- Paperback: 249 pages
- Publisher: Simon & Schuster; Reissue edition (January 10, 2012)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1451673310
- ISBN-13: 978-1451673319
- Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.9 x 8.4 inches
- Shipping Weight: 6.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 3,402 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #27 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Fahrenheit 451 Paperback – January 10, 2012
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“Brilliant . . . Startling and ingenious . . . Mr. Bradbury’s account of this insane world, which bears many alarming resemblances to our own, is fascinating.” —Orville Prescott, The New York Times
“A masterpiece . . . A glorious American classic everyone should read: It’s life-changing if you read it as a teen, and still stunning when you reread it as an adult.” —Alice Hoffman, The Boston Globe
“The sheer lift and power of a truly original imagination exhilarates . . . His is a very great and unusual talent.” —Christopher Isherwood, Tomorrow
“One of this country’s most beloved writers . . . A great storyteller, sometimes even a mythmaker, a true American classic.” —Michael Dirda, The Washington Post
About the Author
Ray Bradbury (1920–2012) was the author of more than three dozen books, including Fahrenheit 451, The Martian Chronicles, The Illustrated Man, and Something Wicked This Way Comes, as well as hundreds of short stories. He wrote for the theater, cinema, and TV, including the screenplay for John Huston’s Moby Dick and the Emmy Award–winning teleplay The Halloween Tree, and adapted for television sixty-five of his stories for The Ray Bradbury Theater. He was the recipient of the 2000 National Book Foundation’s Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters, the 2007 Pulitzer Prize Special Citation, and numerous other honors.
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The most surprising thing about Fahrenheit 451 is that it's premise could, in the hands of a lesser writer, easily turn a condescending little lesson about the importance of reading books. But like any work of art that would be missed if it was burned, Fahrenheit 451 doesn't want to give you answers. The book wants you to ask questions.
The main point for me is not that books are burned. That is only the most dramatic side of something bigger: that society allows them to be burned, and that no one is interested in reading in the first place. The only sources of distraction for the denizens of Fahrenheit 451 are sports or soap operas in televisions the size of entire walls. The speed of television does not allow you to stop and think, just swallow that entertainment loaf. From this insipid entertainment are born people who literally talk to the walls and a society unable to question.
Montag's wife, Mildred is one example. She can't talk about anything other than the soaps or what threatens her financial security. She is a cattle-person, described as having an invisible cataract behind her pupils, afraid of anything different, incapable of thinking or feeling without directions from the TV or authorities. Montag discovers how they can't connect to one another because in the end they don't know their own history. And without that knowledge you can't even know who you are, or what you want.
Today is 2015, and the society described in Fahrenheit 451 seems even more palpable than when the book was written in 1953. The internet shortens our attention span towards shorter and simpler texts and videos. More than ever we more intelligent - we have access to an ocean of information literally at our finger tips - but we are not wise. We don't know what to do with our information.
And we have no memory. The social media timelines dictate the discussion of the day, what funny video is trending, what news we should be disgusted with, what meme will be the big joke for a day or two before it is once again forgotten. Fahrenheit 451 even reminds us of the "mass society judgments" that lead to self-censorship.
I believe reading is fundamentally important for wisdom, more than any other art form. Reading is solitary work. It demands silence, and to let your ideas absorb the author's, contest them, accept or adapt. Fahrenheit 451 says that you can't make others think, but I believe it comes with a good recipe for wisdom: "Number one, like I said, is quality of information. Number two: time to digest. And number three: the right to conduct your actions based on what we learn from the two previous items."
I purchased this edition of Fahrenheit 451 (white cover with red text, book pages & heart on fire) to preview in the hopes I could save my students some money this year. It was a huge mistake. This edition is a disaster -- full of the most ridiculous errors. One humorous travesty occurs on the first page where the title of Part I (The Hearth and the Salamander) is missing and in its place, the title reads "It was a pleasure to burn it," which Fahrenheit fans will instantly recognize as the novel's famous first line -- almost. The first sentence then reads, "Was a special pleasure to see things eaten, to see things blackened and changed?" Apparently, not knowing what to do with the subjectless second sentence after misplacing "it" at the end of the first, these editors (if you can find it in yourself to call them that) decided the solution was to turn the statement into a question. DON'T WASTE YOUR MONEY.
by Ray Bradbury
Rating: **** (4 stars)
Book length: 227 pages
Genre: Science Fiction
Is there still any value in books? We can access information just by speaking into a phone. We can turn on a television set and know that is happening anywhere in the world.
Is there still any value in education? Why learn when you can utilize technology to do anything you need it to do? Is there any value for going to school to study art, English, or any other humanities?
In Bradbury's world books were no longer seen to be of value. They were corrupting the minds. Schools were no longer interesting. There were more important things to pursue.
At nights boys drove their cars around hitting people on purpose, and firefighters found hidden books and burnt them. Both are possible outcomes when education is longer valued and individuals are expected to conform to a set mind and be lulled into complacency by drugs and worthless entertainment.
Except not everyone can stop thinking for themselves. Once you get a thought you cannot un-think it. Once you learn to think for yourself you can no longer go back to the masses.
That is the brilliant plot for Ray Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451.
Ray Bradbury is an amazing writer. The way he puts together words is poetic. The ideas and concepts behind those words are thought provoking. Yet, the actual execution tends to fall short.
I absolutely hated the ending in this book. It ends with a belief that what is right will eventually even out. It believes society will work like the law of averages. You can only be ignorant for so long before intelligence will again start being valued. Since it will happen eventually we should just wander around doing absolutely nothing waiting for generations to pass so that eventually their will be change. For good measure we should also blow up the entire city leaving only the main character alive. Although, until that point I actually thought the war was all an elaborate lie.
I love Bradbury. I love his ideas and concepts. I love the way he puts words together. I can sit and listen to someone read one of his stories and be entranced. Yet, there is always something that doesn't make any sense. If Bradbury doesn't think that people would fight back, then I question his understanding of human nature.
Still you should read anything and everything by Bradbury. Any book that evokes this much passion must be read!
As published on The Book Recluse Review
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