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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon September 6, 2012
Stop Thinking.

Stop Thinking Right Now.

Because that book you have in your hands will cause you to Think.

Unacceptable Behavior.

Prepare for the book to burn.

Thank You for your cooperation.

This is the future world existing just around the corner, only a scant few minutes from our present times. Everyday, books which are filled with ideas to provoke thoughts and feelings in us, are routinely challenged and banned by unthinking and unfeeling scoundrels. These immoral vapid inhabitants of our planet are constantly trying to control what you read in order to control how you think. The scary insane world they propagate is shown in all of it’s terrifying fullness in one book. A literary classic by one of our modern masters.

Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury. And yes, “they” have attempted to ban this book as well.

A Spoiler Filled Summary Follows.

First published in 1953, this slim volume tells the complete tale of Earth, sometime down our future road, where books of all types are banned. Reading is prohibited by law. Virtually everyone drugs themselves out on television all night and day. Into this time and place we are introduced to Montag, who, while out walking one night, meets a teenage girl named Clarisse. She does the unthinkable and goads him into thinking, creating thoughts of his own, and wonder about all aspects of his life. Montag’s wife is whiling her life away in front of the television, and he cannot seek solace for these uncomfortable ideas at work either. For Montag has the profession of enforcer of this societies rules. He is a fireman.

For in this twisted tormented existence, all houses are fireproof. Firemen are called upon to save citizens from the illicit few who still harbour those dangerous, vile and destructive books. Crashing through your front door, the fireman ransack and pillage all over your home in order to find your treasured hidden books. These offensive items are then piled up in your living room. And then set afire.

Just close your eyes right now and imagine all your books burning up in a massive pile. Terrifying isn’t it?

And this is where the title of the book comes from. The temperature of Fahrenheit 451 is when paper burns. A fact that we never wanted to know, never needed to know, but Bradbury makes it a part of our reality.

And now back to the story of Montag, the man who preaches fire against books, is experiencing doubts about his purpose. His inner turmoil is kept secret from Captain Beatty, the suspicious fire chief, but to no avail. After stealing a book from a “crime scene”, he slowly realizes they are coming for him. Now a fugitive whose only sin was wishing to read, Montag is chased out of the city and into the wilderness away from “civilization.” Meeting up with a group of fellow refuges, Montag settles into his new journey, now finally free to read.

And now he is happy.

Bradbury’s story of burning books became an instant classic and helped launch his greatness. What initially started life as a short story, he nurtured into a fully developed gem about the horrors of censorship. Bradbury saw an evil that existed, that crept along stalking humanity since the dawn of time, and felt emboldened to expose it. He famously wrote the entire manuscript at a local University on a pay typewriter that charged a dime per half hour. That is how strongly Ray Bradbury had to tell Fahrenheit 451. Unfortunately a rather mediocre movie was produced in 1966, which except for a haunting ending is mostly a waste. It was also mentioned in singer’s Rachel Bloom musical ode to Bradbury, a song that can be easily found on Youtube and is NSFW.

Their are two reasons for my diatribe today. One reason is to pay tribute to a fine excellent book that teaches you to cherish reading and knowledge and ideas. The lifeblood of our soul. The second reason is because coming up is Freedom To Read Week. Beginning Sunday February 26th and ending Saturday March 3rd and is organized by the Freedom of Expression Committee of the Book and Periodical Council. This annual event wants Canadians to think about and value their freedom to read what they want, when they want. This proved to me the perfect confluence of events, the story that epitomizes the fight for the right to think, married to the week that celebrates your right to think.

If you have never read Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury, this week would be the perfect time to. The intellectual charlatans who loudly proclaim moral objections to various books are really cowards afraid of the ideas expressed. They deserve no attention and should be granted no quarter. The existence of Montag must never come to be.

The present world we live in is wonderful, a beautiful here and now. Everyday, books which are filled with ideas to provoke thoughts and feelings in us, are routinely consumed and enjoyed by thinking and feeling people. These amazing lively humans on our planet are continually trying to spread happiness by sharing their readings to help cause you to think. The encouraging healthy vision they propel is what society starts to transform into at the conclusion of one book. A literary classic by one of our modern masters that will never come to be.

Start Thinking.

Start Thinking Right Now.

Because that book you have in your hands will cause you to Think.

Excellent Behavior.

Prepare for the book to be read.

Thank You for your excitement.

