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Ray Bradbury’s internationally acclaimed novel Fahrenheit 451 is a masterwork of twentieth-century literature set in a bleak, dystopian future.

Guy Montag is a fireman. In his world, where television rules and literature is on the brink of extinction, firemen start fires rather than put them out. His job is to destroy the most illegal of commodities, the printed book, along with the houses in which they are hidden.

Montag never questions the destruction and ruin his actions produce, returning each day to his bland life and wife, Mildred, who spends all day with her television “family.” But then he meets an eccentric young neighbor, Clarisse, who introduces him to a past where people didn’t live in fear and to a present where one sees the world through the ideas in books instead of the mindless chatter of television.

When Mildred attempts suicide and Clarisse suddenly disappears, Montag begins to question everything he has ever known. He starts hiding books in his home, and when his pilfering is discovered, the fireman has to run for his life.

Topics: Dark, Urban, Speculative Fiction, Allegory, Poetic, Ominous, Dystopia, Censorship, Totalitarianism, Television, Escaping Oppression, Firefighters, Social Change, American Author, Symbolism, and Rebellion

Published: Simon & Schuster on
ISBN: 9781439142677
List price: $11.99
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Still an intense and vibrant book that brings you viscerally into the life of the character and story.more
This book speaks right to our hearts as readers, literally.more
I love it!more
Do some of your own savingmore
Fantastic read! I like the first - 25th edition. This edition was okay. more
lovely book, worded beautifully with the curiosity of the fireman as well as his pa ain in understanding his world. more
This book will stand the test of time (unlike the movie). It's an excellent look at what would happen if we, in the west, allow our government to start dictating to us what is and is not okay to learn or even know.more
os a wondervful!more
One of my favorites!more
This holds up very well and will always be relevant, I think. I wish it had more women who weren't airheads; the one girl with potential is killed off quite early. But it is as it is and I liked it alot.more
Good grief, it's frightening to see how much this book has come true. I recognized myself and those around me far to often, and it's sobering. Everyone should read this. And read it again.more
Very very weak 2 stars.
I did not like the style of writing.
I did not like the main character - he was weird and crazy and his action were not logical.
If this book was not short, I would have probably given up.

The only thing I liked is the character Captain Beatty, he was a very good villain.
Idea for a book was not bad but with digital books today, totally destroying all copies of some books seems nearly impossible.more
Fahrenheit 451 is an interesting, depressing picture of a somewhat dystopian world. It has become, to many readers, a book about censorship, and I think that message is relevant. It doesn't matter what an author intends, once the book is out there in the world -- the important thing is what people find in it. (There's some merit in reading it the way Bradbury intended it to be read, of course -- some merit in seeing it the way he does, and seeing what messages he intended -- but this doesn't supersede, necessarily, what he didn't intend to write. Death of the author, and all that.)

His own message, that tv rots the brain and ruins everything is... only true in excess. I watched plenty of tv as a kid; I don't watch much at all now. I'd rather read the book than watch the series, most of the time. But there's some good stuff on the tv, in the same way that there's only a certain amount of the available reading material that's good. Consuming tv and consuming written literature aren't mutually exclusive, any more than reading comics means you can't read War and Peace.

Still, there's a truth in it.

I think my favourite part of Fahrenheit 451 is the end, the way in which everyone has their own book to save, and does so.more
Read from September 26 to October 03, 2011, read count: 2Now I know why I don't remember a lot about this from high school...I didn't love it. I respect the idea...I like what Bradbury is saying, but I didn't enjoy how he said it.I mean, the only likable character (Clarisse) just disappears and I pretty much wish everyone else would disappear or at least make sense.I really loved the Afterword and Coda, so I'll definitely give Bradbury another shot to win my love.more
I can't believe it has taken me this long to read this novel! Equally nice was reading it close to banned books week. A great way to celebrate the freedom to read.

The beginning felt very dreamy to me as Montag, a fireman of the future, meets Clarisse. She is his neighbor and talks about a time when there was community and a sharing of ideas. I kept thinking that Clarisse was a figment of Montag's imagination, as I couldn't imagine that she would have been allowed to exist for so long in their modern society. Her question to Montag as to whether he was happy was profound; how often do any of us ask that question?

In the future, Montag is a fireman who burns books, not for their physical properties but because of the ideas they carry within. Bradbury was brilliant in predicting some of the sameness that we depend on for comfort and the way that television and social media have disconnected our relationships while bringing us *closer*. Not counting Goodreads of course! Riding on a subway this past weekend, I thought about how good we have all become at ignoring everything and everyone around us, even the absurd or disturbing. This disconnectedness can be worrisome.

