Remembering George Orwell
1903, June 25. - 1950, January 21.



THE BARNYARD SOVIET


Animal Farm Review
Newsweek, September 9, 1946


"Animal Farm" by George Orwell, brilliant English leftist and critic (NEWSWEEK, July 8), is a satire on totalitarianism-Communist variety-told in fable form. When it was published in England it created a minor stir. It was bitterly attacked from the far Left and cheered from the far Right. When it was offered for publication in this country, two important publishers rejected the book on the ground that it was dull reading. But when Harcourt, Brace accepted it and submitted it to the Book-of-the-Month Club that organization's president, Harry Scherman, thought "Animal Farm" deserved more than ordinary promotion. Accordingly, he made a special plea to club subscribers not to neglect this book.
As an attack upon totalitarian government Orwell's satire is reasonably effective. He tells how the animals of Manor Farm, stirred up by the dying exhortations of Old Major, a prize Middle White boar, rise up in revolt against the cruelty, deprivations, and drunkenness of Farmer Jones. They drive Jones out, take over the place, and, in splendid isolation, run the only farm for and by animals in all England. They have their revolutionary song -"a stirring tune, something between Clementine and La Cucaracha"-called "Beasts of England":

Beasts of England, beasts of Ireland,newsweek
Beasts of every land and clime,
Hearken to my joyful tidings
Of the golden future time…

Riches more than mind can picture,
Wheat and barley, oats and hay,
Clover, beans, and mangel-wurzels
Shall be ours upon the day…

Even the most casual reader will discover after a few pages that the experiences on the Animal Farm, as it was renamed, follow closely the experiences of the Russian people during the revolution and its continuing re action. This, of course, will make fellow travelers furious, but if they think hard, they'll relax. The humor is quite British and page after page of the book lags.

Animal Farm USA1 Pigs Is Pigs:
The beasts of the farm do well enough for themselves in the first flush of their revolt against Jones and all Men, but as the years pass they find themselves once again under a dictatorship even harder to bear than that imposed by Man. The dictators, of course, are the very Pigs (they being the brightest animals) who had led the other animals- the hard-working horses, the herd-minded sheep, and even a cynical old jackass- into what was to have been a "golden future time." The beasts have to work just as hard, if not harder, than before; they get as little to eat, and in the end the dictators, guarded by a pack of trained dogs, sell them out to evil Man.
It is a sad, disheartening story for do-gooders that Orwell's fable tells. Being fiction and being a fable, it begs many political, social, and economic questions; but on the surface it is a telling jibe at totalitarianism. But it is a far cry , as political satire, from Dean Swift, to whose writings some critics have likened it.
(ANIMAL FARM. By George Orwell. 118 pages. Harcourt, Brace. $1.75.)


Left:
Animal Farm
Book-of-the-Month Edition. 1946.
Published by Harcourt, Brace and Company, Inc. New York, USA.
Fenwick A.10f

Right:
Newsweek
Vol. 28, No. 11. September 9, 1946
Animal Farm Review, September 9, 1946
Published by Weekly Publications Inc. New York, USA

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