Catch-22 PDF ✓ Paperback
I originally read this about 15 years ago When I joined Goodreads and added the books I had previously read I remembered it as a 3 star book I am not sure if it is being 15 years older or the fact that I did the audiobook this time, but it was easily 5 stars now The first thing that came to mind after I was a few chapters into this was the show Seinfeld Always touted as a show about nothing, this book was kind of about nothing It is series of smaller anecdotes, usually somewhat silly, that really don t have a specific function in moving the plot It is a satire about war, red tape, chain of command, etc and the inherent futility involved While war and the tragedy that goes with it are usually not considered amusing, this feels like a therapeutic, tongue in cheek poke that needed to be made to maintain sanity.There are a plethora of characters some of which are caricatures that may get your head spinning at first Luckily, Heller gives them all memorable names which helps keep them organized easily Maybe that was not his intention, but when you need to remember if it was Milo Minderbender or Major Major Major Major yes, that is his name my spell check did not like me repeating a word four times who did something, the reader is definitely given naming tools to keep them connected I mentioned that there is not necessarily an overall story, but there are definitely themes One is doing what is best for you no matter who gets stepped on in the process Another is twisting the facts to make sure the ultimate outcome is what works best for you And, of course, the BIG idea that has become a common colloquialism I know I use it just about every day is the situation of Catch 22 Early in the book, the first example of Catch 22 is that if you say you want to fly bombing missions, you must be crazy so they will take you off the missions only someone crazy would want to fly missions But, if you are not on the missions, your sanity is no longer in question so they will make you fly them If you say you don t want to fly them, you are sane so you will have to fly them Basically, no matter how you feel about flying missions, you will end up flying them anyway Situations like this are repeated throughout the book where there is no good answer to the situation at hand often with hilarious and frustrating results.Now, I mention that the book is humorous satire, but it does have many dark moments as well This kind of goes back to my mention of the discourse within the novel being therapeutic War is crazy and what can happen is brutal Oddly enough, a Jimmy Buffett quote from Changes in Latitudes, Changes in Attitudes comes to mind If we weren t all crazy we would go insane That pretty much sums up the book in a nutshell So, should you read this book Well, I think that question is a Catch 22 in itself I think about 50% of the people who try this will hate it or dnf it I think the other 50% of the people who read it will love it, quote it, put it on their favorites list Where the Catch 22 is that I think any person has the capability to be in either category depending on where their mindset is right now If I recommend it to you now you may hate me, or you may thank me profusely In 10 years is would be visa versa I do think the audiobook helped me appreciate it and it is now in my favorites Will that happen for you I definitely cannot be the one to decide that Hmm, where to start with a book like this one A book that is a third Kafka, a third Vonnegut, a third Pynchon and completely insane For the first 200 or 250 pages, it is like a broken record or a movie loop with Sisyphus rolling that boulder up a hill in American WWII battle fatigues and a flight suit and a Mae West life preserver sans the inflation module thanks the MM Enterprises Then, when the flak starts flying and the blood is splattered everywhere it is intense right up until the end.It features Chaucerian cast of characters that would not be out of place in the German chaos of Gravity s Rainbow or The Tin Drum A few examples Major Major Major Major He was a proud and independent man who was opposed to unemployment insurance and never hesitated to whine, whimper, wheedle, and extort for as much as he could get from whoever he could He was a devout man whose pulpit was everywhere But if you want a meeting with him, you ll have to wait until he has climbed out the window of his office and run down the gully.Colonel Cathart a slick, successful, slipshod, unhappy man of thirty six who lumbered while we walked and wanted to be a general he was impervious to absolutes He could measure his own progress only in relationship to others, and his idea of excellence was to do something at least as well as all the men his same age who were doing the same thing even better Even if or especially if that meant raising the number of combat missions from 50 to 80 to impress General Peckham or General Dreedle or gasp General Scheisskopf whose wife was well, just a little promiscuous.Then there is the Anabaptist chaplain who started to wonder about whether God exists and is tortured by his assistant, the sadistic Colonel Whitcomb and spends a lot of time wondering whether everything he sees is d j vu, presque vu or jamais vu.Also, the ill fated young Nately and the equally ill fated old man debating whether America was winning the war or whether Italy was since Italy has already survived than two millennia than the US even