Once Montag's mind is opened to this question, his life and belief system changes rapidly. His path to his own understanding meets with the past in Faber ( a former professor) and in the future with Granger (the leader of book memorizing exiles).

Overall a great book and a future re-read.more
I read this in one setting every time I go through it. It's that great. I often think about which book I would keep alive in the final chapter...more
I was pleasantly surprised to enjoy this book so very much. I definitely liked it more than Brave New World, but 1984 is still my favorite of this type of fiction.more
OK, so before you judge me for judging a classic so harshly, I would like to say something in my own defense: I AM NOT SUPPOSED TO LIKE THIS. Come on, a future dystopia in which books are burned? I get that it's supposed to be a warning of what can happen when we allow things to reach ridiculous conclusions. But I don't have to like it.more
"The good writers touch life often. The mediocre ones run a quick hand over her. The bad ones rape her and leave her for the flies."That is a very unpleasant metaphor, and Fahrenheit 451 is an unpleasant book. If I were a teacher I'd give it a B- and not let my daughter date the weird little kid who wrote it.

Its protagonist, Montag, lacks any character; he changes as Bradbury's shitty story requires him to, from the dumbest kid on the world (his cousin once offered to pay him a dime to fill a sieve with sand and he sat there for ages crying and dumping sand into it - I understand that's a metaphor, but it's a metaphor for a moron) to a mastermind (telling Faber how to throw the Hound off his scent). You ever see film of someone skipping a pebble in reverse? Me neither, but I bet it's like this: plop plop skip skip wtf?

Each other character exists solely to advance the plot. There's the hot underage Manic Pixie Dream Girl - "her face fragile milk crystal" - who teaches him how to smell dandelions (and whose beauty is harped on endlessly) and then disappears off-stage; Faber, who's all of a sudden like best friends and then disappears off-stage; the bonfire circle of retired professors who happen to be right there when he stumbles out of a river looking for them.

There's his wife - "thin as a praying mantis from dieting, and her flesh like white bacon." He seems to loathe her, and all real women.
"Millie? Does the White Clown love you?"
No answer.
"Millie, does - " He licked his lips. "Does your 'family' [TV entertainment] love you, love you very much, love you with all their heart and soul, Millie?"
He felt her blinking slowly at the back of his neck. "Why'd you ask a silly question like that?"There's a real conservative streak to this book. It looks backwards, as conservatives do. Bradbury blames his world's disgust with books on "minorities," what we nowadays call "special interest groups":
"Colored people don't like Little Black Sambo. Burn it. White people don't feel good about Uncle Tom's Cabin. Burn it."These are the only specific examples given during Captain Beatty's central speech about why literature has been banned.

There are some nice moments here. A disturbed and immature but intelligent kid flailing around will hit a few marks. The central idea? No, no props for that; book-burning was invented centuries ago. But the moment when the TV instructs all citizens to open their doors and look for Montag, that's nice. And the suicidal Captain Beatty is the book's only living character, although his speech is littered with what I swear are just random quotes. I even like the idea of a circle of book-readers, each responsible for remembering a certain book - but it's dealt with so lamely here. "We've invented ways for you to remember everything you've ever read, so it's no problem." Well, in that case I got like half the Canon, y'all can go home. Losers. Wouldn't it be cooler if these people had to work for it?

Point is, those little flashes of competence are so overwhelmed by terrible philosophy and so ill-sketched themselves that I have no idea how this book has escaped the bonfire of apathy, the worst and most blameless fire of all. It's just a lame, lame book.

I wouldn't burn this or any book. But I'll do worse: I'll forget all about it.more
once upon a time in the future, feeling too much is bad, intellectualism is right out, and reading any one of the near-infinite list of banned books is enough to get you imprisoned or killed. books are for burning, life is for living at high speed and with little regard for anything other than tonight's episode of desperate housewives. firemen light the paper bonfires, and this is of course one man's awakening from all the 50s cold-war future-that-isn't-yet.

