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Animal Farm Hardcover – November 20, 1990

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Editorial Reviews Review

Since its publication in 1946, George Orwell's fable of a workers' revolution gone wrong has rivaled Hemingway's The Old Man and the Sea as the Shortest Serious Novel It's OK to Write a Book Report About. (The latter is three pages longer and less fun to read.) Fueled by Orwell's intense disillusionment with Soviet Communism, Animal Farm is a nearly perfect piece of writing, both an engaging story and an allegory that actually works. When the downtrodden beasts of Manor Farm oust their drunken human master and take over management of the land, all are awash in collectivist zeal. Everyone willingly works overtime, productivity soars, and for one brief, glorious season, every belly is full. The animals' Seven Commandment credo is painted in big white letters on the barn. All animals are equal. No animal shall drink alcohol, wear clothes, sleep in a bed, or kill a fellow four-footed creature. Those that go upon four legs or wings are friends and the two-legged are, by definition, the enemy. Too soon, however, the pigs, who have styled themselves leaders by virtue of their intelligence, succumb to the temptations of privilege and power. "We pigs are brainworkers. The whole management and organisation of the farm depend on us. Day and night, we are watching over your welfare. It is for your sake that we drink that milk and eat those apples." While this swinish brotherhood sells out the revolution, cynically editing the Seven Commandments to excuse their violence and greed, the common animals are once again left hungry and exhausted, no better off than in the days when humans ran the farm. Satire Animal Farm may be, but it's a stony reader who remains unmoved when the stalwart workhorse, Boxer, having given his all to his comrades, is sold to the glue factory to buy booze for the pigs. Orwell's view of Communism is bleak indeed, but given the history of the Russian people since 1917, his pessimism has an air of prophecy. --Joyce Thompson --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

From Library Journal

This 50th-anniversary commemorative edition of Orwell's masterpiece is lavishly illustrated by Ralph Steadman. In addition, it contains Orwell's proposed introduction to the English-language version as well as his preface to the Ukrainian text. Though all editions of Animal Farm are equal, this one is more equal than others.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an alternate Hardcover edition.

Product Details

  • Series: An Hbj Modern Classic
  • Hardcover: 144 pages
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (November 20, 1990)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0151072558
  • ISBN-13: 978-0151072552
  • Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 0.7 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2,445 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #47,272 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

GEORGE ORWELL (1903-1950) was born in India and served with the Imperial Police in Burma before joining the Republican Army in the Spanish Civil War. Orwell was the author of six novels as well as numerous essays and nonfiction works.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

149 of 168 people found the following review helpful By B. Alcat on September 15, 2004
Format: Mass Market Paperback
"Animal farm" is to this day one of the best attempts to criticize a totalitarian regime through the means that literature provides: the power of words. George Orwell (1903- 1950) wanted to help others to realize things that for him were evident, and attempted to do so by writing a fable that can easily be read as a satire of the Russian Revolution. Orwell said in an article that "Every line of serious work that I have written since 1936 has been written, directly or indirectly, against totalitarianism and for democratic Socialism, as I understand it. It seems to me nonsense, in a period like our own, to think that one can avoid writing of such subjects. It is simply a question of which side one takes and what approach one follows".

Orwell also pointed out that "Animal Farm was the first book in which I tried, with full consciousness of what I was doing, to fuse political purpose and artistic purpose into one whole". He succeded beyond his wildest expectations, even though at first nobody wanted to publish this work because it was too controversial.

The plot of this book is relatively easy to grasp, and I think that is probably one of the reasons why it is so popular. Some animals decide to take over the conduction of a farm, because they believe there is too much injustice, and that they would improve the situation if they had the power to do so. They make a revolution, and end up evicting Mr. Jones, the owner of the farm. From that moment onwards, the farm is called "Animal farm"...
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343 of 393 people found the following review helpful By Michael Crane on August 1, 2004
Format: Mass Market Paperback
"Animal Farm" by George Orwell was never required reading for me when I was in school, so it took me some time to finally get around to reading it. I found it to be a complete and enjoyable read that had me hooked from the very first sentence. It is an excellent exercise in symbolism and creative imagination. While the book may be a very short read, it brings a whole lot to the table by giving you an interesting take on how history can be reenacted in the most imaginative ways.

The animals on Mr. Jones' farm have had enough of what they deem to be slavery. They're tired of being ordered around by humans while they see no benefits in their daily work. This is all sparked by a dream that the boar, Major, had about a unique place where animals called the shots and never had to be ordered around by humans ever again. He tells them a revolution is very much needed. When Major dies, the animals act quickly and are able to overthrow the alcoholic farmer and his thugs from his very own farm. The pigs are in charge now, as they claim that they are much smarter than the others and know how to lead. What seems to be paradise quickly transforms into another form of slavery altogether enforced by propaganda and threats from the pigs. And yet, the animals do not know any better, as they are deceived by the new system that gives them the illusion that they are better off than they were with Mr. Jones calling the shots.

The book is greatly inspired by real events that went down during the era of communism in Russia, using animals as the actual people. While it helps to know about that time period, the book is written so well that it is easily understood even if you only know a little about what happened during that time.
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123 of 138 people found the following review helpful By Iain McEwan on December 1, 1999
Format: Mass Market Paperback
A quite excellent book and the best political satire I have ever read. Can only be fully appreciated if the reader is familliar with the history of the Russian Revolution. For those who aren't, here is a list of who, or what, I thought the various animals and events represented.
Jones:= The Aristocracy. The Old Major:= Lenin. Napoleon:= Stalin. Snowball:= Trotsky. Squealer:= Beria?. Boxer:= The male Peasants. Dolly:= The female Peasants. The Pigs:= The Communist Party. The Dogs:= The NKVD. The Sheep:= The Army. The Raven:= The Clergy. The Donkey:= The Intellectuals, maybe the Jews. The Windmill:= Stalin's 5 year plans. Frederick`s Farm:= Germany. Pilkington Farm:= The West. The Counterfeit Money:= The Molotov-Rippentrop Pact.
Hope this is useful.
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35 of 37 people found the following review helpful By J. S. Kaminski on March 23, 2003
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Animal Farm is, quite simply, one of the best and most powerful books ever written. I first read it at 12 years of age but couldn't appreciate the author's entire message, not having the requisite knowledge of the Russian Revolution and its aftermath. Reading it again, however, I came to understand and fully appreciate the genius of George Orwell.
Animal Farm is a scathing criticism of Communism, or more specifically, the Communist system of the former USSR. Himself a Socialist, Orwell detested the way in which its ideals were twisted and manipulated by those in power in the USSR, resulting in a terrible fate for the common people.
The story pulls no punches; although Orwell uses the fictional setting of a farm with talking animals, his aim is to expose the reader to the hypocrisy of the Soviet regime. The figure of Josef Stalin is easily identified in the character Napoleon, one of the leaders of the animal rebellion. The leaders were first inspired by Major, an aging boar on the farm who clearly represents Karl Marx. Major had given the farm animals the idea that they should strive for a better life than their current plight . After his death, Napoleon and Snowball, another character representing Vladimir Lenin, lead the overthrow of the human-run farm and establish "Animal Farm." But Napoleon later assumes complete control over the Rebellion, and, as Stalin did, betrays virtually all aims and maxims originally put forth by the rebellion founders. The story ends with the common farm animals in a far worse state of affairs than when the story began.
Orwell used his "fairy story," published in 1945, to remind people of the dangers of Soviet Russia, and to differentiate it from the idea of Socialism.
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