existed This sordid, vulturous, diabolical old man reminded him of his father because the two were nothing at all alike And then there is Yossarian, the protagonist Perhaps the insane Captain decorated for making a second bombing pass that killed Kraft being the sanest person on the island of Pianosa despite being haunted by Snowden, the soldier in white, the dead man in his tent, persecuted and nearly killed by Nately s whore and all the death and absurdity around him Yossarian is an everyman who is justifiably paranoid, but just a cog in the system and the only person that retains a sense of outrage at the senseless violence all around him.This is the most anti war book I believe I have ever read It makes M A S H look like a US Army recruiting poster in comparison I was horrified by one man syndicate MM Enterprises of Milo Minderbender the cynic who deals with total impunity openly with both sides even manning the anti aircraft flak machines on the Italian coast shooting down US bombers and bombing his own squadron with loads of casualties This of course scarily parallels the Trump links with Putin and Russia and the massive amounts of money that Trump stands to make as POTUS Kid Simpson s slaughter was perhaps the most gruesome of them all, but the the scenes of terror and anarchy that Yossarian sees in Rome before being arrested for being there without a pass leaving the murderous Aarfy smiling and careless as always were chilling.Do not come here seeking logic or sanity because in war, neither has any place not in Catch 22 and I suppose in real life either It reminded me of a cab driver I had once in New Orleans true story who was bragging to me about burying Iraquis in their trenches by rolling over them with tanks and bulldozers during the first Gulf War When I mentioned that it was against the Geneva Convention to bury men alive, he shrugged in the rearview mirror and said They told us that those rules didn t apply to us since this was just a conflict and not a war and besides, we were the US Army and not bound by some stupid European rules If, as I did, you struggle through the first 200 pages, the pace picks up as does the violence and you will find yourself cheering for Yossarian and racing to the end if not, as Yossarian, to Sweden I would give it 5 stars, but the first 200 pages are really torture to get through, so for lack of being able to give a 4.5, I rounded down to 4 stars Regardless, I can clearly see, however, why this classic is held in such high esteem May we never go through another war like this again I can also see some of the inspiration for Alan Alda for creating M A S H in the 70s and, reading Fire In the Lake about Vietnam, we learned absolutely nothing from the errors that Heller describes.Reading the second Rick Atkinson book of The Liberation Trilogy about the Allied campaign in Italy Every bit as brutal and chaotic as Heller portrayed it particularly the brutal inch by inch campaign up from Salerno to Rome Anzio was particularly horrendous Curious fact Roger Waters father the one he eulogizes in The Wall died at Anzio.Highly recommended as a piece of essential anti war black humor. I suffered through about 60 pages, and finally put it down I very rarely ever leave a book unfinished The author narrates and introduces us to Yossarian, who does not want to fly in the war I get that I get the whole catch 22 scenerio You have to be insane to fly the plane If you can get a dr to say you are insane, you wont have to fly But in order to tell a dr that you are insane, this actually means you are sane So you must continue to fly which makes you insane blah blah blah.What I couldnt get past was the author s constant bouts of Attention Deficet Disorder He went off on tangents, introducing a new character seemingly every paragraph, and seemed to lose his train of thought only to regain it 2 pages later I couldnt take all the jumping around, and was completely lost the whole time at times rereading the prior page thinking I missed some important tie in somewhere.Am I the only one on this planet who is asking myself what heck everyone was smoking when they read this book and actually enjoyed it A shiny new batch of awesome for my all time favorite shelf It has been awhile since I ve so throughly enjoyed reading a novel that has, at the same time, left me as intellectually awestruck as Joseph Heller s classic sermon on the insanity of war What a sublime, literary feast To prepare 1 Start with a surrealistic, Kafkaesque worldview basted in chaos 2 Knead in a plot reminiscent of Pynchon, taking particular care that the bizarre, placidly disjointed surface fully camouflages the powerfully nuanced, and deceptively focused central message 3 Marinate the whole thing in a dark, hilarious satire that would have made Vonnegut beam like a proud papa 4 Bake at 350, season with zesty prose, and serve Voilaa singular, absurdilarious serving of inspired genius that I can not recommend highly This novel was so much than I was expecting Despite its pervasive, laugh out loud humor, Heller s story is the most horrifyingly effective depiction of the insanity of war that I ve ever read I m not referring to the evil and vile atrocities perpetrated in war that have been so extensively catalogued throughout the annals of literature Rather, Heller s insight is geared to showing us the illogic of war, the out of control nihilism, and the chaotic, existential absurdity