Animal Farm
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Product Description

(Book Jacket Status: Jacketed)

Animal Farm is the most famous by far of all twentieth-century political allegories. Its account of a group of barnyard animals who revolt against their vicious human master, only to submit to a tyranny erected by their own kind, can fairly be said to have become a universal drama. Orwell is one of the very few modern satirists comparable to Jonathan Swift in power, artistry, and moral authority; in animal farm his spare prose and the logic of his dark comedy brilliantly highlight his stark message.

Taking as his starting point the betrayed promise of the Russian Revolution, Orwell lays out a vision that, in its bitter wisdom, gives us the clearest understanding we possess of the possible consequences of our social and political acts.


From the Hardcover edition.

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

Customer Reviews:

  • Power corrupts, but absolute power corrupts absolutely...
    The animals of Manor Farm stage a revolution against Farmer Jones and the humans that run the farm. They are successful, rename the farm Animal Farm, and decide to work together for themselves and be free of humans forever. For awhile, everything goes as planned, but little by little greed and the love of power corrupt Napolean, the pig that everyone looks up to as leader, and things begin to change.

    "Power corrupts, but absolute power corrupts absolutely". I don't remember who said this, but George Orwell definitely managed to get that point across in Animal Farm. I think everyone should read this book at least once....more info
  • How to Avoid the Glue Factory
    With thousands of reviews of Animal Farm in the press since 1945, Amazon with over 1,187 as of today, it's hard to find something extra to say. With Soviet era Communism in his cross-hairs first, with particular disdain for Stalinism, and the danger of totalitarian regimes in general, George Orwell was and will remain one of the greatest political yarn spinners for generations to come.

    Concealing his hatred of Communism, not Socialism, with humor and perhaps the most poignant political moment in history, when we realize that Boxer is headed to the glue factory and not to the promised green pastures for his retirement, we understand the true nature and lethal danger of totalitarian politics left unchecked.

    Most who read Animal Farm will look quickly to the farms and the characters as representations of life in post-revolution communist Russia under Stalin. Perhaps they will expand the political commentary to include more modern totalitarian regimes, as well they should. But, Orwell's greatest contribution is not the recasting of Stalin's absolute abuse of his power, but the way in which the people, the masses, were lead down the absolute wrong path by the subtle manipulation of ideas. Animal Farm is more than a denunciation of a political system it is a call to the literacy, political awareness, and participation one must have in any political system in order to avoid the inevitable corruption of power. A must and continuous read....more info
  • Classic
    Before reviewing the content, let the reader beware that this novel is competely allegorical and SHOULD NOT BE READ WITHOUT PROPER AQUAINTANCE WITH THE HISTORY OF THE USSR. That being said, I read, prior to rereading this work, Ronal Grigory Suny's works on the USSR, which were a bit thick (over 500 pages each). This is necessary for a proper appreciation of the work. Every character is representative of a historical personality. If you don't know who Molotov, Stalin, Trotsky, Hitler, Nicholas II, Stakhanovites and Pravda are, then you should find out BEFORE reading this work to properly enjoy it. If you read the book for a moral message, you miss a major point of the work; you can get the moral message "Don't become what you hate" through reading any other book without these allusions. This entire novel is built off of allegory.

    Now, that being said, there are a few flaws that need to be discussed. Orwell treatment of the USSR can be simple and bias, and its unfortunate. He is at least accurate in depicting the accuracy in the rise of literacy of the Soviet peoples, but his treatment of such a complex subject in a 90 page fable isn't going to be comprehensive. Still, there is demonization at work to quite an extent, and it must be realized that READING THIS BOOK WILL NOT MAKE YOU AN EXPERT IN SOCIALISM.

    Some of the introductory comments were extremely irritating. The notion that the collapse of the USSR was "unavoidable," that the USSR hardly did anything good for the Soviet people and the idiotic analysis of Hitler's invasion of the USSR was seriously irritating. If you aren't a history fanatic you will miss these points, but seriously, COMMUNISM IS NOT RED FASCISM. ...more info
  • Orwell is always and will forever be relevant.
    Everything Orwell wrote remains meaningful (with perhaps the exception of some of his essays). It bothers me a little that the one star review of this book was written by a kid who was forced to read this book in 9th grade; however, I understand. No one is going to like a book they are forced to read, but in the larger picture of the human condition and the social order Orwell is as important as Shakespeare in terms of far reaching themes and ideas. Also, given that the United States has been in a kind of Pre-Enlightenment holding patteren culturally and politically fot the past 20 to 30 years one would be worse off for having not read Orwell....more info
  • Product & vendor review
    The book was in better condition than expected. The seller went above and beyond to accommodate us as well. Great experience!...more info
  • Overrated
    This is supposed to be some literary masterpiece, but I think it is pretty bland and unoriginal. Obviously, it is symbolic of society falling apart under a corrupt government(Communism), and the author uses animals as the characters in order to compare them to humans behaving like animals. That is really all there is to it, and, as I said, the symbolism is very obvious. It doesn't take a genius to figure out what the author is trying to say becuase he spells it out for you. The story itself is boring, lifeless and dispassionate. The animal characters have no sense of unique identity. It is just another story created for someone to get on a soapbox. ...more info
  • Overrated
    This is supposed to be some literary masterpiece, but I think it is pretty bland and unoriginal. Obviously, it is symbolic of society falling apart under a corrupt government(Communism), and the author uses animals as the characters in order to compare them to humans behaving like animals. That is really all there is to it, and, as I said, the symbolism is very obvious. It doesn't take a genius to figure out what the author is trying to say becuase he spells it out for you. The story itself is boring, lifeless and dispassionate. The animal characters have no sense of unique identity. It is just another story created for someone to get on a soapbox. ...more info
  • Succinct reality
    Perhaps there will never be a criticism of totalistic state as Orwell has made in writing this thinly veiled criticism of the former Soviet Union.

