonel coughed, and none of the men in the ward ever heard her voice. In less than ten days the Texan cleared the ward. The artillery captain broke first, and after that the exodus started. Dunbar, Yossarian and the fighter captain all bolted the same morning. Dunbar stopped having dizzy spells, and the fighter captain blew his nose. Yossarian told the doctors that the pain in his liver had gone away. It was as easy as that. Even the warrant officer fled. In less than ten days, the Texan drove everybody in the ward back to duty -- everybody but the C.I.D. man, who had caught cold from the fighter captain and come down with pneumonia. Copywright © 1955,1961 by Joseph Heller, renewed 1989 by Joseph Heller

From Our Editors

Catch-22 is like no other novel we have ever read. It has its own style, its own rationale, its own extraordinary character. It moves back and forth from hilarity to horror. It is outrageously funny and strangely affecting. It is totally original. National ads/media

Editorial Reviews

“Wildly original, brilliantly comic, brutally gruesome, it is a dazzling performance that will probably outrage nearly as many readers as it delights.” —Orville Prescott, New York Times Book Review