Monday, December 6, 2010

Book Review: Animal Farm

Book Review: Animal Farm by George Orwell

This is such an intriguing and engaging book! Originally titled "Animal Farm: A Fairy Tale" it is an adult take on a children's tale, yet is also an allegory for totalitarianism in general and communism specifically. It's a rather cute story of some farmyard animals that overthrow their evil ruler (the farmer Mr. Jones) and liberate the farm. The way the animals adapt to their revolution and create order when they experience freedom mirrors the Russian Revolution and the rise of Stalin's communism very well. However, if you didn't know all the political symbolism, you'd find this a fun read. Ultimately this is a story about the inevitable struggle with oppression and then corruption. An initially ideal socialist society gives way to corruption and the tale becomes a page turner as the animals are lead further and further astray by their leaders.

I enjoyed the overt story as well as the covert one. It made me think - was Orwell saying that all revolutions result in totalitarianism and that all leaders tend to be corrupted? I would dearly like to ask him. The book certainly shows the ease that a large group of people can be swayed away from their original ideals - how skilled speakers can move people from laws and morals simply by appealing to their practicality with high minded explanations. This was a short book (about 100 pages) but a true classic that is easy to read. I rate it 4 ninja stars out of 5.

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