Named one of America’s best-loved novels by PBS’s The Great American Read.
One of the funniest books ever written, Joseph Heller's masterpiece about a bomber squadron in the Second World War's Italian theater features a gallery of magnificently strange characters seething with comic energy. The malingering hero, Yossarian, is endlessly inventive in his schemes to save his skin from the horrible chances of war, and his story is studded with incidents and devices (including the Glorious Loyalty Oath Crusade and the hilariously sinister bureaucratic rule that gives the book its title) that propel the narrative in a headlong satiric rush. But the reason Catch-22's satire never weakens and its jokes never date stems not from the comedy itself but from the savage, unerring, Swiftian indignation out of which that comedy springs. This fractured anti-epic, with all its aggrieved humanity, has given us the most enduring image we have of modern warfare.
This hardcover Everyman's Library edition includes an introduction by Malcolm Bradbury, a chronology of the author's life and times, and a select bibliography. It is printed on acid-free paper, with sewn bindings, full-cloth covers, foil stamping, and a silk ribbon marker.
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, Columbia, and Oxford University, the last on a Fulbright scholarship. He 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. Joseph Heller died in 1999.
“Vulgarly, savagely, bitterly funny . . . A dazzling performance.” —THE NEW YORK TIMES
“An extraordinary book . . . of enormous richness and art, of deep thought and brilliant writing.” —THE SPECTATOR
“Below its hilarity, so wild that it hurts, Catch-22 is the strongest repudiation of our civilization, in fiction, to come out of World War II.” —THE NATION
“An original. There's no book like it anyone has read . . . Heller is carrying his reader on a more consistent voyage through Hell than any American writer before him.” —Norman Mailer
“Explosive, subversive, brilliant . . . One of the most bitterly funny books in the language.” —THE NEW REPUBLIC