Saturday, November 21, 2009

Five best works of fiction about World War II

Antony Beevor has written both novels and non-fiction. His new book is D-Day: The Battle for Normandy.

For the Wall Street Journal, he named a five best list of works of fiction about World War II.

One title on the list:
by Joseph Heller
Simon & Schuster, 1961

"Catch-22" is probably the most devastating satire ever written about the lunacy of war and military bureaucracy. Set in Italy toward the end of World War II, the novel is a triumph of construction, with its fiendishly unbreakable circle of counter-logic, as a U.S. bomber squadron is sent on more and more missions by ambitious officers trying to exceed their objectives. In a way, the officers' double-think is similar to that of the para-Stalinist system evoked in George Orwell's dystopia, "1984." Joseph Heller's protagonist, Yossarian, bemused by the self-perpetuating madness all around him, is one of the great anti-heroes of modern literature.
Read about another book on Beevor's list.

Catch-22 is one of Jasper Fforde's five most important books and is on Thomas E. Ricks' top ten books about U.S. military history. While it disappointed Nick Hornby upon rereading, it made Cracked magazine's "Wit Lit 101: Five Classic Novels That Bring the Funny." Heller's second novel did not enjoy the success of Catch-22; in fact, it found a place on Luke Leitch's top ten list of "writers who couldn't quite match their initial success."

--Marshal Zeringue