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We Mass Market Paperback – August 1, 1983

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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Harper Voyager; Reprint edition (August 1, 1983)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0380633132
  • ISBN-13: 978-0380633135
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 0.6 x 6.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (100 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #48,779 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


"Fantastic." -- The New York Times

"One of the best!" -- New York Review of Books

"WE is one of the great novels of the twentieth century." -- Irving Howe

Language Notes

Text: English, Russian (translation) --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Customer Reviews

This book inspired 1984 and Brave New World.
Zamyatin creates a One State society in his novel "We", where everyone and everything is for Benefactor's sake and for the "happiness" of the citizens.
Jakey D
The influence of this novel cannot be overstated in the political history of the world and in the science fiction genre.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

177 of 189 people found the following review helpful By M. B. Alcat on August 9, 2004
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Yevgeny Zamyatin (1884-1937) wrote "We" in 1920, in an URSS that was just beginning to show its true nature. He was able to observe at first hand the consequences of the expansion of the State and the Party, and the corresponding erosion of the value of the individual. The author called "We" his "most jesting and most serious work", and I think the reader will be able to appreciate both aspects of this peculiar book.

This novel takes place in the future, where the One State is ruled by the great Benefactor, and separated from the rest of the world by a Great Wall, that doesn't allow the outside world to "contaminate" it. The citizens of the One State aren't persons but merely numbers. They have almost no privacy, due to the fact that most things are made of a material similar to glass but much more resistant. In any case that isn't a problem, because as everybody does the same things at the same time, nobody has much to hide.

The One State begins to build a spaceship, the "Integral", that will be used to conquer other worlds and show them to be happy, in the way the citizens of the One State are happy. But how exactly are they happy?. Well, they have a rational happiness that can be mathematically proved. To mantain that happiness, they must always follow some rules. For example, there is no place for spontaneity in the One State. Imagination is considered a disease, and all art and poetry must be at the service of the State. The function of poetry is clear: "Today, poetry is no longer the idle, impudent whistling of a nightingale; poetry is civic service, poetry is useful".
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38 of 40 people found the following review helpful By R. D. Allison (dallison@biochem.med.ufl.edu) on May 21, 1999
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This novel (the edition I read was a translation from the Russian by Mirra Ginsberg in 1972) is an excellent satire by Yevgeny Zamiatin (or, Zamyatin). Reading it, I find it remarkable that Zamiatin was not sent to Siberia or executed in one of the many purges occurring in the Soviet Union at that time. Apparently, the book was never published in the Soviet Union. It appeared first in English in 1924 (and obviously had a major influence in the development of Orwell's "Nineteen Eighty-Four") and then in Czech in 1927. The Soviet authorities began to put pressure on the author through the Writers' Union and, probably due to the help of Maxim Gorky, Zamiatin was allowed to leave for Paris in 1931 (he died in Paris in 1937). The story is an extrapolation of a totalitarian world. The population of Earth that have survived a 200-years war find themselves members of a single state (the One State) where imagination is considered a disease. In this society the individual does not count, only the multitude. The central character is D-503 (all the inhabitants are numbers in this State), a mathematician who is building a space ship to bring their "perfect" world and culture to others. The whole novel consists of D-503's journal. However, D-503 soon meets I-330, a woman who shows him that there are numbers in the One State that feel that the State is in error and are striving for a new revolution. He begins to have strong feelings for her. He thinks he is ill but he can't help himself. And, he must keep his feelings hidden from the Guardians, the One State's "protectors." What a terrific "read." I highly recommend it (as well as "1984" and "Brave New World"). As can be seen in the comments by the other reviewers, "We" is a great book to discuss: with respect to politics, history, science fiction, or literature.
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31 of 35 people found the following review helpful By Milos Begovic on February 3, 2001
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Evgeni Zamyatin's novel "We" is often compared to Orwell's "1984" and Huxley's "Brave New World", and rightly so, since it is a strong influence on both (though Huxley of course denied it). "We" is a terrifying vision of a future, in which all aspects of life have been rationally mechanized, according to the best tradition of Taylorism. The residents of OneState have no freedom; instead they have infinite, mathematically proved happiness. "Those two in Paradise were given a choice: freedom without happiness, or happiness without freedom. The fools chose freedom. But we brought them back the chains," says R-13, one of the OneState's chief poets.
This nightmarish vision sheds light on the present, as well. Not necessarily, as is often stated, on the terror of one Stalin. The book was written well before the establishment of the Soviet state, and on an impulse that had long before prompted Zamyatin to write in a similar vein. An earlier novella of his, "Islanders", as well as many of his short stories and plays, all have the same philosophical purpose behind them: to show that the contemporary (at the time) trends in European society, culture and art are leading to a destruction of the individual will and a horrible mechanization of life. A recurrent theme in Zamyatin is the escape from overly-civilized cities, to the freedom of the countryside and of the nature itself. Zamyatin felt, and I would gladly argue that he was absolutely correct, that the modern European civilization gradually limits the scope of the individual's understanding of the world and draws him into a sort of slavery of the spirit.
I recommend "We" to everyone. For the depth of its philosophical stance, for its brilliant structure and wonderful language, this book is clearly superior to either "1984" or "Brave New World", though it is, unfortunately, not nearly as widely recognized.
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