Scoopriches
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on January 13, 2000
I hadn't read this Bradbury's classic for 15 years. I had 14 years old then and though I liked it, I appreciate it now even more. Should I think I was not mature enough to understand all the ins and outs of the book?
When Ray Bradbury published his Fahrenheit 451 several decades ago, he depicted a decaying society, only preoccupied by its facade of happiness. Not that people are entirely free of the usual constraints but everything is done through games, shows, comics for them to forget the notion of thinking, source of all distress and misery. Those who resist are destroyed, dangerous books (those *who* make think) are burnt. And finally, does it work after so much trouble?
Well, at first sight, it depends on the basic purpose of the system. If its aim is to make people happy, it's undoubtedly a catastrophic failure. On the other hand, if it plans on making people believe they are happy or at least act as if they were, the answer may appear less immediate but little by little, you realize that for most of the characters, and therefore for probably most of the society, it comes to the same thing.
Montag, the fireman who burns the books, is suddenly confronted to the emptiness of his life. Is he happy? No. He will refuse the system and fight, like Granger and the old Faber. Mildred, Montag's wife, has accepted it all. It's so practical for her to live without thinking, with a virtual family on screens around the walls of the parlor. She has friends she can talk with. She has plenty of leisure, goes on parties, but is she happy? Can she be happy when she frequently needs a bunch of pills to get dopey to the point of risking her life? Obviously not. Same for her friends, you'll see it fast.
Two characters are really apart in this book.
Clarisse, for example, doesn't like or hate that fake prosperity, simply because she doesn't care. She just does what she likes and she's happy. It's probably the only person you'll meet who is. Unfortunately, it will kill her but her short encounter with Montag will have been fundamental.
Okay, I admit it, even if he's not from the "good" side, I've a compassion of some sort for the last important character of the story, Captain Beatty, the firemen's chief. He's really disconcerting, an opponent worthy of Montag. You quickly feel his cogency, his volubility. Despite his current lifework, it's easy to suspect he read a lot in the past and reflected over everything. He would once have been a precious ally for Montag but now, it's too late. He abides by the system and resigned himself, sincerely convinced of its ineluctability. So, of course, he must oppose Montag. The way he dies, the way he chooses to die, is terrible and you'll realize then what despair has haunted that man, how strong his disgust of life has been.
Oh, while I'm writing this, I've just remembered a scenery. In fact, each time I think about Fahrenheit, this one always comes to my mind. At a certain point of the 2nd part, Montag thrust himself in the parlor occupied by Mildred and her friends who were watching their favorite show on the 3 walls, the White Cartoon Clown. Montag pulls the switch, and after some words exchanged about the coming war, he simply says "Let's talk." The passage that immediately follows his request is powerful, from the bewildering words of Mrs Phelps about the children she never had to the furor of Montag appealing them to get out of his house, it's a total delight! I guess it's only there that the reader discovers in what terribly absurd world s/he was dived. This passage is a great moment of literature history, I swear you! :)
If you make up your mind and wish to buy that magnum opus, I suggest you buy the 40th anniversary edition for Fahrenheit deserves a choice place in your library. The dustcover is beautiful, with the back reproducing the original illustration. Now, let's remove delicately the dust cover. Wow, there's a nice hardcover under it, the main sides are light brown and my fingers can feel the author's name raised slightly in the same color :) and on the black edge, title, author and editor are in gold letters. Hum! Hum! What's more? Ah, yes, a very interesting and recent foreword by Ray Bradbury, very instructive, it explains everything: the genesis of the book, the historical context, the how and the why. The original introduction (written in 1966) is still there, as captivating as the foreword, both of them are worth reading. From all points of view, I'm very proud to own this edition. I hope you'll feel the same pride.
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TOP 50 REVIEWERon November 29, 2013
I do not want to tell much of the story, as the unfolding is part of the intrigue. However now that houses are fire proof the purpose of firemen is performing a service by burning books to maintain the happy social order.

Naturally one fireman goes awry after several emotional incidences from someone burning up with the books to a young neighbor with strange ways, which run counter to his carrier. This leads to all kinds of deviant things like reading. What are you doing now?

One big rift between the book and the movie [Fahrenheit 451 (1966) -- Oscar Werner, Julie Christie] is that in the movie the "written word" was completely removed (even from the credits); where as in the book the state was against was literature and not technical writing.

Books are just symbols of ideas that could have been on the screen also. There is deference between training and education. Among other reasons the book was a symbol of one mans superiority over another in a world of equals.

Fahrenheit 451

Zen in the Art of Writing: Essays on Creativity by Ray Bradbury
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TOP 50 REVIEWERon October 12, 2006
do not want to tell much of the story, as the unfolding is part of the intrigue. However now that houses are fire proof the purpose of firemen is performing a service by burning books to maintain the happy social order.

Naturally one fireman goes awry after several emotional incidences from someone burning up with the books to a young neighbor with strange ways, which run counter to his carrier. This leads to all kinds of deviant things like reading. What are you doing now?

