Animal Farm: A Fairy Story (Penguin Modern Classics) Paperback – 24 Feb 2000
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When the downtrodden animals of Manor Farm overthrow their master Mr Jones and take over the farm themselves, they imagine it is the beginning of a life of freedom and equality. But gradually a cunning, ruthless elite among them, masterminded by the pigs Napoleon and Snowball, starts to take control. Soon the other animals discover that they are not all as equal as they thought, and find themselves hopelessly ensnared as one form of tyranny is replaced with another. Orwell's chilling 'fairy story' is a timeless and devastating satire of idealism betrayed by power and corruption.
From the Inside Flap
George Orwell's chilling fable of Soviet Russia's brutal dictatorship, Animal Farm brings to life in lucid, uncomplicated language the disastrous project of Russian Communism. This Penguin Modern classics edition includes an introduction by Malcolm Bradbury. 'All animals are equal - but some are more equal than others' When the downtrodden animals of Manor Farm overthrow their master Mr Jones and take over the farm themselves, they imagine it is the beginning of a life of freedom and equality. But gradually a cunning, ruthless élite among them, masterminded by the pigs Napoleon and Snowball, starts to take control. Soon the other animals discover that they are not all as equal as they thought, and find themselves hopelessly ensnared as one form of tyranny is replaced with another. 'It is the history of a revolution that went wrong - and of the excellent excuses that were forthcoming at every step for the perversion of the original doctrine,' wrote Orwell for the first edition of Animal Farm in 1945. Orwell wrote the novel at the end of 1943, but it almost remained unpublished; its savage attack on Stalin, at that time Britain's ally, led to the book being refused by publisher after publisher. Orwell's simple, tragic fable has since become a world-famous classic. If you enjoyed Animal Farm, you might like Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-Four, also available in Penguin Modern Classics. 'It is the book for everyone and Everyman, its brightness undimmed after fifty years' Ruth Rendell, Daily Telegraph Books of the CenturySee all Product description
From the Publisher
'All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others.'
Drunken Mr Jones of Manor Farm has neglected his livestock for too long. In a burst of insurgent fervour they rise up and he is deposed, with the pigs taking charge of the newly named Animal Farm. Everything runs smoothly, productivity soars, and all animals are well-fed and happy.
But the further away the memory of the revolution, the more distant seem its ideals—and when Boxer the workhorse is betrayed, the horrifying extent of the pigs' corruption is revealed.
Orwell's 'fairy story', a scathing satire of Soviet communism, is as potent now as it was in 1945. Animal Farm is one of literature's most electrifying examinations of power and corruption.
George Orwell (1903–1950) is one of England's most famous writers and social commentators. He is the author of the classic political satire Animal Farm and the dystopian masterpiece Nineteen Eighty-Four. He is also well known for his essays and journalism, particularly his works covering his travels and his time fighting in the Spanish Civil War. His writing is celebrated for its piercing clarity, purpose and wit.
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One does not need to know much about the Russian Revolution and Stalinism (that Orwell intended the tale to be a commentary about) to enjoy this book, because it could easily be about any totalitarian society or one that has aspirations to make life better for the people. And that's what makes this work such a powerful classic, because Orwell speaks profound truths about human nature and the potential for evil when power is entrusted (through a tale about animals) in the most simple and direct way.
The reason I chose this one is that it has an introduction by Bradbury.
After reading it, I think my money is well spent.
Besides, the value of this edition lies in the inclusion of the unpublished preface by the author in the first edition in 1945 as well as another one to the Ukrainian edition by Orwell.
I used to think (and still think) Animal Farm is the best of his works; after reading Bradbury's introduction, I know I am not wrong for my impression.
Going into this story, I knew the gist of it, and after reading the first chapter, I know it was going to be a quick read. I know why they read it in year 8 - it is such a simple political allegory to follow! However, the simplicity of the text is not to be criticized, because it actually highlights Orwell's genius! To be able to so concisely write about revolution (with particular reference to the Soviet revolution) and yet make it comprehensible to people of varying reading age/ability, backgrounds, and education is remarkable. This is a story with a point - a warning - about particular aspects of revolution, totalitarianism and fascism, and yet both a 10 year old and a 60 year old can get message through the same enjoyment. Like the book or not, it should be recognized for that great feat at least.
I did enjoy it, a lot. The accompanying appendixes were also interesting - an insight into what Orwell thought about the censorship of his novella at the early stages of publication, and about literary censorship in general - as well as an interesting personal foreword that Orwell wrote for editions for displaced Ukrainians living in camps in Germany.
The introduction by Malcolm Bradbury and the Notes on a Text by Peter Davison were both interesting insights to the reception of the novel, as well as some of the author's thoughts and commentary about the text. Well worth a read, though I chose to read it afterwards because there were a couple of spoilers.
Overall, really good, and I will certainly read more Orwell in the future. It turns out I really did miss out all those years ago!
More importantly, this 'fairy tale' is a great way of explaining the Russian Revolution. And many others for that matter - the same there's have been seen throughout many parts of the world since it's publication.