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Publisher's Summary

It’s the closing months of World War II and Yossarian has never been closer to death. Stationed in an American bomber squadron off the coast of Italy, each flight mission introduces him to thousands of people determined to kill him. But the enemy above is not Yossarian’s problem - it is his own army intent on keeping him airborne, and the maddening Catch-22 that allows for no possibility of escape. 

This is an abridged version of the book.

©1955, 1989 Joseph Heller (P)2019 HN Publishing

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What listeners say about Catch 22

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Could the abridged be BETTER than the unabridged?!

I have owned this version of Catch 22 on cassettes for decades and loved it. It's true that it contains only about 1/8 of Joseph Heller's book, but this performance by Alan Arkin (who the heck is Matthew Marks?) is possibly the best reading of any book ever.

The man who played Yossarian in the movie, and didn't believe he did a good job, is the perfect guy to read this book. Jay O. Sanders does a terrific job with the unabridged version, and if you have 20 hours- go for it. But if you need a shot- a taste of Heller's classic book- you will not get a better chance than this. And the price is good too.

Catch 22 follows the trials and tribulations of Yossarian as he endures the final months of World War II. He's a bombardier in a fighter wing stationed on an island called Pianosa. He's unhappy because people he doesn't know are trying to kill him, and the people he does know aren't doing much better.

This book is filled with lots of amazing characters that will make you question humanity and society- but in truth we are all Yossarians, trying to get through life while society is running roughshod over us. In truth, it's not about war or the military. Heller was proud of his service in World War II; he just knew enough about how bureaucracy works to tell this story. He saw fascism up close and had plenty to say about it.

I know many people will reject this book because it's so highly abridged. When it was released 3 hour audio books were the norm. If you want to get a quick version of this great story- look no further. If you want to hear the finest performance by an amazing actor- this is it. If you're not sure you want to commit 20 hours to listening to this book- this is how you can get a taste. Again, the Jay O. Sanders, 20 hour version is good... but it's 20 hours and more expensive.

But seriously... this one has me at Alan Arkin.

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I didn't realize this was abridged

what is the point of abridging Catch-22? I'm sorry I purchased it. at least the narration was sardonic as it should be.

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Very Enjoyable

Taking such a sacred peice of history is an incredibly risky route to take but once you get past that it is amazing how the author can insert so many contradictions that have plausibility is the work of art here in my view. Having spent nearly 27 years in the Army there were many laugh out loud moments and times that I simply thought "yep, that's about right.
The narrators tone tempo and nuances were great. There was a small amount of background sounds but nothing distracting.
I've been working my way through the American classics and had a hard time starting this one but in the end I really enjoyed it. I highly recommend this title to all.

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Catch 22

The Abridged version sucks. It’s missing way too much information to be worth your time.

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If your looking to use a credit...

I would still pick something else.. It felt like the narrator was reluctantly reading a bedtime story for the ninth time. It felt rushed. The story itself felt like it was made up along the way.