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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Still a masterpiece, and more than ever! :))
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...
Published on Jan. 13 2000 by Xavier

3.0 out of 5 stars READ MY REVIEW ON THIS BOOK...
Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury seemed very confusing and weird just from reading the back of the book. Soon after reading the first few chapters, finding out this novel wasn't bad at all, actual pretty well written and interesting. It broadened my view of censorship and the fascinating situations in this book that have extreme resemblances to a world that doesn't seem so...
Published on May 27 2004 by Tim Tsao

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Still a masterpiece, and more than ever! :)), Jan. 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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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars You Have The Freedom To Read Fahrenheit 451, Sept. 6 2012
Scoopriches (Toronto, Ontario) - See all my reviews
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.

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5.0 out of 5 stars A Wake-up Call!, Nov. 14 2007
James Gallen (St. Louis, Missouri, U.S.A.) - See all my reviews
"Fahrenheit 451" is a futuristic fantasy set in an America in which reading is forbidden, firemen burn books and everyone rushes without taking time to "stop and smell the flowers." I believe that the people who compare this work to McCarthyism and Nazism are missing the point. It depicts a world in which reading has fallen out of favor, people watch television constantly, engage in shallow conversations and are in incessant rushes to get somewhere. Funerals are banned because they bring sadness and people have forgotten to appreciate nature, contemplate beauty and love one another.

The principal action of this book occurs when a seventeen year old neighbor introduces the protagonist, Montag, to the world of nature. The book progresses as Montag gradually changes into a person more to our ideal.

Although set in the future, this book contains much that is familiar. Portions remind the reader of "Lost Horizon". More moving than that are factors which we see in our own world. Have we arrived in a world in which television has decreased reading and shortened attention spans? Is our literature and discourse made blander because minorities and special interest groups demand protection from anything which may hurt their feelings? Do we try to equalize the weak by weakening the strong? I am afraid that we see much of this future world in our own. "Fahrenheit 451" provides, not only a pleasant read, but also a wake up call for all who are concerned about our culture.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Written in the basement of the UCLA library, Oct. 12 2006
bernie "xyzzy" (Arlington, Texas) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Fahrenheit 451 (Paperback)
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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5.0 out of 5 stars One of Bradbury's best, Oct. 6 2006
Mark Wakely (Lombard, Illinois) - See all my reviews
This somber book, with its theme of government-encouraged anti-intellectualism, was written during an age when "eggheads" were suspected of being subversive somehow, maybe even godless commies. This distrust of intelligence and non-conformity is taken to the extreme by Bradbury, with stark and memorable results. By discouraging education and all forms of intelligent discourse, the future government is able to control the population not merely by force or threats, but by providing an endless flow of mindless entertainment, which (nearly) everyone happily accepts. Like sheep before the slaughter, the placated citizenry of Fahrenheit 451 simply doesn't know any better than to believe what the government pronounces at face value. This perverse form of "mind control"- enforced by keeping minds happily engaged in only the most trivial of pursuits- works only too well, since it is far easier to remain ignorant than struggle to form an opposing opinion that might require courage to express. And by burning the last remaining learning tools that threaten its empire- books- the government tries to erase the possibility that anyone could stir an uprising based on ancient philosophical principles such as democracy, liberty, and self-determination.

Ignorance becomes not only bliss, but a frightening way of life.

Bradbury is one of the original "Golden Age" science fiction writers, and that shows in this book. There's the element of the fantastic in the everyday gadgets here, more speculation and wonder that science. For this reason, it doesn't quite have the realistic edge that most mainstream fiction has, although the philosophical themes in the book elevate it to mainstream status. But if you like the "gee-whiz" in your science fiction, then that's another plus.

