Catch-22

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Catch-22 by Joseph Heller Summary

Presents the contemporary classic depicting the struggles of a U.S. airman attempting to survive the lunacy and depravity of a World War II base

Closing Time

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Closing Time by Joseph Heller Summary

A darkly comic and ambitious sequel to the American classic Catch-22. In Closing Time, Joseph Heller returns to the characters of Catch-22, now coming to the end of their lives and the century, as is the entire generation that fought in World War II: Yossarian and Milo Minderbinder, the chaplain, and such newcomers as little Sammy Singer and giant Lew, all linked, in an uneasy peace and old age, fighting not the Germans this time, but The End. Closing Time deftly satirizes the realities and the myths of America in the half century since WWII: the absurdity of our politics, the decline of our society and our great cities, the greed and hypocrisy of our business and culture -- with the same ferocious humor as Catch-22. Closing Time is outrageously funny and totally serious, and as brilliant and successful as Catch-22 itself, a fun-house mirror that captures, at once grotesquely and accurately, the truth about ourselves.

Catch-22

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Catch-22 by Joseph Heller Summary

Explosive, subversive, wild and funny, 50 years on the novel's strength is undiminished. Reading Joseph Heller's classic satire is nothing less than a rite of passage. Set in the closing months of World War II in an American bomber squadron off the coast of Italy, Catch-22 is the story of a bombardier named Yossarian who is frantic and furious because thousands of people he has never even met keep trying to kill him. Joseph Heller's bestselling novel is a hilarious and tragic satire on military madness, and the tale of one man's efforts to survive it.

The True Story of Catch 22

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The True Story of Catch 22 by Patricia Chapman Meder Summary

After the publication of his bestselling novel Catch-22, Joseph Heller usually chose to deny that any of his richly drawn characters were based on his actual war mates. However, to those who served with Heller in the 340th Bomb Group the novel’s characters were indeed recognizable—the hard-drinking, vengeful, and disillusioned Chief White Half Oat, young, sliced-in-half Kid Sampson, shrieking, frenzied Hungry Joe, Colonel Cathcart, General Dreedle, Yossarian and that capitalist supreme, Milo Minderbinder. In this book, written and colorfully illustrated by the daughter of the 340th Bomb Group’s commander, Colonel Willis Chapman, we finally encounter the real men and combat missions on which the novel was based. While Heller’s fully developed characters stand solely, solidly and uniquely on their own merits, The True Story of Catch-22 proves that any resemblance to persons living or dead is, in fact, actual. This three-part book blends fact, fancy, and history with full-blown original illustrations and rare, previously unpublished photos of these daring USAAF flyers and their Corsican-based B-25 Mitchell. Along with descriptions of the 340th’s real wartime events, the work includes twelve men of the Bomb Group relating twelve richly told tales of their own. Now all of the men upon whom Heller based his characters are gone. However, the last survivor, George L. Wells, was an extraordinary combat pilot who tied the record for the number of bombing missions flown in WWII with 102. George, the model for Catch-22s Capt. Wren, is the common thread who weaves through this book, allowing the reader to truly feel the war and even thumb through George's well-worn mission book describing attacks on Axis ports, ships, bridges, and the notorious Brenner Pass. In this book the reader will discover that truth is indeed as fascinating as fiction! Author Patricia Chapman Meder has been a professional artist in both fine and commercial art for the past 35 years, 13 of them in Europe. When Catch-22 was published it was quickly apparent that this book was based on the Bomb Group her father commanded in World War II. This true-life parallel book thus begged to be written. Pat Meder has also written a full-color companion work to "The True Story of Catch-22," containing her delightful original artwork and caricatures of the individuals, "The True Story of Catch-22 Illustrated".

Reading 'Catch-22'

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Reading 'Catch-22' by Paul McDonald Summary

Comic novelist and critic, Paul McDonald, provides an accessible, revealing guide to Joseph Heller’s seminal anti-war novel, Catch-22. In order to help readers deepen their understanding of this perplexing comedy, McDonald succinctly contextualises it both in relation to the author’s life, and key developments in modern American literature. The book offers a thorough summary and analysis of the plot of Catch-22, addresses important characters such as Colonel Cathcart, Lieutenant Scheisskopf, Milo Minderbinder, Major Major, and Doc Daneeka, and explains the various ways in which Yossarian’s hilarious predicament has been interpreted. Among other things it considers Yossarian’s status as a mythic hero, an individualist hero, and a postmodern hero, assessing his relevance to contemporary America, and his re-emergence in the sequel to Catch-22, Closing Time, published in 1994. It also offers a descriptive bibliography of important secondary sources, and links to useful online texts.

