Did Joseph Heller commit a disservice to the members of the 340th Bomb Group when he wrote Catch-22? Did author Patricia Chapman Meder write an apologetic defending the real four officers some feel Joesph Heller blindsided when he made them into Catch-22's four heavy hitters?
"The True Story of Catch - 22: The Real Men and Missions of Joseph Heller's 340th Bomb Group in World War II" is a combination of both plus I feel some admiration for Joseph Heller making those men infamous.
There is a reason the original Catch-22 is found in the fiction not nonfiction section of bookstores. Joseph Heller didn't write a memoir of his service during World War II. He wrote a satirical and somewhat historical novel.
Patricia Chapman Meder uses rare and unpublished photos to bring our actual heroes to life through use of first person narrative.
There is a third part in her book that is actually the book's heart. She takes twelve men of the 340th and relates twelve true tales.
Fans of Catch-22 will enjoy the book. It makes good use of diaries, logs, and photos to bring the people to life. For those unfamiliar with Catch-22 the book will make you curious enough to pickup Heller's book.
"The True Story of Catch - 22: The Real Men and Missions of Joseph Heller's 340th Bomb Group in World War II" would make a nice companion volume or commentary for the serious student of the original work. It would make a nice inclusion in university or community libraries as a resource for Joseph Heller's book.
I recommend "The True Story of Catch - 22: The Real Men and Missions of Joseph Heller's 340th Bomb Group in World War II" by Patricia Chapman Meder. The publisher is Casemate Publishing.
Read and reviewed by Jimmie A. Kepler.