This is one of those books that makes me feel like I should be writing a terribly impressive academic style review. That's probably part of the reason why this book only recently made it off my 'should-really-read-one-day' list. I don't know if I thought it would be over my head, or just that it deserved someone more accustomed to interpreting books in a certain way.
Whatever my reasons for delaying, it got chosen in January for March's book club, and that was that. I bought my copy a couple of weeks ago, and was expecting to suffer through it for the sake of the club. Ha!
I had some basic recollections of Russian history from courses I studied years ago, so it wasn't a big stretch. I was expecting something completely different though. I thought that Orwell would be only making slight references and implying loose correlations between the events on the farm and the events in Russia, but how wrong can you be?
It was clearly written, easy to read, and there was no mistaking what was happening, the main characters and who they were meant to portray and how key events in Russia's history happened. The purges, and the 5 year plans came to mind immediately. I love that Orwell refused to pull his punches, and that a publisher was brave enough to publish it. What a loss this would have been if it had not been published.
The about-face I've taken on this has pretty much given me whiplash. I went from thinking this is a book I should read but don't really want to, to thinking that this is a book that everybody must read.
To refresh my memory I went to Wikipedia and found some articles. I can't speak for the accurateness of them, but they were less of a dry read than the introduction in this book. Here are a few links:
Animal Farm - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Animal_FarmFive Year Plans - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Five-Year_Plans_for_the_National_Economy_of_the_Soviet_Union
The Purges - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_Purge