of it Note this observation is coming from someone who s never been closer to war than the opening scene of Saving Private Ryan, so season the above with grains of salt as necessary It s brilliant PLOT SUMMARY I think any attempt at a plot summary is doomed to inadequacy, so let me just briefly frame the story The novel follows the exploits of the fictional 256th fighter squadron, stationed on the fictional island of Pianosa, during the height of WWII With a large cast of characters and a non chronological narrative that switches viewpoints constantly, Heller creates a delicious cauldron of madness and bureaucratic ineptitude that is just heaven to follow Our chief tour guide through the nuthouse is Captain John Yossarian, bomber pilot, whose main ambition in life is to live forever or die in the attempt Yossarian s life wish is so strong that he doesn t even distinguish between the enemy and his superiors As far as he s concerned, the enemy is anybody who s going to get you killed, no matter which side he s on To avoid the final finality of death, Yossarian concocts a series of ingenious and hysterical methods for staying alive, including poisoning his own squadron and redrawing a the combat map during the Great Big Siege of Bologna so as to alter the bombing target Despite his often less than moral shenanigans, Yossarian acts as the conscience of the story and helps to keep the rampant lunacy and chaos in context His is the voice of indignity and righteous anger against the war and the cold, faceless bureaucracy that perpetrates it Even against the God that allows it such horrors to exist in the first place Don t tell me God works in mysterious ways, Yossarian continued, hurtling on over her objection There s nothing so mysterious about it He s not working at all He s playing Or else He s forgotten all about us That s the kind of God you people talk about a country bumpkin, a clumsy, bungling, brainless, conceited, uncouth hayseed Good God, how much reverence can you have for a Supreme Being who finds it necessary to include such phenomena as phlegm and tooth decay in His divine system of creation What in the world was running through that warped, evil, scatological mind of His when He robbed old people of the power to control their bowel movements Why in the world did He ever create pain Pain Lieutenant Scheisskopf s wife pounced upon the word victoriously Pain is a useful symptom Pain is a warning to us of bodily dangers And who created the dangers Yossarian demanded Why couldn t He have used a doorbell instead to notify us THOUGHTS Loved it, loved it, loved it, loved it, loved it, loved it, loved it, loved it, loved it, loved it and loved it The writing is brilliant, the characters are unique, engaging and memorable, and the story will scar you with wonder and awe I can t believe I hesitated so long to read this, and I intend to sit down with this many times in the years to come For those that have experienced this before, and for those who just want a stroll down memory lane, here are a few pearls that showcase this novel s rather large package of absurd, satircal win Fortunately, just when things were blackest, the war broke out I ll tell you what justice is Justice is a knee in the gut from the floor on the chin at night sneaky with a knife brought up down on the magazine of a battleship sandbagged underhanded in the dark without a word of warning Colonel Cargill could be relied on to run the most prosperous enterprise into the ground He was a self made man who owed his lack of success to nobody Colonel Cathcart was indefatigable that way, an industrious, intense, dedicated military tactician who calculated day and night in the service of himself.And a personal favorite all leading up to the very last line The chaplain had mastered, in a moment of divine intuition, the handy technique of protective rationalization, and he was exhilarated by his discovery It was miraculous It was almost no trick at all, he saw, to turn vice into virtue and slander into truth, impotence into abstinence, arrogance into humility, plunder into philanthropy, thievery into honor, blasphemy into wisdom, brutality into patriotism, and sadism into justice Anybody could do it it required no brains at all It merely required no character Finally, I wanted to share one last piece of awesome with you The following is the contents of the letter sent by the base commander to the wife of one of the main characters Dear Mrs., Mr., Miss, or Mr And Mrs no spoiler Words cannot express the deep personal grief I experienced when your husband, son, father, or brother was killed, wounded, or reported missing in action Priceless and what s even funnier is that the set up of the joke occurs about 200 pages before Masterful 6.0 stars HIGHEST POSSIBLE RECOMMENDATION I have had Catch 22 on my bookshelf for years It was one of those novels that I ve said, oh I ll get around to that in 2012 It didn t happen Maybe 2013 Nope And so on until just a couple of days ago I ve got to stop putting books off Rarely has a piece of literature ticked so many of my boxes Satire, farce, gallows humour, irreverence, it s as if this book were written entirely for me I loved every word on every page of this book I cannot find a single miniscule fault anywhere within the narrative or the prose or the characterisation or the flow or the humour I can say without any hesitation that Catch 22 is a perfect novel It was