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Fahrenheit 451 (1953)

by Ray Bradbury

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
45,01688122 (4.02)1 / 1324
The system was simple. Everyone understood it. Books were for burning, along with the houses in which they were hidden. Guy Montag was a fireman whose job it was to start fires, and he enjoys his job. He had been a fireman for ten years, and never questioned the pleasure of the midnight runs nor the joy of watching pages consumed by flames. He never questioned anything until he met a seventeen-year-old girl who told him of a past when people were not afraid and a professor who told him of a future in which people could think. Guy Montag suddenly realized what he had to do.… (more)
  1. 963
    Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell (readafew, Booksloth, rosylibrarian, moietmoi, haraldo, BookshelfMonstrosity)
    readafew: Both books are about keeping the people in control and ignorant.
    BookshelfMonstrosity: A man's romance-inspired defiance of menacing, repressive governments in bleak futures are the themes of these compelling novels. Control of language and monitors that both broadcast to and spy on people are key motifs. Both are dramatic, haunting, and thought-provoking.… (more)
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    Brave New World by Aldous Huxley (phoenix7g, meggyweg, Babou_wk, haraldo)
    Babou_wk: Contre-utopie, société future où l'unique but de la vie est le bonheur. Toute pratique requérant de la réflexion est bannie.
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    Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut (Smiler69)
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  6. 242
    The Martian Chronicles by Ray Bradbury (jpers36, moietmoi)
  7. 172
    Match to Flame: The Fictional Paths to Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury (grizzly.anderson)
    grizzly.anderson: A great study of how Bradbury came to write Fahrenheit 451 as a progress through his own short stories, letters and drafts. A similar collection of stories but without some of the other material is also available as "A Pleasure To Burn"
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    The October Country by Ray Bradbury (Booksloth)
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  11. 72
    A Gift upon the Shore by M. K. Wren (lquilter)
    lquilter: "A Gift Upon the Shore" is a post-apocalyptic world; some people seek to preserve books and knowledge, but they are seen as a danger to others. Beautifully written.
  12. 95
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(see all 28 recommendations)

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» See also 1324 mentions

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Showing 1-5 of 816 (next | show all)
I don't know what to say. Honestly, I don't. This book was amazing and everything made sense. Nevertheless, I think I'm not qualified to discuss it.
Fahrenheit 451 is a book that, in my opinion, everyone should read because it has a very important message. I didn't really like this book but I appreciate it for what it taught me.
Ray Bradbury was a genius. ( )
  _Marcia_94_ | Sep 21, 2021 |
Cold War dystopian prophesy of the near future, More like the present than is comfortable. ( )
  fwbl | Sep 15, 2021 |
Fahrenheit 451 reads like a prediction for the present. Published in 1953, this story predicts our media-obsessed culture, holding up a mirror and hoping we'll look up from our screens long enough to notice.

Idiocracy in society is the first thing I noticed. Bradbury writes how most people don't want to "think" since it's so difficult. In the book, that's represented through two things: books being banned and "families" being born.

While book-burning is the most discussed aspect, I believe the concept of "families" and a screen-obsessed culture hits closer in 2020. Bradbury envisions a world where people would rather be with their "families" than think for themselves. These are people on screens (and radio, too) who do funny, random things of no consequence—videos and music flash by, never stopping, never giving you time to think.

Sound familiar? I feel the modern social media and the screen-obsessed culture is scarily closer to Bradbury's world than ever before. People "follow" personalities on YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, and whatnot, subscribing to mindless videos that mostly offer no value. Algorithms are designed to bombard you with information you don't need or even care about. Mindless scrolling is the go-to thing after a hard day at work. Who has time to 'think' anymore?

Bradbury has imagined a world where people no longer appreciate the things around them. Education is just committing facts to memory. No opinions or philosophies are allowed. Everything is commercialized.

Of course, that brings us to books, and the author has a lot to say about them. See, books are considered dangerous because they force you to think. You don't have to agree with a book necessarily - you can use your "knowledge and skepticism" to argue and perhaps offer a different perspective. Sadly, that often leads down a path of 'uncertainty' and 'melancholy,' which is not acceptable in a world where everyone is "happy."

The problem is that most people don't want to think, and when they're forced to think, they feel stupid. Would you like to feel like an idiot? In Bradbury's world, you can simply memorize useless facts that will make you feel brilliant. The keyword here is "feel." Do you feel offended? Many do after reading books, and they think "bad" books should be banned and even burned. That's the conclusion society has reached in F451. It also seems to be where we're heading what with people feigning outrage at anything remotely different from their perspective.

Bradbury offers a compelling argument: books by themselves aren't important but are made so because of their quality of information. Excellent books offer "fresh detail" on life and what it means. "Mediocre writers run a quick hand over her," he writes. "[While] bad [writers] rape and leave her for flies."

He also notes that the most dangerous enemy of truth and freedom is the "terribly tyranny of the majority." With intolerance, bigotry, and nationalism on the rise again, it's hard to disagree. We've already seen what happens when the majority decides. Multiple times already, and god knows how many more in the future.