-Mark Wakely, author of An Audience for Einstein
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5.0 out of 5 stars A Students Review, March 7 2006
This review is from: Fahrenheit 451 (Paperback)
Fahrenheit 451 was a novel written by Ray Bradbury in 1953. This book is not for people who like to read books that are easy to comprehend. If you are into books that you have to take the time to understand, than this book is for you.
It starts out by introducing the main character "Guy Montag" as a fireman of the future. Only in those days fireman don't put out fires, they start them. In the book all houses are fireproof and it is illegal to read books. If you are caught with books the firemen will come to your house and burn the books and your house.
Montag is a normal guy of the future until he meets this young girl named "Clarisse." She asks him questions that he always thought were a waste of time. In this time frame people don't get tickets for going too fast on the road. They get tickets for going too slow. Clarisse explained this situation very well in the book by stating "If you ask a driver what a green blur is. Oh yes, he'd say that's grass! A pink blur? That's a rose garden! white blurs are houses. Brown blurs are cows.
Eventually Montag goes on a run he will never foreget. An old woman is willing to die with her books rather than live without them. So Montag decides to see what these books are all about because society has labeled books as being a waste of time so he begins to sneak books away from the houses they are burning. He eventualy shows them to his wife and she turns him in. Thats when it starts to get really intersting. but the most interesting thing bout this book is that it is almost beginning to come true. I mean we shortened classics from 500 pages to 100 and if you are really lazy you could probably just watch the movie.
I would definetly recomend this book as something to read that you just can't put down. Its another classic from Ray Bradbury.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Still one of the best books around, Feb. 28 2005
There are only a handful of books that have changed my life. Certainly Rands' ATLAS SHRUGGED is one. McCrae's BARK OF THE DOGWOOD is another. And last but not least, this classic Bradbury is one-probably the MOST influential In this novel, firemen do not extinguish fires but ignite them using kerosene. The act of seeking knowledge is frowned upon and those who insist upon reading and are caught with books have their lives burned to ashes. This book follows the life of a fireman named Guy Montag who before meeting an optimistic seventeen-year-old named Clarisse had never once desired to color outside the lines or in any other pigment than black or white. With Clarisse's wise words of a world once been wafting through his mind, Guy suddenly begins to see a world of colors and starts thinking that life is not as simple and happy, as he once believed it to be. Suddenly Guy is trapped between doing what he believes is right and becoming a fugitive, or doing what the rest of society believes to be right. This conflict of self is the soul of a novel that is filled to the brim with plot twists and metaphorical logic to make one think. Take for example the night that Guy receives some shocking news about Clarisse, a key point in the novel. This one night leads to Guy's new perception of the life he has been leading and shows him what a meaningless life it has been. Another key point in the novel would have to be the night that Guy reveals a part of his life to Mildred. This would probably have to be the most crucial part of the novel since it is the beginning of a new life for Guy and shows him who he really married and the true affect society has on people. However terrifying the prospect of living in such a time is to the readers of this book, the novel was nonetheless superbly written and portrayed the characters in all aspects of life perfectly. The tone of the book was faster pace than one would expect in a novel about the burning of knowledge and humanity but still has a darker edge to it, which helps in setting the mood for the storyline. The content of the novel was well perfectly in proportion to itself and did not go off subject or base conception once. Overall the writing was ingenious on Ran Bradbury's part. All in all, this novel is the perfect political portrayal of a corrupt society in which the man makes the rules and all must obey or die. In my opinion, everyone should be required to read this novel, student and adult alike. The writing is impeccable and so is the story plot. It makes the perfect student reading assignment and is also a great idea to read at ones leisure. This book is the quintessential literary masterpiece of our time.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Definition of a classic..., July 13 2004
I've heard so many people say they've been influenced by Bradbury (writers and others) and I can see why--this is simply a great novel. Bradbury is really a national treasure. If you ever get the chance to hear him speak, don't miss him. His stories are priceless. (Especially the one about his anger at people telling him for years that he was crazy to believe man would set foot on the moon in his lifetime. He said he called up every person who laughed in his face the night Neil Armstrong did--and pretty much laughed in their faces!) There is a fantastic one-on-one interview with him in the Walt Disney Tomorrowland-Disney in Space and Beyond DVD (interviewer is Leonard Maltin). His friendship with Disney (a fellow futurist) was fascinating. But it's the sense of wonder and child-like curiosity and optimism (not childish or blind optimism as he clearly understands what can create a dystopia) that make you realize why he is a national treasure. He's inspired me to look to the future, to look up, to look forward, to always be wary and alert to what can go wrong, (and the dangers of closed or lazy minds) BUT not to let any of that stop you--that anything is possible in a world willing to believe, in a free world with open and curious minds.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A book that continues to touch on modern life, July 12 2004
MarkK (Phoenix, AZ, USA) - See all my reviews
Though I was long familiar with many of Bradbury's works, I had put off reading "Fahrenheit 451" in favor of other books until a friend lent it to me recently. After reading it, I'm angry with myself for having taken so long to pick it up. This book is a fantastic tale of a future society that abandons intellectual development and destroys its books. Like all great literature, it offers insight into our society today despite having been written over a half-century ago, and it continues to reward reading today.
This book is more than a seminal work of dystopian literature, however; it is also one of the most elegant meditations on the value of literature in modern society that I have ever read. In envisioning a society that destroys books, Bradbury has to explain what is lost as a result. His answer, as we see in Faber's expositions during Montag's visit, is the exact thing which makes this book worth reading - the insights we gain into our own world and our own lives through reading. Integral to this process, of course, is the fact that people must read them and put what they take from them to good use for a society to thrive; as Bradbury notes, the first step towards the world of his novel was taken when people stopped reading. It is this message which makes "Fahrenheit 451" essential reading, especially in a society where entertainment today bears an ever-closer resemblance to the noise-dominated media depicted in Bradbury's nightmarish future.
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5.0 out of 5 stars In Relation To Fahrenheit 9/11, July 5 2004
By A Customer
The magnificence of this work as it stresses to bring concern to a fundamental value (of literary freedom) so that we could cautiously prevent it from slipping through the cracks. It stresses to bring attention to the warning of the dehumanizing effects it would have created and thus propelling our concerns to protect it. One should pay admiration to Mr. Bradbury, for the mental sturdiness he most certainly had to maintain as he endured this bleak revelation in attempt that we may avoid it's dismal realization.
Aside from all of this, a most controversial movie, Fahrenheit 9/11 is named in respects to it. We can easily ascertain, without a direct reference or clue, that Fahrenheit 9/11 wishes to borrow the sense of injustices created by our own neglect.
This fiction novel is final seen in the true light intended, to not only give birth to our concerns of one freedom, but also to instill within us the necessity to pay attention to all of the liberties we may allow to slip by. By taking the freedom of literature away, Bradbury forced us to protect the first and most important of our many freedoms, the tool to be informed, thus to gain all tools to guard all freedoms.
Books of caution are out there and they hold distinctive values that one should not ignore. I recommend the following, '1984' and 'Utopian Reality'.
As quoted from 1984, "Who controls the past,' ran the Party slogan, 'controls the future: who controls the present controls the past."
As quoted from Utopian Reality, "It will help you get through what you can now consider your past. Then'- Vicki's eyes excitedly beamed- 'we can move onto your future."
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Fahrenheit 451: A Novel
Fahrenheit 451: A Novel by Ray Bradbury (Hardcover - Sept. 23 2003)
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