love at first sight. The following is an example of how many conversations in this book took place.Jen I didn t like this book.Nigel Why didn t you like the book Jen I did like the book.Nigel You just said you didn t like the book.Jen No I didn t.Nigel You re lying.Jen I don t believe in lying.Nigel So you never lie Jen Oh yes, I lie all the time.Nigel You just said you don t believe in it.Jen I don t believe in it, Jen said as she ate a chocolate covered cotton ball.Nigel Well I liked the book.Jen Fabulous I liked it too Nigel What did you like about it Jen Oh, I hated it.I think Heller was showing how war is chaotic by not writing in a chronological order You really have no idea in what order events are taking place I think he was showing how war is ridiculous by writing conversations like the one above I m not sure if any of his goals were to annoy the living hell out of his readers, but he annoyed me 460 pages of absurdness is too much for me Most of the characters were very one dimensional I could only distinguish between people by their names Most of the good guys all had the same personalities and the bad guys all had the same personalities except one character ate peanut brittle and another put crab apples in his cheeks Other than that same personalities Maybe his goal was only to distinguish between the good, everyday guys and the evil, power hungry men in charge If so, he succeeded I just wasn t thrilled after page 150 or so There is some funny stuff in there The chocolate covered cotton balls will crack me up for life There s some really sad stuff too It s weird because every time someone died, I cared, even though I knew nothing about them, except what they ate or who their favorite whore was I m not sure how Heller pulled that off Anyway, I would recommend it It s just that the ridiculousness of it gets to the point where it s just, well, ridiculous, and beyond my personal tolerance level I still appreciated it though. Catch 22, Joseph HellerCatch 22 is a satirical novel by American author Joseph Heller He began writing it in 1953 the novel was first published in 1961 Often cited as one of the most significant novels of the twentieth century, it uses a distinctive non chronological third person omniscient narration, describing events from the points of view of different characters The separate storylines are out of sequence so the timeline develops along with the plot 22 2001 1378 806 9649049304 20 22 1393 552 9789642092000 22 1394 518 9786002295613 22 22 22 1942.52. Insanity is contagious Like so many other works of originally absurd or dystopian character, this classic catches up with reality faster than I can process When I first shared Yossarian s frustration over the perfect catch, I did so in a quite abstract way, enjoying the intellectual game the novel kept me engaged in Now I find myself frequently thinking of his pain as something I experience myself, every day, reading news and listening to the authorities that are in charge to rule the world If you want to succeed against the insanity of populist ruthlessness and to restore liberal values and democratic processes, you have to adopt the insane leaders weapons, and turn yourself into a demagogue playing to the stupidity and insanity of the indoctrinated, thoughtless masses But then, of course, you do not represent liberal values and democratic processes any, you turn into the monster you fight.When Yossarian realised that he could only escape the threat to his life the active participation in the war if he was declared insane, and that expressing the wish to escape the threat to his life showed he was in fact sane, he knew he was in the clutches of insane authorities which ironically therefore were safe from dying in the war for which they were responsible They were keeping their numbing power over him as long as he was sane enough to resist, and human enough to have a character It was miraculous It was almost no trick at all, he saw, to turn vice into virtue and slander into truth, impotence into abstinence, arrogance into humility, plunder into philanthropy, thievery into honor, blasphemy into wisdom, brutality into patriotism, and sadism into justice Anybody could do it it required no brains at all It merely required no character As a novel showing the absurdity of war and of nationalism on an individual level, while keeping a bittersweet sense of humour, this labyrinth of a tale has no peer The country was in peril he was jeopardizing his traditional rights of freedom and independence by daring to exercise them So here is my catch, let s call it the catch 42 the catch that kicks in whenever we try to find the Answer to Life, The Universe and Everything If all insane leaders of the world read this book, they would understand the meaninglessness of their destructive power play, and they would change their ways and the world would finally be a safe place The catch is that they have to be sane to read it.So, read it if you are sane enough to understand it It will drive you crazy though. You mean there s a catch Sure there s a catch, Doc Daneeka replied Catch 22 Anyone who wants to get out of combat duty isn t really crazy 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 Orr was crazy and could be grounded All he had to do was ask and as soon as he did, he would no longer be crazy and would have to fly missions Orr would be crazy to fly missions and sane if he didn t, but if he was