One big rift between the book and the movie [Fahrenheit 451 (1966) -- Oscar Werner, Julie Christie] is that in the movie the "written word" was completely removed (even from the credits); where as in the book the state was against was literature and not technical writing.

Books are just symbols of ideas that could have been on the screen also. There is deference between training and education. Among other reasons the book was a symbol of one mans superiority over another in a world of equals.
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on June 30, 2004
I happened to only hear of this book a few weeks back when i read an article about 'Farenheit 9/11'. They mentioned how the title was taken from this book, and it mentioned how this book is about how in the future, firemen burn houses instead of put out fires. It mentioned about this fireman, Guy Montag, who meets a girl but then she vanishes. And in this day of age, their tv parlour, is his wife's family. I was pretty interested in the book and bought it soon after.
A week after, and ive completed the short novel based on three short stories. I really liked it a lot, and there are lots of things which, even though this was written in 1953, that are similar to whats going on these days. There was one paragraph, where Montag says about America attacking countries for no reason. Now what does that remind you of? The whole book is Montag journey in discovering what books really are, how much of an inpact they have on people, and the truth.
Overall, i would recommend this book. Its a very deep book, that makes you think about whats going on these days.
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on December 2, 2003
I thought about the rating of this book (for my taste personally) overnight. I really liked this book, but I felt cheated. Why isn't there more? I wished Ray Bradbury would have kept going with this book. The reason why I wanted more was because I wanted to know what else would happen with Montag when he returned to the ruined city.
Ray Bradbury ushered many feelings when I read this book. I was scared of that Hound. I was angry at Millie's friends and Millie. I was kind of impatient with Clarisse. I was confused whenever Beatty was speaking. When it came to Montag, I thought he was not only "foolish", but smart, too.
This futuristic look of the world is quite imaginative, but it could be real. Fire fighters starting fires instead of putting them out. No one able to read without losing their livelihood. Living in the fear of war and dying without knowing a real reason why. Being caught in the world of visual entertainment that entails walls as televisions, and the weirdest part, people caring more about the television "family" more so than their own flesh and blood. It is a possible future, but one man's vision is not necessarily the truth of this world.
I liked this book, but I just wished there was more.
Joy.
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on April 17, 2001
Amazingly, I just read this book for the first time, although I've heard about it for years. Wow! As I was reading the book, I kept glancing back to the copyright page to verify that Ray Bradbury did indeed write this book in 1953, almost 50 years ago. So much of what he wrote is actually happening to us today. We want things faster and faster, and fewer and fewer people are reading. When I talk to my students about reading, most say they don't have time or that they'd rather see the movie. Children tend to turn to video games for entertainment, not books. Bradbury even predicted the increase in violence in our schools.
As I was reading this book, I discussed it with my ten-year-old. He was fascinated with the story of Guy Montag, the renegade fireman of the future. So fascinated that he had the book approved for his literature circle at school. This book should be required reading for everyone -- Ray Bradbury has much to teach us about where our society is heading, if we're not careful.
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on November 25, 2000
Play the man, Master Ridley; we shall this day light such a candle, by God's grace, in England as I trust shall never be put out. -Hugh Latimer
Guy Montag is a Fireman, but in the future envisioned by Ray Bradbury, firemen don't put out fires, they start them. Firemen are responsible for burning books; all of which are banned, so that the people of this dystopia will not be troubled by difficult thoughts. Instead of reading, they watch endless soap operas on large screen TV's and the government provides for all their needs. Guy has had some qualms about his job, but he's never really thought through exactly what it is he's doing. But then, in short order, he meets an odd young neighborhood girl named Clarisse McClellan, his wife nearly kills herself with sleeping pills and, finally, when the firemen are called to an old woman's house, she refuses to leave:
Montag placed his hand on the woman's elbow. "You can come with me,"
"No," she said. "Thank you, anyway."
"I'm counting to ten," said Beatty. "One. Two."
"Please," said Montag.
"Go on," said the woman.
"Three. Four."
"Here." Montag pulled at the woman.
The woman relied quietly, "I want to stay here."
"Five. Six."
"You can stop counting," she said. She opened the fingers of one hand slightly and in the palm of the hand was a single slender object.
An ordinary kitchen match.
And before they can light the fire, she lights it herself and Guy is forced to consider what it is about books that would make a person do such a thing. As he tells his wife:
Last night I thought about all the kerosene I've used in the past ten years. And I though about books. And for the first time I realized that a man was behind each one of the books. A man had to think them up. A man had to take a long time to put them down on paper. And I'd never thought of that before.
As it turns out, the old woman has, like Hugh Latimore, lit a fire that will change the world, because Guy joins the nascent resistance to the book-burning government.
