Study Guide

Joseph Heller Biography | Author of Catch-22

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Joseph Heller was born in Brooklyn, New York, in 1923 and grew up in Coney Island. This oceanside town had a large population of Russian Jewish immigrants, including Heller's parents, and was known for its amusement park. Heller's biting sense of humor may have been influenced by growing up in this somewhat surrealistic, carnival-like neighborhood.

After his 1941 high school graduation, Heller worked in an insurance office for a short time. The next year, 1942, he enlisted in the Army Air Corps, and in 1944, the year in which Catch-22 is set, Heller was stationed on the island of Corsica (located in the Mediterranean Sea, off the coasts of France and Italy). There he was a bombardier who flew sixty combat missions, earning an Air Medal and a Presidential Unit citation. After the war ended in 1945, Heller married Shirley Held and went to college, eventually earning a B.A. in English from...

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This section contains 439 words
(approx. 2 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy the Catch-22 Study Guide
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Catch-22 from Novels for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.