1946 August 25

George Orwell’s “Animal Farm” Published; Savage Critique of Totalitarianism


George Orwell’s classic small book, Animal Farm, was reviewed on this day in the New York Times. An allegory, in which one group of farm animals promise democracy to run the farm but end up seizing complete control for themselves, is widely regarded as a classic critique of totalitarianism.

Many political commentators regard Animal Farm only as a critique of communism (as did historian Arthur Schlesinger, Jr., in his Times review). A more balanced view, however, sees the book as a critique of all forms of totalitarianism, whether from the political left or the right. Orwell more fully developed his views on totalitarian and anti-democratic trends in all forms of modern government in his equally famous novel 1984, published on June 6, 1949.

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