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Fahrenheit 451 (book)

A novel by Ray Bradbury

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One of the best of the disturbing future stories

  • Jul 16, 2007
Rating:
+5
While many people consider Ray Bradbury to be a science fiction writer, that is a very inaccurate and incomplete categorization. He is a master storyteller, in many ways I consider him superior to Asimov and Heinlein, because he is better able to take an effective turn to the dystopia or macabre genres.
This book is truly one of the best unfortunate futuristic or dystopia stories ever written. Montag is a fireman, only now they start fires rather than put them out. The job of the fire department is to wait around for an informant to expose someone who still owns books. If that tip turns out to be accurate, they go to the house, douse the books with kerosene and then burn them.
As the story opens, Montag is like his comrades in the fire department, he loves his job and never thinks too much about the consequences of what it is that he is doing. However, when one woman prefers to go up in flames with her books rather than live without them, he begins to have doubts. Unfortunately, his is not a society that deals easily with people having such doubts and he becomes a criminal on the run.
In typical Bradbury style the story ends on an ambiguous note. While Montag is still living and there is the potential for a better future, it is not a certainty. Fortunately, he is now among other people who cherish the knowledge contained in books, so there is hope that literary civilization will rise again.

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August 07, 2010
Thanks for the review Charles, you reminded me I enjoyed this book as well when I read it several years ago. You may also want to take a look at @tunguz' take on Fahrenheit 451.
 
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More Fahrenheit 451 reviews
review by . April 26, 2010
Fahrenheit 451: A Powerful and Thought-Provoting Novel
In 1966, Ray Bradbury wrote: "I find now, after the fact, chances are Fahrenheit 451 might be around for a few years." At that time the short novel, originally published in book form in 1953, had "been around" for 13 years. In 2003 it celebrated its 50th year in print, and now, in 2010, it is still as popular as ever. Why has this story had such longevity? Is it because Bradbury reversed a widely accepted premise--instead of putting out fires, future firemen start them? Is it …
review by . June 24, 2010
"We need not to be let alone. We need to be really bothered once in a while. How long is it since you were really bothered? About something important, about something real?" cries Montag in Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451. Montag, a fireman, is upset after having witnessed a woman who had chosen to die with her collection of books rather than leave them behind. In his world, however, firemen do not fight fires; they start them.      Bradbury’s 1953 science …
review by . May 21, 2010
I first read this book in middle school as part of an assigned reading course. I found it frightening and intense then in the same way 1984 is. Reading it again as an adult shines a whole new light on how this work has disturbingly captured the issues of American society that transformed from possibly relevant in 1953 to truly pertinent in today's world.
Quick Tip by . August 14, 2010
Read this in High school. A classic that should be read by all. As a Freemason I have had to memorize all the ritual by hear by having another brother mason recite it to me and I repeated it back, just like in 451. I like that connection allot.
review by . April 11, 2010
Fahrenheit 451 is one of the most famous works of science fiction, and with "Brave New World" and "1984" represents one of the most memorable and haunting dystopias. In a future world, books are banned and firemen actually set fires instead of extinguishing them. The state exercises a form of social control through controlling what sort of information people have access to. It turns out that not all books are banned, only those that we would today consider "great works" - Plato, Shakespeare, The …
Quick Tip by . July 29, 2010
One of the greatest books about why books matter. An easy read, but sticks with you.
Quick Tip by . July 15, 2010
Better you read it while you can. Nice story. You can also check out the movie. This is an amazing "what if" novel.
Quick Tip by . July 13, 2010
Ray Bradbury has a unique style of writing. Pick up this book and take some time to note his distinctive voice.
Quick Tip by . July 12, 2010
Oh my which book would I be? Is it best for me to choose or someone else? The honor! The responsibility! The Gift!
Quick Tip by . July 11, 2010
Interesting message from a prolific, renowned author but descriptive writing style not particular engaging.
About the reviewer
Charles Ashbacher ()
Ranked #78
Charlie Ashbacher is a compulsive reader and writer about many subjects. His prime areas of expertise are in mathematics and computers where he has taught every course in the mathematics and computer … more
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Wiki

Fahrenheit 451 is a dystopian novel by Ray Bradbury which was first published in 1953.

The novel presents a future American society in which the masses are hedonistic and critical thought through reading is outlawed. The central character, Guy Montag, is employed as a "fireman" (which, in this future, means "bookburner"). The number "451" refers to the temperature at which book paper combusts. Although sources contemporary with the novel's writing gave the temperature as 450 °C (842 °F), Bradbury is believed to have thought "Fahrenheit" made for a better title; however, in an introduction to the 40th anniversary edition of the novel, Bradbury states that a person he spoke with at the local fire department said "Book-paper catches fire at 451 degrees Fahrenheit". The "firemen" burn them "for the good of humanity". Written in the early years of the Cold War, the novel is a critique of what Bradbury saw as issues in American society of the era.
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Details

ISBN-10: 0345342968
ISBN-13: 978-0345342966
Author: Ray Bradbury
Genre: Intelligent Science Fiction, Political and Social Satire
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Date Published: 1966
Polls with this book
1984 (British first edition)

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