In 1943, there was an urgent need for Animal Farm. The Soviet Union had become Britain's ally in the war against Nazi Germany, and criticism of Stalin's brutal regime was either censored or discouraged. In any case, many intellectuals on the left still celebrated the Soviet Union, claiming that the terrors of its show trials, summary executions and secret police were either exaggerated or necessary. But, to Orwell, Stalin was always a "disgusting murderer" and he wanted to remind people of this fact in a powerful and ...
In 1943, there was an urgent need for Animal Farm. The Soviet Union had become Britain's ally in the war against Nazi Germany, and criticism of Stalin's brutal regime was either censored or discouraged. In any case, many intellectuals on the left still celebrated the Soviet Union, claiming that the terrors of its show trials, summary executions and secret police were either exaggerated or necessary. But, to Orwell, Stalin was always a "disgusting murderer" and he wanted to remind people of this fact in a powerful and memorable way. But how to do it? A political essay would never reach a wide enough audience; a traditional novel would take too long to write. Orwell hit on the inspired idea of combining the moralism of the traditional 'beast fable' with the satire of Gulliver's Travels. A group of farmyard animals, led by the pigs, overthrow their human masters. Their revolution is inspired by high ideals: the farm will be run in the interests of its animals with no more slaughtering, plenty of food for all and comfort in retirement. But when Napoleon the pig takes command, he quickly corrupts their principles, creating a new tyranny worse than the old. Orwell wrote Animal Farm in the middle of the Second World War, but at first no publishers wanted to touch it. It was finally published in August 1945, once the war was over. This little book quickly became a seminal text in the emerging 'cold war' (a phrase that Orwell himself coined). It also became a site of that conflict itself, suffering various attempts to subvert or change its meaning. Today, Animal Farm remains a powerful fable about the nature of tyranny and corruption which applies for all ages. Our edition also includes the following essays: Shooting an Elephant; Charles Dickens; Inside the Whale; The Frontiers of Art and Propaganda; Literature and Totalitarianism; Fascism and Democracy; Patriots and Revolutionaries; Catastrophic Gradualism; Some Thoughts on the Common Toad; Why I Write; Writers and Leviathan
This was a cute book with animals being the main characters. I enjoyed the book. I gave it 4 stars for the fact that it didnÃ¢â?¬â?¢t say much about the humans after the beginning. I would definitely recommend this book.
Nov 17, 2020
I think this is one that everyone needs to read at some point in their lives. It is such a powerful perspective on society that still applies today. I definitely recommend it.
Nov 8, 2020
A classic that holds up well to today
I remembered very little of this from reading it as a young teen, and I was surprised to find that I sort of enjoyed it. I tend to find classics pretty overrated, outdated, and not diverse enough, but I think that this one holds up pretty decently, in a world where "All Men are Created Equal" [but some are more equal than others]. It's also a pretty quick read, so if you want to dip your toes into the classics, this might be a good place to start.
Apr 11, 2014
I've read this book before but get to be exposed to it again while our daughter reads it for a class. It arrived for her in very good condition. The book is a reminder to its readers of how easily people can be duped by an idealistic sounding speaker and that it is most important to truly think about the consequences of one's choices personally and to a group. How easy it is want someone or some entity to contribute to one's welfare without realizing the cost of giving up personal responsibility for oneself to a governing entity.
Jul 21, 2011
Beautiful language but not the best fiction
I am very fond of George Orwell but Animal Farm didn't seem quite as good as others. The language was, as always, wonderful but the plot didn't particularly appeal to me; this is despite the clear parallels with Soviet Russia and the vivid descriptions of the animals on 'Animal Farm'. Nonetheless, it was a short and pleasant read.
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