Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Book Review - Catch-22 by Joseph Heller

Yossarian Lives!

Catch-22 is an existential, anti-war 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

5/5 Snakes


  1. This is a book that I haven't read yet, but it sounds like one I should be reading soon!

  2. I couldn't agree more! Everyone should be made to read this book. I hope you enjoy it.

  3. Haven't read this for years and my memory of it is pretty hazy, so thanks for the reminder! I think I still own a copy, so I'll have to dust it off and give it another read I think.

  4. This is probably in my top 10 books I've yet to read. Though, at the mention of "existentialism," it might stay on my tbr shelf for a while yet.

  5. Andrew... I just read it for the first time recently at the recommendation of my new brother-in-law. He has a very dark sense of humour so I wasn't sure what to expect. I loved it though, and was laughing the whole way through. It will definitely need a re-read, as there is so much that you miss the first time.

    John...Don't even think about the minor existentialism. If nothing else, you need to experience the disjointed humour, as Heller really has a talent with that. I have heard though that the rest of his books are not worth the time, sadly.

  6. great review, it makes me more excited to read it when I get the chance too.


  7. Thanks Jessica. I look forward to hearing your thoughts when you do. ; )

  8. I love this book! I've reread it multiple times since my first read in college. It's so perfect - funny and yet cruel, perfect satire to show the horrors of war. I own a lot of books by Heller, and have yet to read any others, but I want to read the sequel to this one this time.

  9. I'll be interested to know what you think of Closing Time, when you get around to reading it. I haven't picked it up myself because a couple of people have told me that it's not worth my time.

    I have it in the back of my mind that I will eventually read it immediately after I've read Catch-22 another time, but we'll see.