Just One Catch by Tracy Daugherty
A Biography of Joseph Heller

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Synopsis

In time for the 50th anniversary of Catch-22, Tracy Daugherty, the critically acclaimed author of Hiding Man (a New Yorker and New York Times Notable book), illuminates his most vital subject yet in this first biography of Joseph Heller.

Joseph Heller was a Coney Island kid, the son of Russian immigrants, who went on to great fame and fortune. His most memorable novel took its inspiration from a mission he flew over France in WWII (his plane was filled with so much shrapnel it was a wonder it stayed in the air). Heller wrote seven novels, all of which remain in print. Something Happened and Good as Gold, to name two, are still considered the epitome of satire. His life was filled with women and romantic indiscretions, but he was perhaps more famous for his friendships--he counted Mel Brooks, Zero Mostel, Carl Reiner, Kurt Vonnegut, Norman Mailer, Mario Puzo, Dustin Hoffman, Woody Allen, and many others among his confidantes. In 1981 Heller was diagnosed with Guillain-Barré Syndrome, a debilitating syndrome that could have cost him his life. Miraculously, he recovered. When he passed away in 1999 from natural causes, he left behind a body of work that continues to sell hundreds of thousands of copies a year.

Just One Catch is the first biography of Yossarian's creator.

 

About Tracy Daugherty

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He is a professor of English and director of the MFA program in creative writing at Oregon State University and is a faculty member of the MFA program for writers at Warren Wilson College.
 
Published August 2, 2011 by St. Martin's Press. 561 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs. Non-fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Just One Catch

Kirkus Reviews

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Daugherty has a natural feel for the texture of Heller's worlds, both physical and cultural: his impoverished Coney Island youth, the gung-ho patriotic fervor of World War II, the Beat Generation and the corporate culture of Madison Avenue, where Heller worked by day while toiling on his first no...

Jun 01 2011 | Read Full Review of Just One Catch: A Biography o...

The New York Times

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Two books about Joseph Heller, by his daughter, Erica Heller (“Yossarian Slept Here”) and Tracy Daugherty (“Just One Catch”).

Jul 27 2011 | Read Full Review of Just One Catch: A Biography o...

The New York Times

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A biography and a memoir examine the life and career of the author of “Catch-22.”

Aug 26 2011 | Read Full Review of Just One Catch: A Biography o...

Publishers Weekly

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Daugherty is good at setting the scene of Heller's early lower-middle-class Jewish life amid the surreal glow of Brooklyn's Coney Island and, later, writing about his years as a bombardier with its questions of the amorality of bombing missions that caused civilian casualties.

May 16 2011 | Read Full Review of Just One Catch: A Biography o...

The Wall Street Journal

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Alec Solomita reviews "Just One Catch: A Biography of Joseph Heller" by Tracy
Daugherty and "Yossarian Slept Here: When Joseph Heller Was Dad, the ...

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The Wall Street Journal

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Joseph Heller's second novel, "Something Happened" (1974), offers a glimpse into the novelist's chilly center.

Aug 20 2011 | Read Full Review of Just One Catch: A Biography o...

Book Reporter

It was a pretext for verbal pyrotechnics and social critique.” CATCH-22 thus anticipated and quickly became a totem of the ’60s counterculture, even elevating Heller to a “cultural spokesperson, as CATCH-22 came to be regarded as prophetic about the complexities of Vietnam.” Through his account o...

Aug 04 2011 | Read Full Review of Just One Catch: A Biography o...

The Economist

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With Duthuit Beckett let himself relax, ostensibly writing about other people's work at the same time as confessing that “I who hardly ever talk about myself talk about little else.” Such an admission contrasts with what became Beckett's party line: “I have no ideas about theatre.

Oct 18 2015 | Read Full Review of Just One Catch: A Biography o...

The Economist

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With Duthuit Beckett let himself relax, ostensibly writing about other people's work at the same time as confessing that “I who hardly ever talk about myself talk about little else.” Such an admission contrasts with what became Beckett's party line: “I have no ideas about theatre.

Sep 02 2015 | Read Full Review of Just One Catch: A Biography o...

The Economist

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Just One Catch: A Biography of Joseph Heller.

Oct 08 2011 | Read Full Review of Just One Catch: A Biography o...

The Washington Post

(In a prepublication review for Britain’s Daily Mail, Kenneth Allsop called “Catch-22” “The Naked and the Dead scripted for the Marx Brothers, a kind of From Here to Insanity.” Joseph Epstein quipped in The Washington Post, “Nothing happens in Something Happened.”) A portrait emerges from both th...

Jul 12 2011 | Read Full Review of Just One Catch: A Biography o...

The Telegraph

He is the author of four novels and is Distinguished Professor of English at Oregon State University Heller enlisted in the US army air corps in 1942 at 19 and subsequently served on the Italian front.

Dec 22 2011 | Read Full Review of Just One Catch: A Biography o...

Dallas News

Harper Lee, for example: “It’s the only war novel I’ve ever read that makes any sense.” It smoothed the way for M*A*S*H, Dr. Strangelove and Slaughterhouse-Five.

Aug 05 2011 | Read Full Review of Just One Catch: A Biography o...

Oregon Live

"Someone," of course, was Yossarian, and as Tracy Daugherty writes in his biography of Heller, "Just One Catch," all of Heller's novels would be similarly inspired by the revelation of a single sentence.

Aug 06 2011 | Read Full Review of Just One Catch: A Biography o...

London Review of Books

In October 1962, when the paperback edition of his big book was beginning to sell in truckloads, Heller told an interviewer for Newsweek that his second novel was ‘about a married man who is working for a large company and who wants to work himself up to the point where he makes a speech at the c...

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Bookmarks Magazine

Heller McAlpin Los Angeles Times 3.5 of 5 Stars "Daugherty's Just One Catch sets out the markers of Heller's life clearly enough, putting the biographical facts in order in one simple volume.

Aug 07 2011 | Read Full Review of Just One Catch: A Biography o...

Time Out New York

A reluctant participant in the burgeoning Madison Avenue advertising world of the 1950s, Heller seemed a figure unlikely to publish a work of such unimpeachable influence.

Aug 10 2011 | Read Full Review of Just One Catch: A Biography o...

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