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Animal Farm [Paperback]

George Orwell
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (382 customer reviews)
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Book Description

3 July 2008

Animal Farm, by George Orwell - author of 1984, one of Britain's most popular novels - is a brilliant political satire and a powerful and affecting story of revolutions and idealism, power and corruption.

'All animals are equal. But some animals are more equal than others.'

Mr Jones of Manor Farm is so lazy and drunken that one day he forgets to feed his livestock. The ensuing rebellion under the leadership of the pigs Napoleon and Snowball leads to the animals taking over the farm. Vowing to eliminate the terrible inequities of the farmyard, the renamed Animal Farm is organised to benefit all who walk on four legs. But as time passes, the ideals of the rebellion are corrupted, then forgotten. And something new and unexpected emerges. . .

Animal Farm - the history of a revolution that went wrong - is George Orwell's brilliant satire on the corrupting influence of power.

'Remains our great satire of the darker face of modern history' Malcolm Bradbury

'Animal Farm has seen off all the opposition. It's as valid as today as it was fifty years ago' Ralph Steadman

George Orwell (Eric Arthur Blair) was an accomplished social, political and literary commentator and essayist known for his non-fiction works The Road to Wigan Pier and Homage to Catalonia. His most famous novels, Animal Farm and 1984 have influenced a generation of twentieth century political satirists and dystopian novelists. Animal Farm received the W. H. Smith and Penguin Books Great Reads of the century award in 1995; this edition of Orwell's seminal novella is introduced by Professor Peter Davidson.


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Product details

  • Paperback: 112 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin (3 July 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0141036133
  • ISBN-13: 978-0141036137
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 10.8 x 17.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (382 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 52,400 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

George Orwell is one of England's most famous writers and social commentators. Among his works are the classic political satire Animal Farm and the dystopian nightmare vision Nineteen Eighty-Four. Orwell was also a prolific essayist, and it is for these works that he was perhaps best known during his lifetime. They include Why I Write and Politics and the English Language. His writing is at once insightful, poignant and entertaining, and continues to be read widely all over the world.

Eric Arthur Blair (George Orwell) was born in 1903 in India, where his father worked for the Civil Service. The family moved to England in 1907 and in 1917 Orwell entered Eton, where he contributed regularly to the various college magazines. From 1922 to 1927 he served with the Indian Imperial Police in Burma, an experience that inspired his first novel, Burmese Days (1934). Several years of poverty followed. He lived in Paris for two years before returning to England, where he worked successively as a private tutor, schoolteacher and bookshop assistant, and contributed reviews and articles to a number of periodicals. Down and Out in Paris and London was published in 1933. In 1936 he was commissioned by Victor Gollancz to visit areas of mass unemployment in Lancashire and Yorkshire, and The Road to Wigan Pier (1937) is a powerful description of the poverty he saw there.

At the end of 1936 Orwell went to Spain to fight for the Republicans and was wounded. Homage to Catalonia is his account of the civil war. He was admitted to a sanatorium in 1938 and from then on was never fully fit. He spent six months in Morocco and there wrote Coming Up for Air. During the Second World War he served in the Home Guard and worked for the BBC Eastern Service from 1941 to 1943. As literary editor of the Tribune he contributed a regular page of political and literary commentary, and he also wrote for the Observer and later for the Manchester Evening News. His unique political allegory, Animal Farm was published in 1945, and it was this novel, together with Nineteen Eighty-Four (1949), which brought him world-wide fame.

It was around this time that Orwell's unique political allegory Animal Farm (1945) was published. The novel is recognised as a classic of modern political satire and is simultaneously an engaging story and convincing allegory. It was this novel, together with Nineteen Eighty-Four (1949), which finally brought him world-wide fame. Nineteen Eighty-Four's ominous depiction of a repressive, totalitarian regime shocked contemporary readers, but ensures that the book remains perhaps the preeminent dystopian novel of modern literature.

Orwell's fiercely moral writing has consistently struck a chord with each passing generation. The intense honesty and insight of his essays and non-fiction made Orwell one of the foremost social commentators of his age. Added to this, his ability to construct elaborately imaginative fictional worlds, which he imbued with this acute sense of morality, has undoubtedly assured his contemporary and future relevance.

George Orwell died in London in January 1950.

Product Description

Amazon Review

Since its publication in 1946, George Orwell's fable of a workers' revolution gone wrong has been recognized as a classic of modern political satire. Fuelled 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.

Review

It is the book for everyone and Everyman, its brightness undimmed after fifty years (Ruth Rendell)

'Animal Farm is a timeless satire on the central tragi-comedy of all politics-that is, the tragi-comedy of corruption by power' Timothy Garton Ash

Animal Farm has seen off all the opposition. It's as valid today as it was fifty years ago (Ralph Steadman)

Remains our great satire of the darker face of modern history (Malcolm Bradbury)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Four legs good two legs bad 18 Jun 2009
Format:Paperback
Understated masterpiece from a very English writer, George Orwell's satire on the hypocrisy of communism is truly a timeless classic. This is an overused phrase, but with its allegorical nature and simple style, this is novella that is accessible to readers of any level, not just the GCSE students for whom it has been an exam text for as long as I can remember.

