Animal Farm is George Orwell's great socio-political allegory 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, as with all great political plans, some animals see a bigger share of the rewards than others, and the animals start to question their supposed utopia. They decide that working for humans is doing them no favours, so under the leadership of Napoleon, the only Berkshire Boar on the farm, and the other pigs, they drive out the farmer and his cohorts and set about structuring their own society.
Based on a list of supposedly animal-friendly rules such as "four legs good, two legs baaaaad", the animals work together to harvest their own food and run their own farm. However, 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.
With direct allusions to political figures such as Lenin, Marx, Trotsky, Stalin, and Molitov, to name but a few, Animal Farm is one of the greatest socio-political works of all time, and this UNABRIDGED audio does it absolute justice.
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Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
By Anthony on 15-06-14
Brilliant classic, superbly read by Simon Callow
Great to be entertained by Simon Callow's performance while revisiting Orwell's classic, Animal Farm. I read this decades ago while still at school - and while dated in some respects it remains a classic and can be re-read now as a commentary on trust and government, on slogans rhetoric and spin, and on totalitarianism, democracy and accountability.
The plot is well known - animals on a farm (Manor Farm) overthrow the owner and rename it as Animal Farm. They institute a new governance system initially based on freedom, equity and rights, but it is not long before the self-proclaimed leaders (the pigs) use their power (including the ability to read) to enrich themselves, suppress others, twist and reinterpret values, and rewrite history.
The famous slogan "Four legs good, Two legs bad" plus other political promises and principles of "Animalism" are revised, rewritten, and brutally corrupted as time goes on. Core values are rewritten as a single slogan "All animals are equal, but some are more equal than others" and the pig leaders become indistinguishable from the humans whose earlier exploitation of animals on the farm had led them to revolt.
In fewer than four hours this (not so) tall tale presents a recognisable dystopian future.
Lots to enjoy and think about... despite it being depressingly applicable to so many different contexts, both near and far...
20 of 22 people found this review helpful
By Lisa Smith on 23-11-14
More relevant now than ever!
If you could sum up Animal Farm in three words, what would they be?
It's politics today!
What did you like best about this story?
Which scene did you most enjoy?
Every scene was enjoyable, but I wanted to kill those bladdy sheep!
Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?
I listened to it in one afternoon.
Any additional comments?
I have never liked Simon Callow, but he has won me around with this. His reading of this classic is just brilliant.
11 of 12 people found this review helpful
Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
By Matthew on 11-09-13
Everyone should buy this audiobook, whether you’ve read Animal Farm previously, or not.
For those familiar with the story, there is so much joy to be had from Simon Callow’s fantastic and fantastical reading. From the first sentence, I was mesmerized. His interpretation of Stalin… sorry… I mean Napoleon… is a delight. And at just over 3h, why not revisit the material?
For those who haven’t read the book before, what a great introduction. I’m not an expert on the Soviet revolution and the subsequent Stalin cult of personality, so Animal Farm – for me – remains the best and simplest allegory of this strange period of human history. Because the symbols have been boiled down to their most basic elements, I wouldn’t describe anything here as “dazzling”. But it’s this very simplicity that will keep you engaged. Strip away all the metaphor and dystopia, and you’ll see that Animal Farm is also a touching and charming story.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
By Avinash Ripla on 22-01-18
I loved the narrative. Mr Simon had me captivated with every voice tone to the characters