The demented Army Air Force of Catch-22, the lethal business world of Something Happened, the dysfunctional family of Good as Gold - all these, we have assumed, had their roots in Joseph Heller's own past. Now, more than thirty-five years after the explosion of Catch-22 into the world's consciousness, Heller gives us his life. Here is his Coney Island childhood, down the block from the world's most famous amusement park. It was the height of the Depression, it was a fatherless family, yet little Joey Heller had a terrific time - on the boardwalk, in the ocean (dangerously out of his depth), playing follow-the-leader in and out of local bars, even in school. Then a series of jobs, from delivering telegrams (on his first bike) to working in a navy yard - until Pearl Harbor, the air force, Italy. And after the war, college (undreamed-of before the G.I. Bill), teaching, Madison Avenue, marriage, and - always - writing. And finally the spectacular success of Catch-22, launching one of the great literary careers.