Both tragic and at times comic, Animal Farm isn't subtle, but it uses a classic English rural set up, recognizable to any child, to paint a picture of a society that starts out with good intentions but which eventually lapses into degeneracy and inequality. Not quite as topical today as when it was written, the story still resonates and could be applied to societies from West Africa to Central Europe. As a warning against the follies of complacency and the dangers of corruption, it could even be held up to today's British politicians, themselves in danger of drowning in their own excesses and greed.
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92 of 100 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant piece of bitter political satire. 12 Dec 2000
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
Since its publication in 1946 Animal Farm has been hailed as one of the most influential pieces of fictional political writing in the twentieth century, an accolade that the novel thoroughly deserves. The first time I read it was as an A Level student studying the Russian Revolution. I was amazed at how simply but effectively Orwell delivered such a powerful message. In a career spanning many brilliant works, including Nineteen Eighty-Four, The Road To Wigan Pier and Coming Up For Air, this is quite simply one of his best. The book centres around the themes of revolution and how communist ideals of justice and equality give way to totalitarianism. Using a farm and its inhabitants to represent the places and main characters of the time, it tells the story of the Russian Bolshevik revolution. Orwell explores the evils of power, money, propaganda and terror to bring us a shocking tale of greed and tyranny.
The story revolves around a group of mistreated farm animals who fight for control of their home. The farm's prize pig, Old Major, insights revolution when he tells all the animals of a dream he had about how "the Earth will be when Man has vanished." The animals confront their exploitative human owners and force them out of Manor Farm. They then set up their own society renaming it "Animal Farm". A new set of laws they are to abide by is then decided on and these are written as seven commandments, the most important being that "all animals are equal." Unfortunately this commandment is the first to go when Old Major dies and the intelligent Pigs take over. The new leaders succumb to the temptations that power provides and become dictators of the farm.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Now more relevant than ever 6 July 2000
Format:Paperback
On a long cross-country car kourney I cam across a battered copy of this classic work and decided to re-read it for the first time in years. I was glad I did, as it is a book containing hidden depths and with a powerful message warning of the perils of dicing with socialism.
The book centres around a revolt by the animals of 'Manor Farm' against their human oppressors. As the revolution, initially a great success proceeds, the fruits of it are gradually shared on a less equal basis, with the Pigs essentially taking over the pre-eminent roles vacated by the men at the start of the book.
So why does a childish allegory merit so big a score? The about is that it shows the fate of any society unfortunate enough to fall victim to a Socialist revolution - what seems to be 'equality' for all soon becomes a tyranny as unappealing as that which went before. The characters of Napoleon (the head of the revolution) and Old Benjamin ( the only animal with sufficient wisdom to see through the facade) are two very powerful pieces of charaterisation. Perhaps the most tragic of all is Boxer the horse, an animal of limited intelligence who comes to a sad end amidst the crocodile tears of those who led the revolution.
For those who enjoy a good yarn, you will find an entertaining tale here - for those interested in reading one of those siren voices who act as a constant warning about the malign consequences of socialism - this is essential reading from a great author. The first reviewer here obviously found the home truths contained within the book's pages a little unpalatable. See why - read this.
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30 of 33 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A fable/childrens story about betrayal 21 April 2009
By Lark TOP 1000 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback
This is a fable or childrens story conceived by George Orwell when he saw a small boy driving a large horse along a road, Orwell felt that if the horse could only comprehend that it was more powerful than the boy it would do its own thing instead of his bidding.

On Animal Farm is the story of how different farm yard animals unite following an enlightenment about their fate and oppression. The animals agree to an egalitarian and "share and share alike" constitution by which to govern their new arrangements while defending themselves from the expelled farmer's attempts to re-establish the old ways of doing business.

The constitution is inscribed for all to see with "All Animals Are Equal" leading the list, slowly as the farm yards pigs rise to assume the position of leaders they abandon each of these value statements, radically revising them to justify a return to the old ways of doing business which characterised the original farmer who they threw out.

Like his other books Orwell was disappointed in his own lifetime with how the books where received and interpreted, of Animal Farm which he described as a "simple fable" Orwell stated if its simple message about betrayal where not understood then the book had been a failure.

This is an important point because Orwell had dedicated his energies to making political writing an art form (consider Penguin Great Ideas : Why I Write). In his time, and since, Animal Farm has been seen as a devastating criticism of egalitarianism, flawed values and even of the very hopes and optimism which give rise to change of government, particularly by revolution, like a cynical or conservative text book.
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