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Catch 22 fans, read on,
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This review is from: Only War We've Got (Paperback)
The easiest way to describe this book is to say: if you liked Catch 22, try this too. The war is Vietnam, not World War II, but the message is the same. There is no nobility here, just a mixture of ordinary grunts doing their best, while not helped by generals with their own lunatic agendas, ambassadors who had better come up with a convincing lie fast or there'll be trouble, officers with an unerring eye for the wrong decision, a corrupt and incompetent enemy made to look good by even more corrupt and incompetent allies, and a lunatic war owned and controlled by the inmates of the asylum.
It always seemed to me that Catch 22 contained one of three or four great insights of the 20th century. Einstein made his reputation by noting that the observer is part of the event; Heisenberg joined the immortals of theoretical physics by proving you can't know everything. Joseph Heller's insight in Catch 22 was that your own officers are just as keen as the enemy on killing you. Derek Maitland, a British journalist who covered the Vietnam War, first as a freelance photographer, then as features editor for the Thompson-owned Bangkok Post, and finally for the Copley News Agency, knows the bitter truth of Heller's insight.
This is a fast-paced, anarchic, bitter, funny, helter-skelter of a book. Don't be put off by its age (it was first published in 1970). If you haven't read it, do yourself a favour and read it now.