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Brave New World (Harper Perennial Modern Classics) [Paperback]

Aldous Huxley
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (251 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Oct 2006 Harper Perennial Modern Classics
Far in the future, the World Controllers have created the ideal society. Through clever use of genetic engineering, brainwashing and recreational sex and drugs all its members are happy consumers. Bernard Marx seems alone in feeling discontent. Harbouring an unnatural desire for solitude, and a perverse distaste for the pleasures of compulsory promiscuity, Bernard has an ill-defined longing to break free. A visit to one of the few remaining Savage Reservations where the old, imperfect life still continues, may be the cure for his distress-Huxley's ingenious fantasy of the future sheds a blazing light on the present and is considered to be his most enduring masterpiece.
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Product details

  • Paperback: 259 pages
  • Publisher: Non Basic Stock Line; Reprint edition (Oct 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060850523
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060850524
  • Product Dimensions: 20.3 x 13.5 x 2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (251 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 327,932 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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"a fantastical look at the world in the future which made me look differently at the present." (Katie Melua, The Observer) --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Book Description

'One of the most important books to have been published since the war' Daily Telegraph --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
92 of 96 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The future? 11 April 2009
By hendrix
Society really is getting more and more like this.

This is a vision of the future where the population is controlled by subtlety and manipulation, the basic premise being that if people are too doped up to realise that they have been conned by a tiny minority who have everything then that elite can remain in charge for ever.

In Huxley's world the method of control is to program people to indulge only their most transitory and materialistic desires all of which can be fulfilled quite readily and in doing so suppress any idea that there "might be more to life than this" and this leaves the population with happy but trivial lives.

The morality of this is questioned through the introduction of an outsider to the society and his actions form the basis of the plot. To be honest I think the story isn't as involving as the world it is set in but the questions the book raised easily merit this book classic status.

It seems we are getting closer and closer to the kind of happy trivial life that Huxley forced upon his population and if you are inclined to wonder whether or not there is more to life than work and shopping then this book is probably going to be right up your street.
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131 of 137 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Huxley was a great mind. 3 Oct 2005
After years of hearing people refer to Brave New World - both online and in real life - I decided to read it myself and find out just what all the commotion was about. Having done so, I will share my thoughts with you.
The story is set in a future society where humans are no longer born but instead grown from embryos in huge research labs. Years of trial and error has resulted in scientists being able to produce up to 15,000 individuals from a single embryo - all of which end up being twins. Immediately they are conditioned to think and feel and act in certain ways which make society what it should be - happy, stable, strong, and united. As they sleep they are played voice recordings which, to cut a long story short, programme them into what society wants them to be. One of the many recordings being "Everyone belongs to everyone else".
In a time when humans are made in batches, pyshcologically conditioned, mentally and physically matured in a fraction of the natural time, encouraged to participate in 'errotic play' from a young age, given 'soma' (a recreational drug) to cure lows, taught to throw out old/dirty/torn clothes and buy new ones, sheltered from dirt and disease, prevented from ever becoming pregnant, told that everyone belongs to everyone else (in effect everyone has sex with everyone without thinking twice as from a young age this is taught to be perfectly natural), given medicine so that you physically look like a 20 year old all your life until around the age of 50 when you drop dead, after hearing all this you are left with many questions. Questions like 'How could it ever work?', 'What would a society of clones be like?', 'Why on earth did they do it in the first place?', and 'Is everyone truly happy?'.
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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "When the individual feels, the community reels" 4 July 2007
I read this book shortly after reading 1984 - having heard them being compared - and it definitely provided a good contrast. While Orwell's vision is dark, gloomy, filled with hate and despair, Huxley's world could almost be seen as a Utopian fantasy.

There is an overwhelming sense of comfort and "happiness" within society that is brought about through two important things: recreational drugs and psychological conditioning. Death, relationships, class differences and work do not provide worry. This is in fact what makes Huxley's work so brilliant: it portrays a Dystopia that operates so perfectly that it is disquieting rather than frightening. Because society does indeed work for the good of everyone in a hedonistic sense, the logic behind the system can only be challenged by pure human instinct, as voiced by the central character in the book: "But I don't want comfort. I want God, I want poetry, I want real danger, I want freedom, I want goodness. I want sin."

However, although the book brings up excellent questions regarding totalitarianism, and freedom of thought, it is somewhat lacking in story. The characters are very hard to empathise with and although the book starts with a central character, Bernard Marx, the focus shifts then to John ("the Savage"), leaving you with a sense that the novel is written for description rather than story-telling. The reader is able to get a very good mental grasp on the problems within society, but since the story isn't gripping, you finish the book feeling very detached from the characters and the world they live in.
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars More frightening than brave 20 Jan 2004
Upon hearing that Brave New World had been awarded a place in the BBC's Top One-Hundred Books list, I decided to give it a read. I must admit however, that I had some reservations about the novel, since the scientific explanations and extensive technological procedures contained within the story are so frequently referred to. Perhaps this could have been tedious if the book had been lengthier, but as it covers around two hundred and fifty pages it was not at all tiresome - it was fascinating.
Huxley begins the novel by explaining the caste system: "We also predestine and condition. We decant our babies as socialized human beings, as Epsilons or Alphas, as future sewage workers or future world controllers." The lower the caste, the less oxygen administered to the embryo - thus the Epsilons foetuses will receive far less oxygen than the Alphas and grow to be far less intelligent. The mental disabilities of the Epsilons allow them to perform the least desired jobs without questioning why, or desiring a more fulfilling life. The story follows two main characters, Bernard Marx (an Alpha plus male) and John (a 'savage,' who is part of a Native American tribe with Christian beliefs, and therefore grew up without the conditioning or clinical living of the majority of people in Huxley's future). Because the two are as different as can be, the way in which the two men cope with their strange lives makes for enthralling reading.
John, the savage, often quotes Shakespeare and this is where the title of Brave New World originates (Miranda's reunion with her family in Act V of The Tempest). Should inhabitants become unhappy or dissatisfied, an anti-depressant known as 'Soma' is regularly handed out to all. Within the dystopian society, marriage and child bearing no longer exist.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Years ahead of its time
This classic book is excellent, thought provoking and horrific, it was way ahead of it's time when written and in some respects one can see just how plausible the plot is. Read more
Published 2 days ago by Linda Halliday
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Can't believe it has taken me 40 years to read this .....
Published 5 days ago by BHicks
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Excellent services
Published 10 days ago by Crossley
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Still an absolute classic and still worryingly relevant.
Published 11 days ago by B. H. Evans
5.0 out of 5 stars Dystopia at its best - I cannot recommend this book enough
It is uncannily accurate in today's world and eerie too, bearing in mind it was written in 1932. Dystopia at its best - I cannot recommend this book enough.
Published 17 days ago by Calico Pye
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Published 17 days ago by tc350
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Very happy with the product.
Published 21 days ago by jas
5.0 out of 5 stars You may say I'm a dreamer ...
Perhaps not the best writing style in the histoty of literature, but certainly one of the most compelling and visionary stories. Read more
Published 25 days ago by R. Foyle
5.0 out of 5 stars Simply good book
Great book
Published 25 days ago by Marquise
4.0 out of 5 stars It has a place among dystopian stories.
That is a scary future. maybe its peaceful but I would not like to live there unless I was Alfa but even then I am not sure. Read more
Published 26 days ago by pawelgonzalez
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