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Animal Farm
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on November 4, 2008
In terms of reading books that are classics, this one is pain free. The language is easy and it's short enough to get through in a day, and best of all the story is entertaining. My advice would be to spend a few hours on the net reading about the Russian Revolution and Stalin's bio before reading to make sure you appreciate all the allusion, allegory, metaphors and all that blah blah stuff that makes it an important book. This is the one book I actually liked when I had to read it in highschool, 10 or so years later I still enjoyed breezing through it.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on January 16, 2008
there isn't too much i can say that hasn't already been said, i didn't do any research before reading this book, but I was familiar with the russian revolution. after reading it i figured it was about the russian revolution, stalin, et al, and came online to check it out. sure enough that's what it's about.

i think this is required reading, although i didn't have to read it in high school.

if you haven't read it, please do, it's a short, but fascinating read.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on May 3, 2004
Every time I read something by George Orwell, I'm convinced what a genius he was. This novel, along with 1984, is so entrenched in our collective consciousness now that it is difficult to remember a time when they didn't exist. I think that political extremists on either side would like to subvert Orwell's message for their own purposes. What makes Orwell great however is that he is not simply skewering the left or the right, but politics itself. To paraphrase Woody Allen in Sleeper (his take on 1984) "It doesn't matter who is in charge - they're all terrible."
Historically, Animal Farm was written as a polemic against Soviet communism after Orwell returned from fighting in the Spanish Civil War. Even though the USSR is his main target, Animal Farm reads like a blueprint for every violent revolution ever. I'm also reading a book on the French Revolution, and I'm amazed at how much the two link up. First comes the idyllic phase when the oppressors have been overthrown. Next, the "liberators" soon set themselves up as demi-gods. Next comes marshal law. Eventually, it does become impossible to distinguish the men from the pigs. "All animals are created equal, but some animals are more equal than others."
This book, written before 1984, introduces some of the themes that Orwell will do much to develop later. For instance, like Big Brother, Napoleon - the leader - gradually does away with the animal's history and memory. He gradually alters the Seven Commandments of animals, while maintaining they were "always" that way. ("We are at war with Eastasia. We have ALWAYS been at war with Eastasia.")
This book is so spot-on in its depiction of human (animal) behavior its scary. Whenever Napoleon institutes another sacrilege, the "sheep" are quick to shout down any opposition with their cry of "Four legs good, two legs bad." Inevitably, this becomes, "Two legs good, four legs bad." Four legs are bad, four legs have ALWAYS been bad...
If you were forced to read this in school, or haven't read it in a long time, give it another chance. It's extremely short and you'll enjoy it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
I first read Animal Farm in 1965 as a college freshman. I didn't think too much about it back then; there seemed to more pressing interests at the time.

Years later, as I reread the book I believed that it was a satire of Soviet Communism. Now I believe that it is a statement of man's inevitable use of the utopian yearning for a better, fairer world, and the chilling knowledge that some people and parties will use that desire to develop their own power. I believe this book is a warning to future generations - socialist bureaucracy can slowly encroach upon any government - even in a democractic-republic - and, it may be creeping up on us at this very time in history. We must fear the socialist desire to make a more perfect world... it might be at the expense of our precious, but frail liberty! Animal Farm
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon August 5, 2011
Animal Farm is a powerful story of politics, corruption and power. It is most directly a commentary on the Russian Revolution, rise of the Communists and the deterioration of the values that gave rise to communist movement. I believe Animal Farm succeeds beyond this metaphor.

First, it is a touching story about hope and compassion. It is entertaining purely as a novel. The characters are sympathetic and the theme of simply wanting a better life is one that anyone can relate to and enjoy. Second, it is a powerful commentary on all political systems not just the Russian one so commonly tied to this story. Politicians regardless of ideology are inclined to say what they have to to get to the positions they desire. Once there they are inclined to pursue their own interests and not those of the people they represent.

This was clearly demonstrated in the US debt crises of Aug. 2011. Many politicians chose to manufacture a crises by threatening to cut off the supply of funds to the government. This hurt a challanged American economy. The politicians acted in the pursuit of their own personal political agendas. Few would argue this was done in the best interest of the citizens.

