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Animal Farm: Centennial Edition Paperback – May 6, 2003

4.5 out of 5 stars 3,292 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com 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 an alternate 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 the Hardcover edition.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 128 pages
  • Publisher: NAL; Reprint edition (May 6, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0452284244
  • ISBN-13: 978-0452284241
  • Product Dimensions: 5.4 x 0.4 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3,292 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #18,706 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
This is a handsome republication of Orwell's two most renowned works, Animal Farm and 1984. Even if you're just looking for 1984, this edition is to be commended; it comes with a fine introduction by today's leading Orwell enthusiast, Christopher Hitchens, and the reward of including Animal Farm requires very little in the way of additional effort or expense on your part. At 80-odd pages, you may as well pick it up in the same volume, and you're virtually certain to be glad that you did.

I'm not alone in being of a generation that was first required to read Orwell in my student days (Middle School, in my case.) It seems that there was a lot of literature churned out then, accessible to if not directly aimed at children, with the horrors of totalitarianism as its theme. In addition to reading Orwell, we were also reading Huxley, Bradbury, and Verne -- the youth-oriented John Christopher books being yet another example. The generation that lived through Nazism and Stalinism clearly wanted the younger set to be aware of the horrors that could be, and to remain on guard against them.

It doesn't seem to be quite that way anymore. Orwell's name is invoked today, but often in trivializing contexts: "Big Brother" is now a brain-numbing reality show, and "Orwellian" is a convenient and often hysterically-applied charge to political opponents. Some complaceny does seem to be inevitable: we are now further removed from the days when the likes of Hitler and Stalin killed tens of millions. Still, regimes arise that are nearly as horrific on a local scale, from Pol Pot to Saddam Hussein to the Taliban, and are real enough that Orwell's book is no joke.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Because most people will review the actual book(s), which in this case are classics and I feel do not truly need a review, I will review this edition. Having the two in one is useful if you, like me, have not read the two prior to purchase or if you are a fan of both books. They are bound handsomely and the dust jacket is simple and smooth. The introduction is by someone who is obviously enamored with Orwell, and it gives some insight to the work and history of Orwell, though is mostly unecessary as you could probably wikipedia the information. This is a nice edition and I felt it was a good choice for me.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Animal Farm and 1984 are classic literature. You've probably already read them.

This edition presents them in a classic manner -- it is a lovely book, lovely dust jacket, and Christopher Hitchens does the intro. I usually find him funny and a little snarky, but in this intro, he is serious, high-minded, informative, and respectful.

I wanted to read 1984 again, since so many people are kicking around the terms "Orwellian" and "Big Brother" regarding current politics. I'm so glad this is the volume I bought. I know I would have gotten the same *words* in a flimsy paperback, but this was a really nice read.

I read both novels again. It has been... 20 years? Maybe longer since my first read-through. I'm a different reader than I was before.

I've got that grisly Room 101 scene back in my head -- I had forgotten that one. Thanks, Mr. Orwell.

This is a lovely edition. Treat yourself.
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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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