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06 September 2009


CATCH-22 by Joseph Heller is a classic worth reading. (Though to be honest I have enjoyed most of the classics I have talked myself into reading.)

Yossarian is a bombardier in the US Army. He has been at war long enough to reach the number of bombing runs required to go home - except his commanding officer keeps raising the number to keep everyone flying.

The book opens with Yossarian in the hospital. He has a pain in his liver but he does not have jaundice. He has a fever but not too high. The doctors keep monitoring him because at this point they cannot treat him. But Yossarian is not sick, he is trying to avoid the war.

Other than being ill, the only way to be grounded is to be labelled crazy. Unfortunately, due to the nature of a catch 22, if you asked to be grounded you are sane because you fear for you life and if you are crazy but flying, hey we can use all of the help we can get, it is war after all.

Heller's look at war and bureaucracy, while hilarious at times, make readers think about the war machine and wonder how any side could ever claim to have won. Heller takes a subject and twists it enough to have readers laughing out loud but thinking about the impact war has on the lives of all affected.

Heller, Joseph. (1961). Catch-22. New York: Simon & Schuster.

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