From this perspective Animal Farm maintains its place as a valuable political commentary. If politics and history or political drama's are of interest to you, read this book. You will like it. Everyone probably should read Animal Farm but realistically if you don't have any political interest you are less likely to enjoy it. If nothing else a book should be enjoyed.
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on March 16, 2007
Like all classic novels, this one is bound to irritate a few, and delight others. The story begins when Old Major (a prize winning white boar) tells the other animals the dream he had had the night before when all humans are gone and all animals will be free. He tells them about the rebellion, but warns them if it should ever happen the animals must never adapt to human traits or intimidate others. George Orwell's satire represents the Russian Revolution of 1917. Every different character represents a different leader, social group or historical event that happened surrounding the Russian Revolution. For example the pigs represent Joseph Stalin, Leon Trotsky, and Vladimir Lenin. Mr. Jones, representing Czar Nicholas II, spends a lot of his time drinking and neglecting his work. During the reign of Czar Nicholas II, the Russian people experienced terrible poverty and turmoil just like the animals under Mr. Jones lead lives of hunger and want. When Jones neglects feeding the animals, they rebel. After the rebellion the struggle between Napoleon (Joseph Stalin) and Snowball (Leon Trotsky) for control over the farm escalates into major disturbances. When Snowball is run off the farm, Napoleon and Squealer (representing the communist newspaper Pravda) separate themselves more and more from the other animals. Squealer helps Napoleon in twisting the truth to tell the animals. Who is left with the farm? Is the animals' worst fear about Jones coming back going to become a reality? Will the other animals realize a dictator is ruling them? I really enjoyed reading this book because it was easy to follow and didn't use many difficult terms that were hard to understand. Animal Farm is an example of one of those books you would stay up all night just to finish. Must also recommend another great Amazon pick: "Katzenjammer" by Jackson McCrae--very funny and a great glimpse into New York and what one person does to get published.
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on January 10, 2007
"Animal farm" is to this day one of the best attempts to criticize a totalitarian regime through the means that literature provides: the power of words. George Orwell (1903- 1950) wanted to help others to realize things that for him were evident, and attempted to do so by writing a fable that can easily be read as a satire of the Russian Revolution. Orwell said in an article that "Every line of serious work that I have written since 1936 has been written, directly or indirectly, against totalitarianism and for democratic Socialism, as I understand it. It seems to me nonsense, in a period like our own, to think that one can avoid writing of such subjects. It is simply a question of which side one takes and what approach one follows".

Orwell also pointed out that "Animal Farm was the first book in which I tried, with full consciousness of what I was doing, to fuse political purpose and artistic purpose into one whole". He succeded beyond his wildest expectations, even though at first nobody wanted to publish this work because it was too controversial.

The plot of this book is relatively easy to grasp, and I think that is probably one of the reasons why it is so popular. Some animals decide to take over the conduction of a farm, because they believe there is too much injustice, and that they would improve the situation if they had the power to do so. They make a revolution, and end up evicting Mr. Jones, the owner of the farm. From that moment onwards, the farm is called "Animal farm"...

The animals establish seven "commandments", that they are supposed to obey at all moments in the new "Animal farm": 1- Whatever goes upon two legs is an enemy, 2 - Whatever goes upon four legs, or has wings, is a friend, 3- No animal shall wear clothes, 4 - No animal shall sleep in a bed , 5 -No animal shall drink alcohol, 6 - No animal shall kill another animal , 7- All animals are created equal. At the same time, all commandments can be comprised in a maxim: "Four legs good, two legs bad".

Everything seems all right for sometime, and all the animals work together for the success of the revolution, obeying the commandments and striving for a new order of things. However, after a while the pigs begin to think that being part of the animal revolution is not enough: they want to dominate it. After that first realization things take a quick turn for the worse, and we cease to be in the presence of a "wannabe utopical society", having instead to be unwilling witnesses to the birth of a new totalitarian society.

At that moment, the pigs even change some of the commandments. For example, the fourth commandment turns into "No animal shall sleep in a bed with sheets", and the sixth commandment says "No animal shall kill another animal without cause". Now, the commandments can be reduced to "Four legs good, two legs better". Finally, all the commandments will be replaced with one: "All animals are created equal, but some animals are more equal than others".

