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Fahrenheit 451 (Flamingo Modern Classics) Paperback – 16 Aug 1999

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Product details

  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Harper Voyager; New Ed edition (4 Aug. 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0006546064
  • ISBN-13: 978-0006546061
  • Product Dimensions: 13 x 1.8 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (295 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 603 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

One of the greatest writers of science fiction and fantasy, Ray Bradbury was born in Waukegan, Illinois in 1920.

He published some 500 short stories, novels, plays and poems since his first story appeared in Weird Tales when he was just twenty years old. Among his many famous works are Fahrenheit 451, The Illustrated Man and The Martian Chronicles.

Product Description

Amazon Review

In Fahrenheit 451, Ray Bradbury's classic, frightening vision of the future, firemen don't put out fires--they start them in order to burn books. Bradbury's vividly painted society holds up the appearance of happiness as the highest goal--a place where trivial information is good, and knowledge and ideas are bad. Fire Captain Beatty explains it this way, "Give the people contests they win by remembering the words to more popular songs.... Don't give them slippery stuff like philosophy or sociology to tie things up with. That way lies melancholy."

Guy Montag is a book-burning fireman undergoing a crisis of faith. His wife spends all day with her television "family", imploring Montag to work harder so that they can afford a fourth TV wall. Their dull, empty life sharply contrasts with that of his next-door neighbour Clarisse, a young girl thrilled by the ideas in books, and more interested in what she can see in the world around her than in the mindless chatter of the tube. When Clarisse disappears mysteriously, Montag is moved to make some changes, and starts hiding books in his home. Eventually, his wife turns him in, and he must answer the call to burn his secret cache of books. After fleeing to avoid arrest, Montag winds up joining an outlaw band of scholars who keep the contents of books in their heads, waiting for the time society will once again need the wisdom of literature.

Bradbury--the author of more than 500 short stories, novels, plays and poems--including The Martian Chroniclesand The Illustrated Man--is the winner of many awards, including the Grand Master Award from the Science Fiction Writers of America. Readers aged 13 to 93 will be swept up in the harrowing suspense of Fahrenheit 451, and no doubt will join the hordes of Bradbury fans worldwide. --Neil Roseman


‘Another indispensible classic’ The Times

‘Fahrenheit 451 is the most skilfully drawn of all science fiction’s conformist hells’
Kingsley Amis

‘Bradbury’s is a very great and unusual talent’
Christopher Isherwood

‘Ray Bradbury has a powerful and mysterious imagination which would undoubtedly earn the respect of Edgar Allen Poe’ Guardian

'It is impossible not to admire the vigour of his prose, similes and metaphors constantly cascading from his imagination' Spectator

'As a science fiction writer, Ray Bradbury has long been streets ahead of anyone else' Daily Telegraph

‘No other writer uses language with greater originality and zest. he seems to be a American Dylan Thomas – with dsicipline’ Sunday Telegraph

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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

40 of 41 people found the following review helpful By Julian Middleton on 14 Nov. 2004
Format: Paperback
It has been said that this short but unforgettable work represents Bradbury's only wholly successful novel. Personally I think Something Wicked This Way Comes is equally grand, and far more typical of its author, but there is no doubt that Fahrenheit 451 finds his narrative skills at their finest: the book drives forward with a clarity and urgency not found in any of Bradbury's other novels. His prophetic and visionary quality ranks alongside Orwell's, combining with paired down and super-efficient prose to create a nightmarish near-future where books are banned and burned upon discovery, and the firemen who destroy them 'custodians of our peace of mind'. Individuality is crushed and the masses satiated by the TV screens that adorn every wall of their living rooms. The protagonist is himself a fireman, until one day he begins reading a book and his world turns upside down. A brilliant and subversive piece of work, Fahrenheit 451 seems more relevent today than when it was written, not least because the world really has become increasingly as Bradbury foresaw. Short enough to be read in a single sitting, the book packs a punch that is never quite forgotten.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By R. A. Davison TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 14 Feb. 2012
Format: Paperback
I enjoy a good dystopian fiction novel, examples of the genre include 1984 by George Orwell, Brave New World by Aldous Huxley, The Handmaids Tale and Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood, which each describe different horrors which might await us. Personally, it is the stories of this type which were written in the past but which project predictive visions of society as we know it today in a way which is both interesting and sinister, that I like most. As an example a personal favourite of mine is the E.M Forster short story 'The Machine Stops' written in 1909 which tells of a nightmare future in which humans depend on communicating with a machine, to work, to live, to listen to music, to travel and to talk to one another. The fascinating thing about this past vision of an oppressive future machine is that it is pretty much home computing as we know it today.