He remembers meeting an old man named Faber in a park some time earlier and the hunch he had that the man had a book. Indeed, when Guy tracks him down, it turns out that Faber was a professor and he explains to Guy why books are of value:
Number one, ... quality of information. Number two: leisure to digest it. And number three: the right to carry out actions based on what we learn from the interaction of the first two.
Each bolstering the other's confidence, Guy and Faber set out to resist the system and, ultimately, Guy escapes to the wilderness beyond the city, where wandering bands of men are preserving great texts in memory, against the day when the knowledge is needed and learning is again valued.
While not quite in a league with Orwell or Koestler, Bradbury's classic tale is an important treatment of the central themes of the century (of every century). His vision of a society where people have traded freedom for security had a particular resonance during the Cold War, but it should continue to be read as a cautionary tale. We head to the new millennium in the midst of the most spectacular flowering of Freedom that the world has ever known, but there is a continual tension in the species, between those who value that freedom, whatever its costs, and those who would choose the security offered by a controlled society and those who are afraid of uncomfortable ideas. freedom has the upper hand, but the struggle continues...
GRADE: A-
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on February 17, 2000
This book pictures a world where, in order to keep everybody happy and orderly, books are denied the public and burned when found. Guy Montag (the central character) is a fireman (a servant of the public who burns books) who's life is turned around by several cicumstances. He meets a mysterious teenage girl on the sidewalk every night on his way home from work and gets into deep conservations with her. She opens his eyes to the world around him and leaves him hungering for something he can't explain. His wife is a virtual reality junkie and spends all her time listening to the radio or conversing with her electronic "relatives" via VR. Montag begins to see his wife as an empty, meaningless shell of a being and begins to steal books from the houses he burns.
The characters are real and you understand them. The setting and technology isn't futuristic but that's not the focus. The plot isn't spell-binding, but it is interesting and it keeps your interest. While the book is short, it is full of symbols, representations, and philosophy. A similar book to this is "Brave New World" written by Aldous Huxley. In both novels, books are outlawed.
Overall, the book focuses on the mind of man and what can prompt him to do certain things. This book may sound like a boring essay, but it's not. It makes you think and examine life in a different light.
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on January 21, 2000
This book is very hmm how can I say this? Well, there are acutally no words at all to describe the great masterpiece that Mr.Bradubry conjured up over 50 years ago. Many of the kids nowadays ( I am a freshman in high school!) are saying "This book sucks, etc etc." Well, don't you see it? The kids of today are ALREADY turning into the Mildreds and Firemen of tommorow! They are putting this book down because THEY are the firemen and Mildreds of today.....This book shows a prfound truth in today's culture and generation, our generation. Mr.Bradbury has showed us a future, no not a future, but of a PRESENT to us that if we stand around idly this future will occur. Remember Faber'sline......"I saw the way things were going, a long time back. I said nothing. I'm one of the innocents who could have spoken up and out when no one would listen to the 'guilty,' but i did not speak and thus became guilty myself." I believe this is one of the most moving and truthful and insightful lines in this book, for it shows what will happen in our tommorow.
This is a plea for help, if anyone is reading this, do all you can to proclaim this book to the masses. If we do not spread this around, we will crumble. All of the freethinkers and people that think "Outside the box" will be crushed by the fiery hand and ax of tommorow's society. We are a dying race, the rebels, the freethinkers, all of us. Do not give in. If they burn our houses, burn with them. Do not cave in to pop-culture's ideals and guildlines we must follow. Is America truly "A land of the Free?" I think not. We are slowly simmering in this melting pot and we will slowly begin to melt away....
For example, the other day at lunch, my friend and i were talking, and i asked him,"Josh, if a new machine was invented would you ask, 'How it works?' or, 'What's its purpose'. He replied 'How?'. I asked him a myriad of questions like this and i realized what our world is coming to. Yes, like Josh, all of the smart ones of the world are becoming mechanical, ruled under the constraints of society, sub-conciously. All of our intellects are starting to perish. Our smarts will be used for inventing Seashell radio's and TV walls and the Robot Dogs of the future. No more will we be appreciated for our philosophies, thoughts, our ideas, insights; No, but we will be appreciated for how happy we can make the masses and how happy we are will be our number one priority. Please, if you have children, please please do not let them be swayed by commercial jingles or catch phrases or tunes. I am a kid, only one kid, but if this message gets accross to another, i will have succeeded in spreading this message of a scary new world. I believe this new world is an apocalypse to freethinkers, and we must unite before anything happens, we must not sit idly, as Faber's costly mistaken took its toll. Mr.Bradbury's best book ever, a must read.
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