Animal Farm by George Orwell

Rating 9.5/10
Animal Farm is moving, bitter and a warning from history.

Book of the Month

Animal Farm by George Orwell was first published in 1945 and will be celebrating its seventieth birthday next year. It is still a keen area of debate whether it remains relevant for readers of this generation - I certainly believe it is, and the fact that it is still studied as part of the United Kingdom’s English Literature curriculum would add further credence to this opinion. I re-read the novella last night and found its themes and messages just as powerful, moving and relevant as they must have been seven decades ago.

George Orwell was – and still is - one of Great Britain’s most famous writers and it was Animal Farm, and the dystopian nightmare Nineteen Eighty-Four (1949) which first brought him worldwide respect. Animal Farm is set in a farmyard where the animals decide to seize the farmer's land and create a co-operative that reaps the benefits of their combined labours. However, some animals see a bigger share of the rewards than others, and the animals start to question their supposed utopia. Little by little, the rules begin to mysteriously change, and the pigs seem to gain power little by little, making the animals question what society they were striving for in the first place and whether their new-found freedom is as liberating as they might have hoped.

Animal Farm is one of the greatest socio-political works of all time but there is no need for the reader to pick-up on - or understand - any of the allusions to Lenin, Marx, Trotsky or Stalin as the story can be enjoyed as the simple, moving and enlightening parable it essentially is, a story that clearly shows humankind at its best and very worst. For me, it highlights the demons within every human – jealousy, greed, laziness and cruelty born of fear.

The parable successfully shows how the dream that communism in theory could be so easily turns into the nightmare that totalitarianism again and again has proven to be. I have always found anthropomorphism within the animal kingdom to provide an excellent framework within on which to build very serious themes – William Horwood’s Duncton Wood deals with religious intolerance, Watership Down deals with the never-ending struggle between tyranny and freedom. And for some reason, a loyal horse betrayed can become one of the most tragic and sympathetic figures in literature.

Animal Farm is moving, bitter and a warning from history – one of which will of course be ignored, for that is what humans excel at, repeating the errors and misjudgements of the past. It will only take 2-3 hours to read from cover to cover and as I believe it can now be sourced legitimately for free from sources like Project Gutenberg it is a book that anyone could and should read.

This Animal Farm book review was written by

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Animal Farm reader reviews

from England

9-stars

I think that this book was outstanding, because it thoroughly describes how communism was acted, in a childish way. I recommend everyone to read this book!!

from Africa

9-stars

A Book for the Ages Animal Farm is a timeless piece of literature which feels like a modern masterpiece. It tells a deeply engrossing story with many dramatic twists within its relatively small number of pages. This story deals with themes of corruption and utopias in a satirical but immersive way. The fact that Animal Farm is based on the Russian Revolution is no secret, but the use of animals as an analogy provides a different perspective to this historical event. This animal representation is done so masterfully that it works perfectly as a standalone story, without the reader needing any prior knowledge on the topic. Overall, Animal Farm takes creates a unique story and breaks many common conventions to create a compelling narrative. Animal Farm follows the rise and fall of an animal rebellion against the farmer, Mr. Jones. The opening speech given by Old Major creates a vision for the revolution and presents a promising future for the farm. As the story progresses, Jones and other farmers work to fight this revolution in the “Animal Farm.” Along with this conflict, the foundation of this new society where “all animals are equal” (Orwell 14) begins to crumble. At the beginning of the story, the ideas of the revolution seem justified, but the progression of Animal Farm leads to the realization of how flawed this new society actually is. This downfall is coupled with an internal battle for power and control. It is deeply interesting to follow the characters as they each find their own way to cope with this changing environment. Ultimately, this is a story of corruption which explores this concept to its full extent. Animal Farm will hit home with an older audience. This is especially true for those who have experienced similar problems of manipulation and corruption as those seen in the story. Although the animals in Animal Farm represent different groups and people in Russia during the communist revolution, the hunger for power is still largely present in the world today. An adult audience may more easily realize the connection to the story’s development and to other leaders throughout history. The true brilliance behind Animal Farm lies in its intelligent use of satire. George Orwell’s approach of representing millions of people as single characters creates an enjoyable story about a serious event. Although many other stories use animals as main characters in their story, few books do so as masterfully as Animal Farm. Each character’s limitations, roles, and skills fit the animal they are. This technique works as a great way to introduce obstacles for each animal to overcome; adding further depth to the plot and conflict within the story. The most positive aspect of this story is the unconventional plot. Almost all stories set up an obstacle and follow how the “good guys” overcome it. In Animal Farm, this is the case, but only for the first few chapters of the story. After the farm rises against Mr. Jones, the main conflict is resolved and the true conflict arises. Animal Farm is not about a revolution; rather, it is about the internal struggle in a society where “all animals are equal.” The major question this book strives to answer is if such a society is even possible. Following each character as the farm continued to fall further into turmoil proved to create a compelling and a thoroughly enjoyable tale. Overall, I would give Animal Farm a rating of four and a half stars out of five. My only gripe in reading Animal Farm is that the book ended early. The powerful and shocking conclusion had me wondering how the animals would react to this turn of events and if any of them would finally realize the weight of their situation. Nevertheless, the story kept me intrigued all the way through with a good pace and engaging conflicts. The themes of betrayal and power-hungry leaders fit brilliantly with the communist history Animal Farm is based off of. The events and nature of characters continue to hold true when compared to leaders today. These connections between the real world and the book make the story more enjoyable. Each character felt unique and added something to the story’s plot. This is a great book that I would definitely recommend picking up. Long live Animal Farm!