SOMETHING HAPPENED

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SOMETHING HAPPENED by Joseph Heller Summary

Bob Slocum was living the American dream. He had a beautiful wife, three lovely children, a nice house...and all the mistresses he desired. He had it all -- all, that is, but happiness. Slocum was discontent. Inevitably, inexorably, his discontent deteriorated into desolation until...something happened. Something Happened is Joseph Heller's wonderfully inventive and controversial second novel satirizing business life and American culture. The story is told as if the reader was overhearing the patter of Bob Slocum's brain -- recording what is going on at the office, as well as his fantasies and memories that complete the story of his life. The result is a novel as original and memorable as his Catch-22.

Closing Time

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Closing Time by Joseph Heller Summary

The sequel to Catch-22, the classic that came to symbolize the absurdity of war, takes on politics, the greed of business, and the decline of society and brings back most of the original major characters as they battle The End. 150,000 first printing. Tour.

Joseph Heller's Catch-22

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Joseph Heller's Catch-22 by Harold Bloom Summary

Discusses the writing of Catch-22 by Joseph Heller. Includes critical essays on the work and a brief biography of the author.

Golk

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Golk by Richard Stern Summary

“The first really good book I have read about television.” —Norman Mailer In midcentury America, one man is determined to take over the airwaves with a program as audacious as it is entertaining. Bald, bombastic, and irresistible, Golk is his name and You’re On Camera is his show. To “golk” someone is to trick her, on camera, into betraying her true nature. The more combative the personality, the better the joke, and to help trap his victims Golk enlists a team of misfits, including Herbert Hondorp, a scholarly layabout turned photogenic decoy, and Jeanine Hendricks, a twenty-three-old debutante with a bitter worldview. But Golk has bigger plans than just catching average Manhattanites unawares. As popular as You’re On Camera has become, he knows the show is capable of making a greater, more transformative impact. The question is, will Herbert and Hendricks go along with his revolutionary agenda? Or will they bow to the power of the network and the seduction of celebrity? Combining high drama with surreal hilarity and presenting a remarkably prescient view of the future of television, Golk ranks with Nathanael West’s The Day of the Locust as one of the finest novels ever written about the American entertainment industry.

Just One Catch

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Just One Catch by Tracy Daugherty Summary

In time for the 50th anniversary of Catch-22, Tracy Daugherty, the critically acclaimed author of Hiding Man (a New Yorker and New York Times Notable book), illuminates his most vital subject yet in this first biography of Joseph Heller. Joseph Heller was a Coney Island kid, the son of Russian immigrants, who went on to great fame and fortune. His most memorable novel took its inspiration from a mission he flew over France in WWII (his plane was filled with so much shrapnel it was a wonder it stayed in the air). Heller wrote seven novels, all of which remain in print. Something Happened and Good as Gold, to name two, are still considered the epitome of satire. His life was filled with women and romantic indiscretions, but he was perhaps more famous for his friendships—he counted Mel Brooks, Zero Mostel, Carl Reiner, Kurt Vonnegut, Norman Mailer, Mario Puzo, Dustin Hoffman, Woody Allen, and many others among his confidantes. In 1981 Heller was diagnosed with Guillain-Barré Syndrome, a debilitating syndrome that could have cost him his life. Miraculously, he recovered. When he passed away in 1999 from natural causes, he left behind a body of work that continues to sell hundreds of thousands of copies a year. Just One Catch is the first biography of Yossarian's creator.

Mila Eighteen

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Mila Eighteen by Leon Uris Summary

Recounts the resistance of the Jews in the Warsaw ghetto against the Nazis

Yossarian Slept Here

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Yossarian Slept Here by Erica Heller Summary

