I consider Catch-22 to be the the funniest satirical book of all time; naturally, I wanted to hear from the author about the genesis of his magnum opus. Sadly, I was in for a big disappointment. I got more about the book and Heller from his daughter Yossarian Slept Here: When Joseph Heller was Dad and Life was a Catch-22 and biographer Just One Catch: A Biography of Joseph Heller.
This book is more about his gluttony, childhood friends and their eventual fate and how all moved out of their relatively poor surroundings from Coney Island. He does not talk about his philandering that drove his wife to divorce him, his peccadilloes with his literary agents and publishers and the near fatal neurological disease (Guillan-Barre Disease) that threatened to end his career.
All that we learn is that a few characters like Orr, Hungry Joe, the Chaplain were based on real characters – Yohanan being the inspiration for the unforgettable Yossarian. But Milo, Natley, Dunbar, Chief Halfoat? They will forever remain enigmas.
RIP Yossarian. Sob!