Having read F451, I now understand why it's considered one of the best works from the twentieth century. It's still relevant in 2020, even more so with the rise of screens. Read it before the book burning begins. Read it before "families" take over. ( )
3 vote bdgamer | Sep 10, 2021 |
I was struck and was very surprised with the predictions that Ray had in this book and how a lot of them came true today in one form or another. I look at kids today watching their tablets or phone screens while the family is at a restaurant having dinner and I can imagine parlers being constructed at homes to keep the kids busy and away.... Montag was burning books and to me its a symbol of the many people who tell me why read a book when you can watch the movie....

I don't want a future where books are outlawed, I don't think I can live in such a place. So I hope that people will see the early signs and take action... ( )
  Douna1980 | Sep 3, 2021 |
Great book, how did it take me a lifetime to read this? Wonderful author's notes at the end of this version, too. ( )
  Enno23 | Aug 15, 2021 |
Showing 1-5 of 816 (next | show all)
Classique parmi les classiques, Fahrenheit 451 est à la SF ce que le Dracula de Stocker est au fantastique. Cette œuvre est une contre-utopie à la mesure du Meilleur des mondes de Huxley ou à 1984 de Orwell. C’est dire…
 
This intriguing idea might well serve as a foundation on which to build a worst of all possible worlds. And to a certain extent it does not seem implausible. Unfortunately, Bradbury goes little further than his basic hypothesis. The rest of the equation is jerry-built.
 

» Add other authors (48 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Bradbury, Rayprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Aguilar, Julia OsunaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Aldiss, Brian W.Forewordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Škvorecký, JosefTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Brick, ScottNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Buddingh', CeesTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Chambon, JacquesTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Crespo, AlfredoTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
D'Achille, GinoCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Diamond, DonnaCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Emmerová, JarmilaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Güttinger, FritzTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hoye, StephenNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hurt, ChristopherNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kayalıoğlu, KorkutTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kayalıoğlu, ZerrinTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Keyser, GawieForewordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Knipel, CidTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lippi, GiuseppeTraduttoresecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Monicelli, GiorgioTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Moorcock, MichaelIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Mugnaini, Joseph A.Cover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Nordin, SivTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Pennington, BruceCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Pepper, BobCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Prichard, MichaelNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Robbins, TimNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Robillot, HenriTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Stangl, KatrinIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Veikat, MarjuToimetaja.secondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Weber, SamIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
أحمد خالد توفيقTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Hugo ( [1954]Novel[1954]2004)
Epigraph
"If they give you ruled paper,
write the other way."
Juan Ramón Jiménez
FAHRENHEIT 451:
the temperature at which
book-paper catches fire and burns
Dedication
This one, with gratitude,
is for
Don Congdon
First words
It was a pleasure to burn.
Quotations
It doesn't matter what you do, he said, so long as you change something from the way it was before you touched it into something that's like you after you take your hands away.
But that's the wonderful things about man; he never gets so discouraged or disgusted that he gives up doing it all over again, because he knows very well it is important and worth the doing.
But remember that the Captain belongs to the most dangerous enemy of truth and freedom, the solid unmoving cattle of the majority. Oh, God, the terrible tyranny of the majority.
I'm afraid of children my own age. they kill each other. Did it always use to be that way? My uncle says no. Six of my firends have been shot in the last year alone. Ten of them died in car wrecks. I'm afraid of them and they don't like me because I'm afraid. My uncle says his grandfather remembered when children didn't kill each other. But that was a long time ago when they had things different. They believed in responsibility, my uncle says. Do you know, I'm responsible. I was spanked when I needed it, years ago. And I do all the shopping and housecleaning by hand.
The same infinite detail and awareness could be projected through the radios and televisors, but are not. No, no, it's not books at all you're looking for! Take it where you can find it, in old phonograph records, old motion pictures, and in old friends; look for it in nature and look for it in yourself. Books were only one type of receptacle where we stored a lot of things we were afraid we might forget. There is nothing magical in them at all. The magic is only in what books say, how they stitched the patches of the universe together into one garment for us. Of course you couldn't know this, of course you still can't understand what I mean when I say all this.
Last words
Disambiguation notice
This is the original novel by Ray Bradbury, not the 1966 film directed by François Truffaut or any other adaptation.
Publisher's editors
Blurbers
Original language
Canonical DDC/MDS
Canonical LCC
The system was simple. Everyone understood it. Books were for burning, along with the houses in which they were hidden. Guy Montag was a fireman whose job it was to start fires, and he enjoys his job. He had been a fireman for ten years, and never questioned the pleasure of the midnight runs nor the joy of watching pages consumed by flames. He never questioned anything until he met a seventeen-year-old girl who told him of a past when people were not afraid and a professor who told him of a future in which people could think. Guy Montag suddenly realized what he had to do.

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Book description
"The system was simple. Everyone understood it. Books were for burning... along with the houses in which they were hidden." Fahrenheit 451 is an enlightening story that is almost daunting. In a place where firemen build fires to burn books, this story is somewhat forboding because although it may seem extreme, it causes the reader to look at how much we take books and freedom for granted. Guy Montag goes outside the norm of a society where relationships are based on material things in order to try to discover how life would be if one were to actually think and live for themselves instead of being told what to do and how to behave.

AR level 5.2, 7 pts
Haiku summary
A fireman burns books
But then he dares to read one
And goes on the lam
(DarrylLundy)

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