THROUGHOUT ERICA HELLER’S LIFE, when people learned that Joseph Heller was her father, they often remarked, “How terrific!” But was there a catch? Like his most famous work, her father was a study in contradictions: eccentric, brilliant, and voracious, but also mercurial, competitive, and stubborn, with a love of mischief that sometimes cut too close to the bone. Being raised by such a larger than- life personality could be claustrophobic, even at the sprawling Upper West Side apartments of the Apthorp, which the Hellers called home—in one way or another—for forty-five years. Yossarian Slept Here is Erica Heller’s wickedly funny but also poignant and incisive memoir about growing up in a family—her iconic father; her wry, beautiful mother, Shirley; her younger brother, Ted; her relentlessly inventive grandmother Dottie—that could be by turns caring, infuriating, and exasperating, though anything but dull. From the forbidden pleasures of ordering shrimp cocktail when it was beyond the family’s budget to spending a summer, as her father’s fame grew, at the Beverly Hills Hotel, Erica details the Hellers’ charmed—and charmingly turbulent— trajectory. She offers a rare glimpse of meetings with the Gourmet Club, where her father would dine weekly with Mel Brooks, Zero Mostel, and Mario Puzo, among others (and from which all wives and children were strictly verboten). She introduces us to many extraordinary residents of the Apthorp, some famous—George Balanchine, Sidney Poitier, and Lena Horne, to name a few—and some not famous, but all quite memorable. Yet she also manages to limn the complex bonds of loyalty and guilt, hurt and healing, that define every family. Erica was among those present at her father’s bedside as he struggled to recover from Guillain-Barré syndrome and then cared for her mother when Shirley was diagnosed with terminal cancer after the thirty-eight-year marriage and intensely passionate partnership with Joe had ended. Witty and perceptive, and displaying the descriptive gifts of a born storyteller, this authentic and colorful portrait of life in the Heller household unfolds alongside the saga of the family’s moves into four distinctive apartments within the Apthorp, each representing a different phase of their lives together—and apart. It is a story about achieving a dream; about fame and its aftermath; about lasting love, squandered opportunities, and how to have the best meal in Chinatown.

Good as Gold

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Good as Gold by Joseph Heller Summary

Dr. Bruce Gold, a forty-eight-year-old Jewish professor of English, faces the possibilities of being appointed to a high State Department position and being disowned by his family

The Garlic Ballads

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The Garlic Ballads by Mo Yan Summary

This stunning work of historical fiction illustrates the harsh realities of modern China by the nation’s first winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature. The farmers of Paradise County have been leading a hardscrabble life unchanged for generations. The Communist government has encouraged them to plant garlic, but selling the crop is not as simple as they believed. Warehouses fill up, taxes skyrocket, and government officials mistreat even those who have traveled for days to sell their harvest. A surplus on the garlic market ensues, and the farmers must watch as their crops wither and rot in the fields. All the while, families are destroyed by the random imprisonment of young and old for supposed crimes against the state. The prisoners languish in horrifying conditions in their cells, with only their strength of character and thoughts of loved ones to save them from madness. Meanwhile, a blind minstrel incites the masses to take the law into their own hands, and a riot escalates to savage and unforgettable consequences. The Garlic Ballads is a powerful vision of life under the heel of an inflexible and uncaring government. Based on an uprising in rural China in 1987, this book is also a delicate story of love between man and woman, father and child, friend and friend—and the struggle to maintain that love despite overwhelming obstacles.

God Knows

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God Knows by Joseph Heller Summary

Joseph Heller's powerful, wonderfully funny, deeply moving novel is the story of David -- yes, King David -- but as you've never seen him before. You already know David as the legendary warrior king of Israel, husband of Bathsheba, and father of Solomon; now meet David as he really was: the cocky Jewish kid, the plagiarized poet, and the Jewish father. Listen as David tells his own story, a story both relentlessly ancient and surprisingly modern, about growing up and growing old, about men and women, and about man and God. It is quintessential Heller.

Almost Like Christmas

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Almost Like Christmas by Joseph Heller Summary

A masterful short story from the acclaimed author of Catch-22, about one long night of anticipation. In a small town in the American South, it is night in the middle of the twentieth century. Carter, a high-school teacher and football coach in the newly desegregated schools, is awaiting news of two of his students who have been in a serious altercation. Outside the building where Carter has kept his vigil, a crowd of townspeople have also gathered to keep watch. Carter must choose how much he wants to participate in the spectacle, and how much he can afford to keep his distance. "Almost Like Christmas" by Joseph Heller is one of 20 short stories within Mulholland Books's Strand Originals series, featuring thrilling stories by the biggest names in mystery from the Strand Magazine archives. View the full series list at mulhollandbooks.com and listen to them all!

Catch-22

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Catch-22 by Stephen W. Potts Summary

Describes the background of Catch-22, discusses its themes, and looks at its critical reception

Face of a Hero

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Face of a Hero by Louis Falstein Summary

Details the wartime adventures of tail gunner Ben "Pop" Isaacs as he visits a displaced persons camp and sees the survivors of the Holocaust

Catch-22 - Joseph Heller, New Edition

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Catch-22 - Joseph Heller, New Edition by Sterling Professor of the Humanities Harold Bloom Summary

Presents a collection of essays analyzing Heller's Catch-22, including a chronology of his works and life.

Men at War

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Men at War by Christopher Coker Summary

This is the story of the fictional warriors, heroes, villains, survivors and victims whose exploits thrill and appall us, capturing the existential appeal to men of war -- Ranges through 3,000 years of history, through epic poems, the modern novel and film scripts -- Case studies include Apocalypse Now, All Quiet on the Western Front, Thin Red Line, Master and Commander, and Dr. Strangelove