sane he had to fly them If he flew them he was crazy and didn t have to but if he didn t want to he was sane and had to Yossarian was moved very deeply by the absolute simplicity of this clause of Catch 22 and let out a respectful whistle That s some catch, that Catch 22, He observed It s the best there is, Doc Daneeka agreed Originally Catch 22 was Catch 18, but because Leon Uris was publishing a novel called Mila 18 that same year Joseph Heller s agent decided the title needed to be changed so as to not confuse the book buying public Also given that 22 is a double 11 they liked the way it represented the many d j vu moments that occur in the book The East Coast publishing intelligentsia really embraced the book even though there were doubts if it would ever gain traction with the American public It did.I understand the frustration that publishers feel with the American book buying public They have all been scorched by a book they felt should have sold by the wheelbarrow only to have it crash and burn with the majority of the first printing sold off to a remainder company Sometimes a book needs a lightning strike in the form of Oprah or a school banning the book thank you Strongsville, OH , but for Heller all he needed was the 1960s The book is set during WWII, the last good war according to everyone from Tom Brokaw to the school janitor at Phillipsburg High School Fat novels glorifying the war, some extraordinarily good, were hitting bookstores at a fast clip from the late 1940s on By the time Catch 22 came out in 1961 the world had changed So those people who bought this book who thought they were in for another weren t we great novel about World War Two were in for a shock A typical reaction was WTF Some thought it was irreverent, but there were a growing group of people who thought it was among the best American novels they had ever read Both reactions helped juice the novel and sales began to climb Joseph Heller in uniform.At the tender age of 19 in 1942 Joseph Heller joined the U.S Army Air Corp By 1944 he found himself on the Italian Front as a B 25 Bombardier He flew 60 missions most of which he categorized as milk runs these were flight missions that encounter no or very little anti aircraft artillery or enemy fighters Heller admits that his disillusionment with the war in Korea colored the novel It gives me the shakes to think how different the novel would be if he had published the book in 1951 instead of 1961 Little did he know how prophetic his novel would be regarding the Vietnam War Yossarian has reached the end of his rope He has flown the required number of combat missions several times, but each time Colonel Cathcart keeps raising the number of missions required to go home A similar circumstance plagued Hawkeye Pierce and his fellow doctors in the Korean War based TV series M A S H The pressure of thousands of people he doesn t even know and hundreds he does know trying to kill him is just too much for him to bear As he becomes and insane sane he becomes and qualified to fly combat missions as far as the military is concerned He comes up with various ailments to keep him in the hospital He shows up to receive his war medal naked except for a pair of moccasins He finally refuses to fly any missions and begins parading around the camp walking backwards This does start to foment rebellion among his fellow flyers and drives Colonel Cathcart to distraction Morale was deteriorating and it was all Yossarian s fault The country was in peril he was jeopardizing his traditional rights of freedom and independence by daring to exercise them Heller surrounds Yossarian with a wonderful cast of detailed characters of which I will only be able to mention a few Lieutenant Nately is one of Yossarian s best friends, a trust fund baby with red, white, and blue blood running through his veins He is a good looking kid and could have any woman he wanted, but he falls in love with an Italian prostitute who begrudgingly sleeps with him when he pays for sex with her, but would rather he just disappeared He has this great discussion with her 107 year old pimp Italy is one of the least prosperous nations on earth And the Italian fighting man is probably second to all And that s exactly why my country is doing so well in this war while your country is doing so poorly Nately guffawed with surprise But Italy was occupied by the Germans and is now being occupied by us You don t call that doing very well, do you But of course I do exclaimed the old man cheerfully The Germans are being driven out, and we are still here In a few years you will be gone, too, and we will still be here You see, Italy is really a very poor and weak country, and that s what makes us so strong Italian soldiers are not dying any But American and German soldiers are I call that doing extremely well Nately continues to be the straight man for the old man as they discuss the absurdity of risking one s life for their country There is nothing so absurd about risking your life for your country he Nately declared Isn t there asked the old man What is a country A country is a piece of land surrounded on all sides by boundaries, usually unnatural Englishmen are dying for England, Americans are dying for America, Germans are dying for Germany, Russians are dying for Russia There are now fifty or sixty countries fighting in this war Surely so many countries can t all be worth dying for Anything worth living