from UK

4-stars

Animal farm the book is a hard book to read as a child under the age of 15.

from India

10-stars

A very good satire. You can enjoy it as a simple story but if you are really interested in the contemporary world politics then this book should be in your book shelf. How the utopian dream of the animals struggling for a communist society where they can enjoy equal rights and freedom shattered and ultimately led them to live a miserable life under a totalitarian ruler under the constant fear of some unknown enemy is very precisely described in the book and you can have an insight of the condition of Russian people under Lenin and Stalin's rule through the book.

from South Africa

10-stars

The book is very interesting and fun to read. I even got 100% for my book review. I AM ONLY IN GRADE 5. Best book ever.

from China

10-stars

One of the best books I've ever read about. It profoundly exposed the disadvantage of totalitarianism and has a unique view (though pessimistic) on what's gonna happen next in our view. Just one more thing, Orwell is not criticizing communism or socialism, he's actually a supporter of it.

from Nepal

10-stars

I never got bored reading this book. Totally moving and completely different than other works.

from India

10-stars

It's a most interesting book to read, which tells about and compare the Russian revolutionary. It also shows the difference of equality between animals who has more compare to take extra response from other's animals. its a subjugation, intimidation and the simplicity of masses of what actually happens in a socio- life. This book directly describes how easily good intentions to be the tyranny. we can also say that- it is totally based on distopiniasim and the history of the Russian revolution. All the characters were based on this revolution and it is a good book for everyone.

from Botswana

10-stars

This is a very addictivve book. In a good way. I loved it.

from Australia

10-stars

I absolutely loved every page of it! I just couldn't put it down, very engaging! Recommend it to anyone who is looking for a book to read, it's just amazing! 😘

from Egypt - Giza

10-stars

I like this book so much. It's an amazing book about revolution, like in Egypt.

from Nepal

10-stars

This book is the exact reflection of the political system throughout the world. This is what the politics really is..... all about obtaining power. Mostly in context of the developing country like ours this is the case. We ignorant people are easily deceived by the sweet talks of the politicians. By listening to them we believe that maybe this time actual progress might take place, maybe this time the people might actually be benefited but no ..... each time they back off from their promises and we feel like jokers for actually believing them . All they care for is power. All they want is personal benefit. They have no concern for public interest. For power they can do anything. Walking over the few corpses and injuries will also not matter to them and this book shows it.

from Zambia

10-stars

I honestly think he wrote into the future meaning our world today we are being sweet talked into believing the false ideas set by many leaders his book is an eye opener

from US

8-stars

The book Animal Farm an engaging and educational must read. I thought it was very interesting how he portrayed the the cycle of revolution turning into tyranny. He describes how easily good intentions can be subverted into tyranny. This book indirectly describes communism and the government and how you can never make everyone happy. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book. Orwell's writing is pessimistic and visual. I recommend this book.

from India

10-stars

Excellent!

from India

10-stars

The best book I have ever read.

from Ireland

10-stars

Its a really good book. It is a perfect book for a class to read together. When I read it it was amazing.

from Sri Lanka

10-stars

Excellent.

from UK

10-stars

Scary in view of the situation we find ourselves in now

from Uganda

8-stars

Animal farm is a book recommended for everyone at school and in society because it is a true reflection(The absolutism of power, greed, subjugation, intimidation and the simplicity of the masses) of what actually happens in the socio_political spheres of life.

from UK

7-stars

Good book for teens not so much for younger children.

from England

1-stars

It is very confusing as a child to read and hard to read in the deadline for kids doing the curricular activities :(

from Pakistan

8-stars

The best piece of literature.

from France

10-stars

A brilliant and timeless analyse of the mechanics of bureaucracy, ultimate betrayal of the hopes of the people. Let's pray it remains in the curriculum, for this story talks about power and control in general, not only in a communist system. The worst we could do against this book is to keep on saying "it is only about totalitarianism and the history of the USSR"... Not only, not only.

8.9/10 from 25 reviews

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