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Catch-22

Published in 1961, after World War II had ended, this book is the story of Yossarian, a bombardier stationed on the island of Pianosa (off the coast of Italy, fictionally enlarged by Heller in the novel to fit all the action that takes place) during World War II. This satire is about Yossarian being stuck on the island because of Catch-22, "There was only one catch and that was Catch-22, which specified that a concern for one’s own safety in the face of dangers that were real and immediate was the process of a rational mind." Colonel Cathcart keeps raising the number of missions Yossarian and the other bombardiers must fly in order to complete thier service. If Yossarian makes any attempt to get out of flying missions, he is trapped by Catch-22. The entire novel flows through the past and present, and through stories of different characters, such as Major Major Major Major. Each chapter is entitled a different character, and each chapter connects to Yossarian and the flow of the story, but each chapter could be viewed a short story. This novel is hard to get through at first, but once you get into it, you get really into it. It gets very confusing at times, which is why I only recommend it if you can deal with books like this. There is a sequel, Closing Time, but I have not had the chance to read it. It wraps up a lot of the different character's stories. Catch-22 is a amazing work of literature and is often ranked among the best 100 English novels of all time. If you do read it, it is extremely interesting and raises a lot of questions about the absurdity of military bureaucracy and the crazy things people will do in wartime. Rating: ★★★★

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