I know it's utter blasphemy to only score this genre classic as merely ok, but it's been proven yet again that however marvelous I may find his short stories, bradbury's novels just leave me cold (no flaming pun intended). a future where all the damned "minorities and womens' libbers" have mucked it up for the rest of us somehow comes off vaguely uncomfortably as an old reactionary's response to our overly politically correct world, rather than the subversive call to arms I think it's supposed to be. all women are housewives, nobody cares about anything yet no one will just quit their crappy jobs, and the mysteriously well-read villain is infinitely more interesting than a protagonist that repeatedly tells everyone just how stupid he is. there is of course plenty of fantastic ideas in here (and here's where the blasphemy takes off), and I just wish someone would write a jazz riff on fahrenheit 451. take the bones of these great ideas and reflesh them in something more profound, or even just more up to date, and make it relevant again to the reality tv and instant gratification world.more
I think that this is one of those books that everyone needs, and also that people need to reread it every once in a while. It’s not just about censorship—it’s about the need to face the things that make us uncomfortable and move away from that which numbs us. When you realize that Guy’s been questioning his role as a fireman for a while, I found it to be a moving moment. And when I say that it needs to be reread, it’s because that a lot of the issues that the book deals with continue to be problems, whether it’s the censorship, or people shutting themselves with entertainment, or blindly listening to the media. A must read for everyone.more
Given the concept, I should have liked this, but I absolutely hated the writing style and just couldn't get past the fact that half the time I wasn't sure what was going on or what Bradbury's real message is. It didn't help that he seems to be a bit of an ass in the epilogue.more
It is distressingly easy to forget what a wonderful, remarkable writer Bradbury is. Censorship, defiance, desperation, even a bit of loyalty and love--it's all here, in Bradbury's lyrical prose. Fahrenheit 451 lacks the terror of Something Wicked This Way Comes, and it's not the mash note to childhood that Dandelion Wine is--and that's to its benefit. F451 is its own book, with its own sense of grim, anti-intellectual horror. When I first read this in 8th grade, I remember thinking that it was a bleak and depressing (but in a good way) hypothesis of the far-distant future, but as an adult, I fear that it's not that far off. I suspect Bradbury felt the same way in 1953 when he wrote it.more
It's going to take me a while to come up with something to say other than AH SO GOOD!more
Upon thinking about it more, I decided to change the rating I gave the book. I felt that much of it came off as a sort of elitist, intellectual doomspeaking wankery. The masses he criticizes in the book have ALWAYS been distracted by whatever form of popular entertainment existed, and books aren't always the bastion of intelligent discourse (my current read, a Warhammer 40k book, will attest to that). There is value to his vision of the future, and it is one I feel that we are moving towards in some respects, but reading has never been a mainstream habit and intellectualism will always exist on the fringe of society. Some of his prophecies are rendered toothless with the knowledge that he later hosted his own television show.

Despite the above, it still is an entertaining and chilling book that is worth a read. It's short enough not to overstay its welcome.more
I read this book once as a teenager and enjoyed it then. Surprisingly, it stood the test of time and I enjoy it as much now. I found the issues it covered to be even more relevant today.

For such a short book, there is an incredible amount of material to think about, discuss and analyze. While it is unlikely that books will be banned in the near future, "political correctness" and censorship is alive and well and will only get worse as media increasingly represents the interests of the corporate elite and literature is simplified and edited of anything that may be considered "offensive."more
Read all 270 reviews

Reviews

Still an intense and vibrant book that brings you viscerally into the life of the character and story.more
This book speaks right to our hearts as readers, literally.more
I love it!more
Do some of your own savingmore
Fantastic read! I like the first - 25th edition. This edition was okay. more
lovely book, worded beautifully with the curiosity of the fireman as well as his pa ain in understanding his world. more
This book will stand the test of time (unlike the movie). It's an excellent look at what would happen if we, in the west, allow our government to start dictating to us what is and is not okay to learn or even know.more
os a wondervful!more
One of my favorites!more
This holds up very well and will always be relevant, I think. I wish it had more women who weren't airheads; the one girl with potential is killed off quite early. But it is as it is and I liked it alot.more
Good grief, it's frightening to see how much this book has come true. I recognized myself and those around me far to often, and it's sobering. Everyone should read this. And read it again.more
Very very weak 2 stars.
I did not like the style of writing.
I did not like the main character - he was weird and crazy and his action were not logical.
If this book was not short, I would have probably given up.

The only thing I liked is the character Captain Beatty, he was a very good villain.
Idea for a book was not bad but with digital books today, totally destroying all copies of some books seems nearly impossible.more
Fahrenheit 451 is an interesting, depressing picture of a somewhat dystopian world. It has become, to many readers, a book about censorship, and I think that message is relevant. It doesn't matter what an author intends, once the book is out there in the world -- the important thing is what people find in it. (There's some merit in reading it the way Bradbury intended it to be read, of course -- some merit in seeing it the way he does, and seeing what messages he intended -- but this doesn't supersede, necessarily, what he didn't intend to write. Death of the author, and all that.)

