A very generous read of this book chalks up the misogyny of many of the characters as a kind of full exposure without apology of the rape and sexual violence committed by US servicemen. It’s an odd but obvious omission from the general rule and understanding that sexual violence is a tool of war, but “not” for Americans.
This book is savage and brutal though. And in many ways, it’s purely a dystopian and the plot follows more or less along the same lines as Nineteen Eighty Four, and in fact, it’s almost identical in a lot of ways.
This book is about irreverence in the face of overwhelming (but false moral certitude).
Anyway, this is a reread for me for the first time in 15 years and it holds up incredibly. If you haven’t read it, it’s about a bomber squadron posted off the coast of Italy late in the war. After a particularly bloody bombing run in which a gunner is killed and bleeds all over him, Yossarian, a bombardier, decides that he can’t do war anymore. He figures that since the war is all but won, it would be foolish to allow himself to die for the war. And of course the powers in charge, who care only about their own petty ambitions, keep raising the quota of missions completed needed for an airman to rotate back home.
In addition to being Nineteen Eighty Four, this book is also Alice in Wonderland. I won’t justify that.