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Comma 22

(Book #1 in the Catch-22 Series)

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Format: Paperback

Condition: Very Good*

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$70.39

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Book Overview

This fiftieth-anniversary edition commemorates Joseph Heller's masterpiece with a new introduction; critical essays and reviews by Norman Mailer, Alfred Kazin, Anthony Burgess, and others; rare papers... This description may be from another edition of this product.

Customer Reviews

9 ratings

Great book

Excellent book. Very funny and worth the read

Mildly Entertaining

This is not so much a satire of WWII, but an alternate reality disputing the experiences of millions who served. Yes, the military is often ridiculous, but not like this. I grew up with WWII veterans; I also spent my life in the military and am an amateur historian--very little in the book corresponds to real experience. Humor to me is only funny if it has some touch with actual life and this book touches that very seldom. It seems to me that this book, like Slaughter House Five is a PTSD narrative with this author, like Vonnegut, not recognizing or effectively dealing with his wartime trauma. Books like this were written as part of the postwar effort to destroy the fabric of American society.

Hulu Adaptation Was Great!

I loved the Hulu adaptation to this book. It is sad in some parts as Yo-Yo loses his friends, and at some point he loses his own sanity when stuck in war he only got into to get out of. Comedic as well, and this book will make you angry at some of their choices as well as astonished.

Arrived in very poor condition. Pages falling out. Missing first 3 chapters.

Missing first 3 chapters?! Starts on pages 41+??? I paid for a book in “very good condition” and this is what I get. Aside from that, it only took 2.5 months to get to me!! Sheesh

great book

Love it.

Not worth the time

Starts out ridiculous and remains so. Could not get past the first chapter for the stupidity of it all. I even skipped ahead and read the odd page here and there, no improvement.

Brilliant, compulsive satirical literature

Joseph Heller's excellent anti-war satire is on of the most poignant, intriguing and comical books ever written. The conversations of his roundabout characters are some of the wittiest pieces of dialogue one could ever find in a novel, and the underlying satire and social commentary behind every character and every page really does pack a punch. Catch-22 is both hilarious, cynical and scathingly satirical: a masterpiece; a tremendous achievement.It revolves around a group of characters during WWII, notably the eccentric Yossarian. Yossarian is confined to a small military on the island of Pianosa, in amongst a large group of weird and wonderful characters. Each of these characters exhibit strange idiosyncrasies inflicted by the madness of war: they are vehicles for Heller to convey the futility and stupidity of the institution.Yossarian, no matter what he tries, cannot escape bombardier duty and cannot get transferred. To be transferred, one must be classified as insane. Hence the Catch-22: by exhibiting a concern for one's personal safety and asking for a transfer, one is sane. But, by flying combat missions and risking one's life, one is IN-sane, but by asking to leave, one is SANE! Yossarian is flummoxed.Catch-22 is one of the best books ever written and I highly recommend it.

The ultimate life affirming book

No book written in my lifetime has had a greater impact on my thinking or provided such a rich reading experience as Catch-22. More than just an antiwar screed, this sprawling novel with its intricate plots and huge cast of characters is a complex story of survival in an absurdly tragi/comic war. It manages to be both hysterically funny and saddly moving while forcing the reader to look differently at such concepts as 'honor', 'heroism', 'patriotism' and 'cowardice'. As several reveiwers have pointed out, the book is slow to start. Part of that has to do with the author's need to seduce the reader to his peculiar veiwpoint, to introduce the numerous characters and to set the stage that will make the absurd seem normal and the normal seem absurd. Once perceived, the structure of the book is a joy to experience. The recurring interrupted flashbacks, the seemingly unrelated subplots and digressions, the cast of characters, each stranger than the one before, all reveal more and more as the book progresses so that by the end one feels enmeshed in a real story of real people - though it is totally crazy. As if Lewis Carroll had written The Inferno instead of Dante.Some of the scenes and characters are as inventive as anything ever writtn and remain vivid in the mind long after the book is finished. Yossarian is a complete person, but much that he experiences is fragmented and bizarre. The 'soldier in white' (all readers will remember this one) is a perfect example of Heller's genius. This scene is both horrifying and hysterically funny, and goes to the heart of the book's message.Joesph Heller died yesterday. I will miss him because there will be no more Heller books. But in truth, though he continued to write and produced a series of interesting novels (including a sequel to Catch-22), nothing else that he produced came close to having the magic and the impact of that first one.