for, said Nately, is worth dying for And anything worth dying for, answered the sacrilegious old man is certainly worth living for Milo Minderbinder is in charge of the mess at the U.S Army Corps base As he learns and about how goods are moved around the globe he begins a business of supply and demand war profiteering He becomes the ultimate capitalist with no allegiance to any country He trades with the enemy and as part of contract negotiations he also warns the Germans once of an impending attack even to the point of guiding anti artillery against American planes and in another case bombs his own base to fulfill another contract The absurdity of his position is that he is too important to the American high command to get in trouble for any of these acts of treason He tries to explain one of his successful schemes to Yossarian I don t understand why you buy eggs for seven cents apiece in Malta and sell them for five cents I do it to make a profit But how can you make a profit You lose two cents an egg But I make a profit of three and a quarter cents an egg by selling them for four and a quarter cents an egg to the people in Malta I buy them from for seven cents an egg Of course, I don t make the profit the syndicate makes the profit And everybody has a share Yossarian felt he was beginning to understand And the people you sell the eggs to at four anda quarter cents a piece make a profit of two and three quarter cents apiece when they sell them back to you at seven cents apiece Is that right Why don t you sell the eggs directly to you and eliminate the people you buy them from Because I m the people I buy them from Milo explained I make a profit of three and a quarter cents apiece when I sell them to me and a profit of two and three quarter cents apiece when I buy them back from me That s a total profit of six cents and egg I lose only two cents an egg when I sell them to the mess halls at five cents apiece, and that s how I can make a profit buying eggs for seven cents apiece and selling them for five cents apiece.Hungry Joe keeps meeting the flight standards time and time again only to have his paperwork take too long to process before the flight standards have been raised again He packs and then he unpacks He is a fat, pervert who convinces women to take their clothes off to be photographed by telling them that he works for Life Magazine and will put them on the cover Unfortunately the photographs never turn out Ironically he did work as a photographer for Life Magazine before the war Women do play a role in this book mostly as objects of lust Heller has these wonderful, creative descriptions of them She would have been perfect for Yossarian, a debauched, coarse, vulgar, amoral, appetizing slattern whom he had longed for and idolized for months She was a real find She paid for her own drinks, and she had an automobile, an apartment and a salmon colored cameo ring that drove Hungry Joe clean out of his senses with its exquisitely carved figures of a naked boy and girl on a rock And then there is a nurse that brings Yossarian nearly to his knees with desire Yossarian was sick with lust and mesmerized with regret General Dreedle s nurse was only a little chubby, and his senses were stuffed to congestion with the yellow radiance of her hair and the unfelt pressure of her soft short fingers, with the rounded untasted wealth of her nubile breast in her Army pink shirt that was opened wide at the the throat and with the rolling, ripened triangular confluences of her belly and thighs in her tight, slick forest green garbardine officer s pants He drank her in insatiably from head to painted toenail He never wanted to lose her Ooooooooooooh, he moaned again, and this time the whole room rippled at his quavering, drown out cry.You will probably need to google the next one He enjoyed Nurse Sue Ann Druckett s long white legs and supple, callipygous ass Paradoxes abound even when Heller describes a character he will have countering characteristics like she was plain, but pretty or he was handsome, but ugly Aren t we all a sum of those characteristics anyway Joseph Heller looking handsome and ugly.This book is hilarious, I laughed out loud at several points but wrapped with increasingly tragic circumstances As Yossarian s friends die or disappear his desperation increases His behavior becomes and erratic The absurd traps him time and time again There are a whole host of reasons why everyone should read this novel I m not saying that everyone will like it as much as I did, but it is IMHO one of the top five most important American novels ever written It impacted our culture, added words to our language, and gave voice to a generation of people dissatisfied with the war aims of this country More importantly don t be the one person in the middle of a Catch 22 discussion who hasn t read the book If you wish to see of my most recent book and movie reviews, visit also have a Facebook blogger page at The novel is set during World War II, from 1942 to 1944 It mainly follows the life of Captain John Yossarian, a U.S Army Air Forces B 25 bombardier Most of the events in the book occur while the fictional 256th Squadron is based on the island of Pianosa, in the Mediterranean Sea, west of Italy The novel looks into the experiences of Yossarian and the other airmen in the camp, who attempt to maintain their sanity while fulfilling their service requirements so that they may return home.