Despite its extremes Fahrenheit 451, written by Bradbury in 1953 is one such novel. The plot follows a character named Guy Montag who is a Fireman, but in Montag's world, Firemen don't put out fires they start them, they start them to burn books that people have hidden in their homes, and to take those hiding literature to prison. Books are banned and so is reading. There is of course the obvious allusion to the countries of post-war Communist Europe in which certain reading materials were banned and arrest for the crime of being an intellectual might occur should you be caught in possession of such literature. Bradbury takes this concept of state controlled reading and takes it a step further to a state were reading of any kind is not tolerated. Bradbury considers the implications for humans as individuals and for society as a whole.
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47 of 50 people found the following review helpful By Michael Crane on 4 Aug. 2004
Format: Paperback
I've been checking out some of the classics that I never gave a chance while in high school, now that I'm a much more aware and mature reader. "Fahrenheit 451" was something I always wanted to read but never got around to it. Well, I have finally read it and the time was very much well spent. Ray Bradbury offers a bleak and dim future where thinking for yourself is against the law.
Guy Montag's life had always been simple. He understood the order of things, and he understood the nature of his job. He was a fireman, and that entailed burning books and burning down the buildings that hid them. He never questioned it once and never felt guilty for what he was doing. Things take a different route when he meets a peculiar girl who asks the tough questions that he has never had to answer. And with those questions, he starts to think and wonder why things are the way they are. Ever since the meeting with this stranger, Montag is curious about the true nature of his job, leading to dangerous revelations that will put his very life in jeopardy.
Bradbury has created a magnificent piece of literature that attacks censorship and the numbing of society head on with no regrets and no remorse. He doesn't need to give us an exact year of this future, as that makes it all the more frightening. Even though this is a work of fiction, it seems so realistic and so possible that all of this could really happen to us. Think about it. We are now a "TV Generation" who spend a lot less time reading, people are trying to ban different types of books for different reasons, and anything that is deemed "unpleasant" is demanded to be "fixed" or "taken care of" so we can all feel happy and not deal with the pain and troubles of life.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Sofia Romualdo on 13 May 2010
Format: Paperback
I have mixed feelings about this book.

The premise is very interesting. Ray Bradbury imagines a world where books are banned, and it's not very difficult to imagine this world actually coming to life. After all, books weren't banned from one moment to another - people gradually lost interest in them, in favor of other, more immediate forms of entertainment, that didn't challenge them emotionally or intellectually, and, therefore, apparently made their life much easier. Television, colors, fast cars, sports, all that was important was the fun. And, like Beatty, the firemen captain in the book, says, books are full of controversy, they don't agree with each other, they don't provide answers, they're not real, they take too long, they're too complicated and controversial. Gradually, people started rejecting them, and eventually they became outlawed because of the perceived unrest they caused.

It's really interesting to read about the difference books made in the life of the main character (although we realize, by the end of the book, that books are only a symbol, and the problem runs much deeper than the simple burning of books). And it's not hard to make a few analogies between the society that's described in the book and our own society (something about snippet-sized bits of fast, thoughtless entertainment rings a bell). That alone is chilling and makes one think, "What if?". Like all good books, this one raises questions, providing food for thought for us to make our own answers.

The only problem I had with this book was the way it was written (style, if you will). At times it was very good, but a lot of times it was filled to the point of exhaustion with metaphors.
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