His own message, that tv rots the brain and ruins everything is... only true in excess. I watched plenty of tv as a kid; I don't watch much at all now. I'd rather read the book than watch the series, most of the time. But there's some good stuff on the tv, in the same way that there's only a certain amount of the available reading material that's good. Consuming tv and consuming written literature aren't mutually exclusive, any more than reading comics means you can't read War and Peace.

Still, there's a truth in it.

I think my favourite part of Fahrenheit 451 is the end, the way in which everyone has their own book to save, and does so.more
Read from September 26 to October 03, 2011, read count: 2Now I know why I don't remember a lot about this from high school...I didn't love it. I respect the idea...I like what Bradbury is saying, but I didn't enjoy how he said it.I mean, the only likable character (Clarisse) just disappears and I pretty much wish everyone else would disappear or at least make sense.I really loved the Afterword and Coda, so I'll definitely give Bradbury another shot to win my love.more
I can't believe it has taken me this long to read this novel! Equally nice was reading it close to banned books week. A great way to celebrate the freedom to read.

The beginning felt very dreamy to me as Montag, a fireman of the future, meets Clarisse. She is his neighbor and talks about a time when there was community and a sharing of ideas. I kept thinking that Clarisse was a figment of Montag's imagination, as I couldn't imagine that she would have been allowed to exist for so long in their modern society. Her question to Montag as to whether he was happy was profound; how often do any of us ask that question?

In the future, Montag is a fireman who burns books, not for their physical properties but because of the ideas they carry within. Bradbury was brilliant in predicting some of the sameness that we depend on for comfort and the way that television and social media have disconnected our relationships while bringing us *closer*. Not counting Goodreads of course! Riding on a subway this past weekend, I thought about how good we have all become at ignoring everything and everyone around us, even the absurd or disturbing. This disconnectedness can be worrisome.

Once Montag's mind is opened to this question, his life and belief system changes rapidly. His path to his own understanding meets with the past in Faber ( a former professor) and in the future with Granger (the leader of book memorizing exiles).

Overall a great book and a future re-read.more
I read this in one setting every time I go through it. It's that great. I often think about which book I would keep alive in the final chapter...more
I was pleasantly surprised to enjoy this book so very much. I definitely liked it more than Brave New World, but 1984 is still my favorite of this type of fiction.more
OK, so before you judge me for judging a classic so harshly, I would like to say something in my own defense: I AM NOT SUPPOSED TO LIKE THIS. Come on, a future dystopia in which books are burned? I get that it's supposed to be a warning of what can happen when we allow things to reach ridiculous conclusions. But I don't have to like it.more
"The good writers touch life often. The mediocre ones run a quick hand over her. The bad ones rape her and leave her for the flies."That is a very unpleasant metaphor, and Fahrenheit 451 is an unpleasant book. If I were a teacher I'd give it a B- and not let my daughter date the weird little kid who wrote it.

Its protagonist, Montag, lacks any character; he changes as Bradbury's shitty story requires him to, from the dumbest kid on the world (his cousin once offered to pay him a dime to fill a sieve with sand and he sat there for ages crying and dumping sand into it - I understand that's a metaphor, but it's a metaphor for a moron) to a mastermind (telling Faber how to throw the Hound off his scent). You ever see film of someone skipping a pebble in reverse? Me neither, but I bet it's like this: plop plop skip skip wtf?

Each other character exists solely to advance the plot. There's the hot underage Manic Pixie Dream Girl - "her face fragile milk crystal" - who teaches him how to smell dandelions (and whose beauty is harped on endlessly) and then disappears off-stage; Faber, who's all of a sudden like best friends and then disappears off-stage; the bonfire circle of retired professors who happen to be right there when he stumbles out of a river looking for them.

There's his wife - "thin as a praying mantis from dieting, and her flesh like white bacon." He seems to loathe her, and all real women.
"Millie? Does the White Clown love you?"
No answer.
"Millie, does - " He licked his lips. "Does your 'family' [TV entertainment] love you, love you very much, love you with all their heart and soul, Millie?"
He felt her blinking slowly at the back of his neck. "Why'd you ask a silly question like that?"There's a real conservative streak to this book. It looks backwards, as conservatives do. Bradbury blames his world's disgust with books on "minorities," what we nowadays call "special interest groups":
"Colored people don't like Little Black Sambo. Burn it. White people don't feel good about Uncle Tom's Cabin. Burn it."These are the only specific examples given during Captain Beatty's central speech about why literature has been banned.

