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Extended Audio Sample Catch-22, by Joseph Heller Click for printable size audiobook cover
3.00000491278876 out of 53.00000491278876 out of 53.00000491278876 out of 53.00000491278876 out of 53.00000491278876 out of 5 3.00 (270,722 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Joseph Heller Narrator: Jay O. Sanders Publisher: HarperCollins Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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Joseph Heller's now-classic satirical novel has captivated generations of readers since it was first published in 1961. Set during the final days of World War II, the novel offers a brilliant take on the perils and pitfalls of bureaucratic thinking. Captain John Yossarian, a U.S. Air Force bombardier, and his fellow airmen just want to fulfill their wartime obligations and get back home safe, sane and alive. The absurd and insane situations they encounter and how they overcome them is the basis of this fascinating novel. Based in part on Heller's own experiences during World War II, Catch-22 is a brilliant and cleverly insightful take on life and human reasoning.

Told from various points of view and uniquely sequenced in a non-chronological way that cleverly builds the plot, Catch-22 is quite unlike any other novel you have ever read. Absurdly funny and strikingly original, it is still considered to be a true American original in the world of literary fiction.

Catch-22 is like no other novel we have ever read. It has its own style, its own rationale, its own extraordinary character. It moves back and forth from hilarity to horror. It is outrageously funny and strangely affecting. It is totally original.

It is set in the closing months of World War II, in an American bomber squadron on a small island off Italy. Its hero is a bombardier named Yossarian, who is frantic and furious because thousands of people he hasn't even met keep trying to kill him. (He has decided to live forever even if he has to die in the attempt.)

Catch-22 is a microcosm of the twentieth-century world as it might look to someone dangerously sane. It is a novel that lives and moves and grows with astonishing power and vitality. It is, we believe, one of the strongest creations of the mid-century.

Performed by Jay O. Sanders

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Quotes & Awards

  • Catch-22 is the only war novel I've ever read that makes any sense.” 

    Harper Lee

  • “To my mind, there have been two great American novels in the past fifty years. Catch-22 is one.” 

    Stephen King

  • “It’s the rock and roll of novels . . . There’s no book like it. . . . Surprisingly powerful.” 

    Norman Mailer

  • “This novel is not merely the best American novel to come out of World War II, it is the best American novel that has come out of anywhere in years.”

    Nelson Algren 

  • “One of the greatest anti-war books ever written.” 

    Vanity Fair

  • “Sanders is the lucky actor chosen to read Heller’s masterpiece, and he does well by it, proceeding gamely through the novel’s staggering array of comic set pieces and deliriously woozy dialogue. Heller’s humor is straight-faced, requiring little more than a steady, sure voice, and Sanders offers just that. Line by line, joke by joke, Sanders reels through the marvelous phantasmagoria of Heller’s World War II, tongue planted firmly in cheek.

    Publishers Weekly

  • “Heller’s celebrated novel of WWII is given an entertaining reading by actor Jay O. Sanders. The novel itself is a high-energy, absurdist romp through the machinations of governmental bureaucracy, the labyrinth of circular and paradoxical military ‘reasoning,’ and larger questions of rationality, sanity, war, and peace…Sanders brings a friendly, earnest tone to the production, and offers accomplished and consistent characterizations of all the novel’s main characters.


  • One of Modern Library‘s 100 Best English-Language Novels of the Twentieth Century
  • One of Time Magazine's Best 100 English-Language Novels from 1923–2005
  • Audio Publisher’s Association “Audie” Award

Listener Opinions

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 by Katharine | 2/13/2014

    " This book is a classic, and also the basis for the saying "so here's my catch 22". I feel as though these sayings and their origins are lost on people when they don't know it's history. Phrases such as these, devil's advocate, etc, all have their origins somewhere, and if nothing more, it is important to know where these saying came from. Beyond that, this book is stellar. Advanced in thought, so reserved for higher, high school, grades, I will for sure use this in my future classroom when appropriate. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Jp | 2/6/2014

    " For my $$$ the funniest book ever written. I re-read it in 2005 as the Iraq War became the Iraq fiasco and realized Heller wasn't giving his reader a look back at WWII as much as he was predicting the future. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Carey Shea | 2/4/2014

    " It's been a while since I read this book but I do remember this what a wonderful and funny book this was. Highly recommend. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 by dave rangel | 2/3/2014

    " I really want to like it... its just too much "

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