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Book #4 – Animal Farm November 13, 2010

Posted by pittsburghmike in Uncategorized.
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I am deep into The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand, and realized that if I did not read additional books at the same time, I would quickly fall behind on my goal of reading all 100 books in one year. So I delved into two of my favorite books – Animal Farm by George Orwell and Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury. Let’s first review Animal Farm.

I first read Animal Farm in high school, and while I wasn’t aware of all of the details surrounding the rise of Soviet Communism, I quickly became aware of the allegory between the book and history. Written in the 1940s, Animal Farm captures the story of a group of animals rising up against their human master, seizing control of the farm, and establishing a utopian society, only to have some animals, particularly the pigs, seize control, eventually becoming indistinguishable form the previous human masters.

I have always been interested in the means by which political societies are formed, and Animal Farm captures the truth behind all societies – the best intentions are often waylaid by human nature’s tendency to fend for the individual over society. While the revolution and utopian society are established in the best interest of all of the animals, quickly the foundations of the revolution are forgotten as a select group of “leaders” takes control and milks the system to their own advantage.

If you have not read Animal Farm, it is a great read, particularly if you can separate the story from the Soviet Communism and read it more as a look at human nature in a political system. With the election results from the most recent election, with many conservative candidates pledging to eliminate earmarks (a term with roots in farm animal tagging) and remain a “Washington Outsider,” it will interesting to see if the newly elected officials follow the pigs, becoming enamored with the pleasures and opportunities provided to politicians and forget many of their campaign promises.

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