    The reality of the imagery is palpable from the start. A pig representing the ruling class (Including one named "Trotter" a reference to Trotsky). Guard dogs acting as guards and terrorizing the populace while the ruling pigs change the rules to their own benefit while depriving the working class of their animal rights at their whim. This work is pure genius and if you haven't read it since seventh grade, do yourself a favor and give it another look.

    Orwell has created a masterpiece that will endure through the ages, except perhaps where it is needed most, totalitarian states.

    Francis J. O'Reilly...more info
  • Great Book - Get it from the Library
    Loved the book. Breezed right through it in one sitting, as this is not a hefty tome by any means.
    My only issue is with the edition itself. The only reservation I have now, is I just spent $10 on a book that's a mere 100 someodd pages, and was read up in a couple hours. I don't think I realised how short it was when I ordered it. I question why the cover price is so high on such a thin book.
    I'd have been better served checking it out of the library at that price....more info
  • a classic in the truest sense
    I read this over 20 years ago in highschool and loved it then. Reading it again now...I still loved it. This is such a great book for young minds. Not only to learn the sense of communism, rebellion, fear and tyranny but also to fall in love with symbolsm. This little book with so few pages and words is filled to the brim with symbolic moments and matter. It is timeless....more info
  • Manor Farm to Animal Farm (and Back Again)
    I enjoyed this book when I read it in high school, but at the time I thought it was a satire of communism in general. After a recent second reading, however, I believe Animal Farm isn't a criticism of leftist thought so much as a charming (but ruthless) satire of the USSR in particular. In fact, to me the book ultimately makes the point that, if revolutions are to succeed and tyranny is to be avoided, the people must learn to chuck their new leaders as soon as the revolution has been accomplished, otherwise the result is totalitarianism (as Orwell himself put it).

    So it wasn't the revolution or the initial principles of "animalism" that Orwell was warning against...it was the fact that the revolutionary leaders inevitably abused their power, manipulated information, rewrote history, and perverted the principles underpinning the revolution until the animal regime was far more brutal and oppresive than Farmer Jones had been. (It helps to remember here that Orwell was a self-described democratic socialist.) But in the final analysis, I believe Animal Farm has a broader application: it seems to suggest that this kind of thing could happen under any political system if power goes unchecked or unmonitored for too long. Highly Recommended....more info
  • Great Book - Get it from the Library
    Loved the book. Breezed right through it in one sitting, as this is not a hefty tome by any means.
    My only issue is with the edition itself. The only reservation I have now, is I just spent $10 on a book that's a mere 100 someodd pages, and was read up in a couple hours. I don't think I realised how short it was when I ordered it. I question why the cover price is so high on such a thin book.
    I'd have been better served checking it out of the library at that price....more info
  • Napoleon is always right
    "Napoleon is always right." What does this mean? Napoleon's the chief pig, and it's the pigs who in the aftermath of revolution become the overseers of Animal Farm. A new flag is raised, and the fledging comrades begin to remake their farm into what they want it to be. That it derails horribly is something which they learn too slow and too late. A lesson from history....more info
  • classic contribution
    Definitely a piece of its time. When I first read this its effect was like that of a children's tale not because of the animal characters but because children's tales have a dark moral built into them to warn children not to talk to strangers or to go to strange places by themselves. I could picture the readers of its time feeling very much cowed (pardon the pun) into the kind of thinking that perhaps led to the hardening of the cold war. Today, the value of this piece is akin to say, an impressionist painting by what they have contributed to their respective fields. ...more info
  • great book
    Oh the horror! This book is a truly great depiction of why Communism Only works IN THEORY and not in reality. People and apparently animals too get deranged with power! Talk about animal instincts!...more info
  • Collectivism Exposed
    As current today as it was when written. An expose on elitism, collectivism, socialism, communism, and any other "-ism" whose desire is to control the "masses"....more info
  • The Russian Revolution
    Animal Farm is a classic novel written by one of the most prolific authors of the 20th century, George Orwell. The book is written as fiction, but essentially it's not. If you wish to understand Orwell's mind read this work, which is disguised as a tale, as true history. This outstanding title is written in such a concise and brilliant manner that it deserves to be remembered by all future generations.