The "Logic" of War

When I was in high school, my English teacher introduced me to the absurdity of war. We were assigned to read "Dulce Et Decorum Est" by the great war poet Wilfred Owen. This poem refuted the "old lie", Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori - How sweet and fitting it is to die for one's country. After reading this poem, I suddenly realized how wasteful and utterly senseless war is, especially for the unfortunate people who must put their life on the line. One day, I was in a second-hand bookstore, and by chance spotted a copy of "Catch-22." I had no idea what the book was about, but once I started reading, I couldn't stop. This book, like Owen's poem, describes how frightening and pointless war is to the soldier. However, while Owen uses gory details to bring forth his ideas, Heller uses satire. This book captures the personal fears and opinions of the troubled bombadier, Yossarian. He does not know why he has to be there, and he certainly does not want to die. Yossarian stated that he didn't care if this opinion made the enemy happy. He said that the enemy is anybody who wants to kill you, and it was his superior who kept sending him out to get killed...This makes me wonder about the millions of soldiers throughout time, for this thought must have passed through some of their minds at some desperate point. The old men who instigate and plan wars are not the ones who will die. Rather, they send people out to die for *their* cause. As you can see, this book really made me think. Yes, I thought, I laughed till I cried, then I cried for the senselessness of it all. Heller is a genius!

Catch-22 Mentions in Our Blog

Catch-22 in 9 Memorable Literary Fools
9 Memorable Literary Fools
Published by Ashly Moore Sheldon • March 31, 2022

For April Fool's Day, we're exploring the role of fools in literature. Shakespeare is sometimes credited with establishing the fool as instrumental in his plots. Though they serve as subjects of amusement, and even ridicule, they often emerge as the ones who see the world most clearly.

Catch-22 in The New York Times Book Review Celebrates Their Anniversary with a Vote
The New York Times Book Review Celebrates Their Anniversary with a Vote
Published by Amanda Cleveland • January 04, 2022

The New York Times Book Review turned 125 years old. To celebrate their momentous anniversary and their dedicated readership, they asked their readers to nominate the best books of the past 125 years. They took thousands of nominations down to 25 finalists, then that finalist down to one winner.

Catch-22 in Things We Love: When the Books You Love Come to Life On-screen (Unless the Book is Way Better...)
Things We Love: When the Books You Love Come to Life On-screen (Unless the Book is Way Better...)
Published by Beth Clark • November 09, 2018

2018 may be winding down, but there are several epic screen adaptations that are set to be released before it does, including All the Truth is Out, Holmes and Watson, the newest Grinch movie, Mary Queen of Scots, Mortal Engines, Mary Poppins, Watership Down + more!

Catch-22 in In Honor of Banned Books Week, Let's Ban Banning Books Once and for All
In Honor of Banned Books Week, Let's Ban Banning Books Once and for All
Published by Beth Clark • September 24, 2018

Okay, maybe we can’t eliminate censorship (yet...#goals), but we can celebrate Banned Books Week with gusto by reading all of the stories that someone (or someones) tried to silence, destroy, or restrict access to. Here are 50 of the most frequently banned and/or most recently challenged books, along with the "who, why, and how" of literary censorship in America.

Catch-22 in The Great American Read: All 100 Best-Loved Novels!
The Great American Read: All 100 Best-Loved Novels!
Published by Beth Clark • August 31, 2018

The Great American Read is a PBS series that explores and celebrates the power of reading as the core of an ambitious digital, educational, and community outreach campaign designed to get the country reading and passionately talking about books. One hundred books, to be exact, so happy reading!

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