There are some nice moments here. A disturbed and immature but intelligent kid flailing around will hit a few marks. The central idea? No, no props for that; book-burning was invented centuries ago. But the moment when the TV instructs all citizens to open their doors and look for Montag, that's nice. And the suicidal Captain Beatty is the book's only living character, although his speech is littered with what I swear are just random quotes. I even like the idea of a circle of book-readers, each responsible for remembering a certain book - but it's dealt with so lamely here. "We've invented ways for you to remember everything you've ever read, so it's no problem." Well, in that case I got like half the Canon, y'all can go home. Losers. Wouldn't it be cooler if these people had to work for it?

Point is, those little flashes of competence are so overwhelmed by terrible philosophy and so ill-sketched themselves that I have no idea how this book has escaped the bonfire of apathy, the worst and most blameless fire of all. It's just a lame, lame book.

I wouldn't burn this or any book. But I'll do worse: I'll forget all about it.more
once upon a time in the future, feeling too much is bad, intellectualism is right out, and reading any one of the near-infinite list of banned books is enough to get you imprisoned or killed. books are for burning, life is for living at high speed and with little regard for anything other than tonight's episode of desperate housewives. firemen light the paper bonfires, and this is of course one man's awakening from all the 50s cold-war future-that-isn't-yet.

I know it's utter blasphemy to only score this genre classic as merely ok, but it's been proven yet again that however marvelous I may find his short stories, bradbury's novels just leave me cold (no flaming pun intended). a future where all the damned "minorities and womens' libbers" have mucked it up for the rest of us somehow comes off vaguely uncomfortably as an old reactionary's response to our overly politically correct world, rather than the subversive call to arms I think it's supposed to be. all women are housewives, nobody cares about anything yet no one will just quit their crappy jobs, and the mysteriously well-read villain is infinitely more interesting than a protagonist that repeatedly tells everyone just how stupid he is. there is of course plenty of fantastic ideas in here (and here's where the blasphemy takes off), and I just wish someone would write a jazz riff on fahrenheit 451. take the bones of these great ideas and reflesh them in something more profound, or even just more up to date, and make it relevant again to the reality tv and instant gratification world.more
I think that this is one of those books that everyone needs, and also that people need to reread it every once in a while. It’s not just about censorship—it’s about the need to face the things that make us uncomfortable and move away from that which numbs us. When you realize that Guy’s been questioning his role as a fireman for a while, I found it to be a moving moment. And when I say that it needs to be reread, it’s because that a lot of the issues that the book deals with continue to be problems, whether it’s the censorship, or people shutting themselves with entertainment, or blindly listening to the media. A must read for everyone.more
Given the concept, I should have liked this, but I absolutely hated the writing style and just couldn't get past the fact that half the time I wasn't sure what was going on or what Bradbury's real message is. It didn't help that he seems to be a bit of an ass in the epilogue.more
It is distressingly easy to forget what a wonderful, remarkable writer Bradbury is. Censorship, defiance, desperation, even a bit of loyalty and love--it's all here, in Bradbury's lyrical prose. Fahrenheit 451 lacks the terror of Something Wicked This Way Comes, and it's not the mash note to childhood that Dandelion Wine is--and that's to its benefit. F451 is its own book, with its own sense of grim, anti-intellectual horror. When I first read this in 8th grade, I remember thinking that it was a bleak and depressing (but in a good way) hypothesis of the far-distant future, but as an adult, I fear that it's not that far off. I suspect Bradbury felt the same way in 1953 when he wrote it.more
It's going to take me a while to come up with something to say other than AH SO GOOD!more
Upon thinking about it more, I decided to change the rating I gave the book. I felt that much of it came off as a sort of elitist, intellectual doomspeaking wankery. The masses he criticizes in the book have ALWAYS been distracted by whatever form of popular entertainment existed, and books aren't always the bastion of intelligent discourse (my current read, a Warhammer 40k book, will attest to that). There is value to his vision of the future, and it is one I feel that we are moving towards in some respects, but reading has never been a mainstream habit and intellectualism will always exist on the fringe of society. Some of his prophecies are rendered toothless with the knowledge that he later hosted his own television show.

Despite the above, it still is an entertaining and chilling book that is worth a read. It's short enough not to overstay its welcome.more
I read this book once as a teenager and enjoyed it then. Surprisingly, it stood the test of time and I enjoy it as much now. I found the issues it covered to be even more relevant today.

For such a short book, there is an incredible amount of material to think about, discuss and analyze. While it is unlikely that books will be banned in the near future, "political correctness" and censorship is alive and well and will only get worse as media increasingly represents the interests of the corporate elite and literature is simplified and edited of anything that may be considered "offensive."more
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