    Now I want to briefly summarize the work itself. It is about the Russian Revolution of 1917. On one of the farms in England animals decide to orchestrate a revolt against their owner. All the infamous characters of those tumultuous times - Vladimir Lenin, Joseph Stalin, Leon Trotsky, Russian secret police - are here ingenuously depicted. Orwell the literary mastermind had decided to portray the Bolshevik bureaucrats as pigs, which was unbelievably accurate. The oldest pig (Lenin) on the farm had incited all the others to rebel against the `oppressive' regime, and then he died. The animals carried out the plan and gained their `independence'. Eventually the farm animals (common people) granted the pigs (Bolsheviks) absolute power. However, one of the pigs (Stalin), who yearned to be the ultimate ruler, purged the other pig (Trotsky) and started to spread propaganda about him. The former became a dictator and the latter was detested by everyone, because the wicked lies about him were believed.

    Years passed and the whole farm began to decline, economically and psychologically. All the animals started to realize that life was better before the revolution (during the Tsarist Russia). Meanwhile, the pigs behaved like pigs: retaining dogs (Cheka, Russian secret police of those times) as personal bodyguard, changing the constitution whenever it suited them, and having business relations with people, which was one of the most horrendous violations of their fundamental principles. The author delivered his thorough design until the very last sentence: when the pigs and humans were playing cards, a dispute erupted, and while they were screaming at each other their faces contorted so much that it was impossible to tell them apart.

    As has become obvious by now I highly recommend this book. But once again, read it as one of the genuine versions of the Russian Revolution and the beginning of the Bolshevik tyranny.

    Good day.
    ...more info
  • Some Animals Are More Equal Than Others
    This is not a child's book, but can be read and enjoyed by children.

    The longer you've been around -and experienced power hungry and corrupt politicians and governments - the more you will enjoy Animal Farm.

    (For fun, read the book then try to guess what chapter we are in with our current government)...more info
  • Why Communism/Socialism has not worked ... yet
    This classic fable about the dangers of communism, which I read back in high school, still resonates with me today -- especially in an economy where socialism (in theory) seems like an attractive alternative to the dog-eat-dog world of capitalism. However, the age-old suggestion that "absolute power corrupts absolutely" applies even in an alleged egalitarian society, where some form of bureaucracy is needed to "ensure the fair distribution of resources."

    As Napoleon the sheep said, "All animals are created equal, but some animals are more equal than others." One of our country's founding fathers also uttered the first phrase, but might as well have made the entire statement. I pray that our human race will someday evolve into an animal that regards the survival of the entire species (and planet) to be more important than individual immortality....more info
  • I see why this is a classic.
    I see why this book is such a classic! It is so short, I'd call it a short story rather than a novel. It is a quick read, and very hard to put down. I highly recommend this book....more info
  • Timeless English Classic
    Is there anything new that can be said about Animal Farm? No, it is simply too well established, too engrained in the English psyche, and has been too scrutinized and dissected...but all this with good reason. It is a terrific example of what a great book can be; brief and to the point, eloquent, relevant, and above all entertaining. Appealing to readers of all ages, it teaches an important lesson about totalitarianism, and even begs the questions - will totalitarianism and despotism always exist, in some form? The book seems to insist that it will, and caution against it, much the same as 1984, but one cant help but smile that it is all happening to a group of animals on a farm...
    The Centennial edition contains a good amount of additional material, and can help the casual reader gain insight into Orwell's intentions, the parallels with the Russian revolution, ect. I especially enjoyed the forward by Ann Patchett. A timeless classic, and one that could be read in a single sitting, but will stay with you for a long time....more info
  • It still rings true for our future
    Even though the book parallels the Russian Revolution, the message still compares with our nations today. If you haven't read this book before, this will be an eyeopener. Orwell makes his point and sticks it to you because he uses the animals as an example of what could potentially happen. ...more info
  • Double Check Editions before purchase
    BE VERY CAREFUL to check editions, etc. Looking for the actual book and this came up through a link of editions. Since had previously been on hardback or collector's edition, made mistake of not realizing authors, etc that Is actually a guide to the book, not the book itself. If not familiar with Literature Made Easy Series, it's how to read the book and goes through themes, etc. ...more info
  • Succinct reality
    Perhaps there will never be a criticism of totalistic state as Orwell has made in writing this thinly veiled criticism of the former Soviet Union.

    The reality of the imagery is palpable from the start. A pig representing the ruling class (Including one named "Trotter" a reference to Trotsky). Guard dogs acting as guards and terrorizing the populace while the ruling pigs change the rules to their own benefit while depriving the working class of their animal rights at their whim. This work is pure genius and if you haven't read it since seventh grade, do yourself a favor and give it another look.

    Orwell has created a masterpiece that will endure through the ages, except perhaps where it is needed most, totalitarian states.

    Francis J. O'Reilly...more info
  • Napoleon is always right
    "Napoleon is always right." What does this mean? Napoleon's the chief pig, and it's the pigs who in the aftermath of revolution become the overseers of Animal Farm. A new flag is raised, and the fledging comrades begin to remake their farm into what they want it to be. That it derails horribly is something which they learn too slow and too late. A lesson from history....more info