Catch-22

Heller, Joseph. Catch-22. New York: Dell Publishing Co., 1961. Catch-22 follows World War II fighter pilot Yossarian as he tries to stay alive in an increasingly maddening world. Yossarian is expected to fly mission after dangerous mission, no matter how ludicrous and despite the fact that he is over the required military maximum ("that's okay, we'll just raise the maximum"). Yossarian finds time and again that logic and military decisions do not mix. And at those points where they could meet, there is always a catch: Catch-22. Yossarian would be grounded if he were insane, but since he is competant enough to realize that only a madman would fly those missions, he's clearly not insane. Catch-22 is littered with such military (il)logic and peopled with such outrageous characters that you are certain you've worked with a few of them. After awhile it becomes difficult to distinguish madness from design: maybe illogic is all part of the plan to keep the machine going. Ultimately, Catch-22 is a hilarious and terrifying look at the military and capitalistic machine as it carpet bombs logic, fairness, and ultimately the people it was designed to benefit.