All in all, I consider "Animal farm" extremely interesting, even though it is somewhat sad and pessimistic. The language is clear, and you won't find yourself wondering what the author meant by a phrase, or needing to read a paragraph again. From my point of view, that makes the reading process even more enjoyable.

Despite that, I believe that this book will be considerably more appreciated by those with some basic knowledge regarding the Russian Revolution. Only then will the reader be able to take full advantage of what this short fable can offer him, due to the fact that he will realize without too much effort that some of the fictional characters in "Animal Farm" were inspired by historical characters. For example, Napoleon (one of the pigs) was quite possibly inspired by Stalin, and Snowball (another pig) by Trosky. When you read this book, try to find the characters that represent the proletariat, the Communist Party, the intellectuals, etc... :)

On the whole, I regard this book as one of those you just need to read, but that fortunately you can also enjoy. The messages implicit in "Animal farm" are many, and the questions it makes you pose yourself are even more. But then, what better than a book that makes you THINK ?.

Belen Alcat
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on September 15, 2006
Like all classic novels, this one is bound to irritate a few, and delight others. The story begins when Old Major (a prize winning white boar) tells the other animals the dream he had had the night before when all humans are gone and all animals will be free. He tells them about the rebellion, but warns them if it should ever happen the animals must never adapt to human traits or intimidate others. George Orwell's satire represents the Russian Revolution of 1917. Every different character represents a different leader, social group or historical event that happened surrounding the Russian Revolution. For example the pigs represent Joseph Stalin, Leon Trotsky, and Vladimir Lenin. Mr. Jones, representing Czar Nicholas II, spends a lot of his time drinking and neglecting his work. During the reign of Czar Nicholas II, the Russian people experienced terrible poverty and turmoil just like the animals under Mr. Jones lead lives of hunger and want. When Jones neglects feeding the animals, they rebel. After the rebellion the struggle between Napoleon (Joseph Stalin) and Snowball (Leon Trotsky) for control over the farm escalates into major disturbances. When Snowball is run off the farm, Napoleon and Squealer (representing the communist newspaper Pravda) separate themselves more and more from the other animals. Squealer helps Napoleon in twisting the truth to tell the animals. Who is left with the farm? Is the animals' worst fear about Jones coming back going to become a reality? Will the other animals realize a dictator is ruling them? I really enjoyed reading this book because it was easy to follow and didn't use many difficult terms that were hard to understand. Animal Farm is an example of one of those books you would stay up all night just to finish. Must also recommend another great Amazon pick: "Katzenjammer" by Jackson McCrae--very funny and a great glimpse into New York and what one person does to get published.
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on September 12, 2006
I Love this book and have read it more than once. Animal Farm is a well written novel about a farm of animals sick of having a cruel, abusive and neglectfull owner. They all deside to rebell and take over the farm, and do so successfully.

In order to instil order they decide to make some rules, 10, and establish a democratic government.The pigs, of course, are the more intelligent ones that quickly learn to read and wright. As time goes on thing begin to change and the animals forget about the early days, how bad thing were with there previous owner and how good thing after the rebellion. Soon the animals forget what th original rules were and with the pigs begining to act more strangly, it seems as is everything has come full circle.

The book is like a wonderfull metiphore about governmet and human behavior. Although it was only written in th late 40's it is interesting that there are many similarities with todays government. Not only is this a fabulous book and a well known classic, but it is a MUST READ in my opinion. I also sugest REREADING it, you really get it the second time!!!
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on June 1, 2005
Short as it is, this work represents all that Orwell had been leading to all his life. It's a satire and a fable -- and in very simple terms outlines the dangers of tyranny, the corruption of ideals. Orwell uses the Communist revolution as a template: and points out how, in the end, 'some animals are more equal than others' -- that is, the essential greediness of us all. In darker, more subtle terms, it suggests, too, that we are, in essense, animals ourselves -- we cannot escape our dark primal nature. And we need to always be aware and vigilant of this. It's a chilling, sad, illuminating and very effective masterpiece. Everytime I read it, it affects me more! Honestly, this book will haunt you. Pick up a copy! Another book I need to recommend -- completely unrelated to Orwell, but very much on my mind since I purchased a "used" copy off Amazon is "The Losers' Club: Complete Restored Edition" by Richard Perez, an exceptional, lonesome (but also funny) little novel I can't stop thinking about.
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