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Brave New World Paperback – 6 Dec 2007

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Product details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage Classics (6 Dec. 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0099518473
  • ISBN-13: 978-0099518471
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 1.8 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (350 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 338 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

"It is impossible to read Brave New World without being impressed by Huxley's eerie glimpses into the present" (New Statesman)

"The 20th century could be seen as a race between two versions of man-made hell - the jackbooted state totalitarianism of Orwell's Nineteen Eight-Four, and the hedonistic ersatz paradise of Brave New World, where absolutely everything is a consumer good and human beings are engineered to be happy" (Margaret Atwood Guardian)

"Aldous Huxley was uncannily prophetic, a more astute guide to the future than any other 20th century novelist ... Nineteen Eighty-Four has never really arrived, but Brave New World is around us everywhere" (JG Ballard)

"A brilliant tour de force, Brave New World may be read as a grave warning of the pitfalls that await uncontrolled scientific advance. Full of barbed wit and malice-spiked frankness. Provoking, stimulating, shocking and dazzling" (Observer)

"What Aldous Huxley presented as fiction with the human hatcheries of Brave New World has become fact. The consequences are profound and, if we don't get it right, deeply disturbing" (John Humphrys Sunday Times)

Book Description

One of the most important novels of the twentieth century is also witty, thrilling and uncannily prophetic - read it today

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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

23 of 24 people found the following review helpful By M. Torun on 4 July 2007
Format: Paperback
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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145 of 154 people found the following review helpful By Michael de Waal on 3 Oct. 2005
Format: Paperback
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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98 of 105 people found the following review helpful By hendrix on 11 April 2009
Format: Paperback
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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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By FictionFreak on 12 Aug. 2007
Format: Paperback
I only gave this 4 stars because in the ongoing debate as to which dystopia more closely describes the direction our world is going I have to say George Orwell's 1984 wins out. But that does not mean that this novel is any less of a read than 1984.

Though the grim vision of Orwell's world hold's true today so does much of Huxley's the concept of soma being used to numb the mind, prevent thinking, it exists in our world. Television is our soma, crass news stories of lost cats or who is the father of who's celebrity baby, it's all mind numbing rot. How much longer before babies are created in tubs of gel and people are bred for specific tasks and castes in our societies. Closer than we think I fear.
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